A beautiful sunny afternoon under fair weather fluffy clouds provided the perfect backdrop for some eagerly contested cricket against the Gentlemen at the open expanse of the Archbishop Tenison’s ground in Motspur Park. The longish grass in the outfield however would no doubt mean that every run would have to be earned the hard way. With Gary having done his knee midweek Greg Dean came in as skipper for his first outing of the season, promptly lost the toss and was invited to field.
Pete Brown and Rowan opened the bowling and made encouraging inroads in the early overs. Pete struck first with the last ball of his second over as a clear edge was well taken by keeper Hitchman in front of slip to dismiss N Patel for 6. Rowan took the second wicket to fall in the next over, trapping Gulati leg before for 1. Three wickets were down by the end of the seventh over, as Pete captured his second, clean bowling Dubey with a cracker for 20. 36 for 3 was a healthy start for Wimbledon, but at this point Namilikonda and Kota put together a stand of 38 to take the score along to 74 as Farrukh and young James Kotze took over the bowling duties. Farrukh took the next wicket, that of Namilikonda, when an attempt at a leg-side glance took the batsman’s glove and the ball looped up to be well snaffled round the corner by the keeper. Kota however continued and his knock proved to be the backbone of the home side’s innings.
He was aided by a succession of cameo contributions, firstly on the part of Sudireddy and Caveney, both winkled out fairly cheaply (both bowled) by Farrukh during a productive spell of eight overs that yielded 3 for 41. With the Gentlemen on 108 for 6 Wimbledon could be forgiven for thinking that a fairly reasonable target might be in the offing, but Kota had other thoughts in mind. Chataraju and Newcombe joined in to assist Kota while Imran Yusuf (press ganged as a last minute substitute for Gary and making a welcome return a) to England and b) to Wimbledon colours) and Greg Dean tried out their bowling skills. Another 35 runs were added before James, returning for a second a spell, burst through the defences of Chataraju with a remarkable delivery, clean bowling him for 15. In the remaining seven overs however, Kota in particular put the Wimbledon bowling to the sword and he and Newcombe added 58 without further loss to take the Gentlemen’s final score to 201 for 7, Kota finishing on 93. Ouch.
After tea Curtis Phillip and Hash Ahmed opened the Wimbledon innings. Curtis’ renowned last minute.com batting style didn’t unfortunately secure him much time at the crease as he was caught incontrovertibly smack in front and out LBW to the second ball of Kumar’s second over. Chaitanya took over and commenced a dogged resistance operation against Kumar and Gulati. The speedy Gulati was looking the more dangerous of the two so it was a complete surprise when out of the blue Hash smacked the second ball of Gulati’s third over for a straight six into the netting guarding the distant houses. This outrage (from the bowler’s viewpoint of course) followed an opening dot ball and was in turn followed by four more dot balls! Gulati got his revenge in his next over however as he cleaned up Hash midway through a wicket maiden, Hash having made 15 out of 21 by this point. Chaitanya’s dogged 26 ball innings came to an end in Gulati’s next over as he nicked one behind to be caught by wicket keeper Namilikonda. Namilikonda it was who captured the next wicket as he ran forward to take a catch roughly where silly mid-on might have been to dismiss Farrukh for 13 and give Kumar his second wicket (before said gentleman exchanged his keeping gloves with Dubey and took up bowling).
40 for 4 in the fifteenth over became 63 for 5 in the nineteenth when Imran, who had been looking impressively composed after a long time away from the game, was caught at mid-off for 19 off H Patel. With two new batsmen at the crease it was time for some consolidation and Mitesh and James Kotze proceeded to do just that. James, with some solid and correct defence, took a while to get off the mark but gradually he and Mitesh began to find some runs and they added 36 before James was bowled by S Patel for 11. Mitesh too had made a slowish start but by the time Rowan joined him he had upped the scoring rate and had made 40 before being bowled by keeper turned bowler Namilikonda. At 117 for 7 in the 36th over there was no chance of a Wimbledon victory but there was no giving in either. Rowan made a determined 15 before being judged LBW to Newcombe in the penultimate over, which the incoming Greg failed to see out as he chipped the last ball of Newcombe’s over down the throat of Kumar at mid-on. This left last man Pete Brown to see out the final over in the company of Hitchman, who by this time was a tired and rather stiff veteran after 40 overs of wicket keeping, but alas no sympathy for this condition was on offer as a call for a sharp (for sharp read ridiculous) single resulted in an easy run out to bring the innings to an ignominious conclusion.
So a convincing win for the Gents has to be recognised, the 70 run margin being a not unfair reflection of the teams’ performances on the day. Wimbledon’s new all-rounder, young James, put in a commendable performance – a tight spell of bowling was particularly impressive as time and again he put the ball on the spot at a decent pace. Mitesh deserves credit for a solid knock of 40 to stiffen the middle order and Farrukh bowled well for his three wickets. However there is merit in encouraging youth so the award for Man of the Match this week is going to James Kotze. Well done.
|Innings of Gentlemen of West London C. C.||Innings of Wimbledon United C. C.|
|1||N Patel||c. Hitchman, b. Brown||6||1||C Phillip||lbw. b. Kumar||1|
|2||V Gulati||lbw. b. Wije’dena||1||2||H Ahmed||b. Gulati||15|
|3||N Dubey (w)||b. Brown||20||3||C Iyengar||c. Namilikonda, b. Gulati||3|
|4||S Namilikonda (w)||c. Hitchman, b. Hasan||28||4||F Hasan||c. Namilikonda, b. Kumar||13|
|5||P Kota||Not out||93||5||I Yusuf||c. Kota, b. H Patel||19|
|6||R Sudireddy||b. Hasan||4||6||M Patel||b. Namilikonda||40|
|7||W Caveney||b. Hasan||6||7||J Kotze||b. S Patel||11|
|8||R Chataraju||b. Kotze||15||8||R Wije’dena||lbw. b. Newcombe||15|
|9||G Newcombe||Not out||15||9||J HItchman (w)||Run out||1|
|10||S Patel (c)||10||G Dean (c)||c. Kumar, b. Newcombe||0|
|11||S Kumar||11||P Brown||Not out||1|
|Extras W3 NB0 B9 LB1||13||Extras W4 NB2 B5 LB1||12|
|Total (for 7 wickets) (40 overs)||201||Total (for 10 wickets) (39.3 overs)||131|
|Fall of wkts: 1-6(1); 2-8(2); 3-36(3); 4-74(4); 5-97(6); 6-108(7); 7-143(8)||Fall of wkts: 1-9(1); 2-21(2); 3-22(3); 4-40(4); 5-63(5); 6-99(7); 7-117(6); 8-127(8); 9-127(10); 10-131(9)|
|Bowling Figures: Brown – 8/1/34/2; Wije’dena – 5/0/33/1; Hasan – 8/0/41/3; Kotze – 8/0/28/1; Yusuf – 7/1/24/0; Dean – 4/0/31/0||Bowling Figures: Kumar – 8/1/16/2; Gulati – 5/2/14/2; Chataraju – 7/1/25/0; H Patel – 5/0/13/1; Kota – 4/0/22/0; S Patel – 4/0/18/1; Namilikonda – 2/0/3/1; Newcombe – 3/0/5/2; Sudireddy – 1/0/5/0; Caveney – 0.3/0/3/0|
Result ~ Win for Gentlemen of West London C. C. by 70 runs
~~ Wimbledon United ‘Man of the Match’ – James Kotze ~~