Crouch End Cricket Club

C.E.C.C.| Shepherds Cot | Crouch End | North London | N8 8JJ

3rds vs. Hampstead 4ths - Promotion is Washed Away

After last week’s loss we knew that a winning draw was the minimum requirement against champions Hampstead.  This would only do if our two other rivals lost, so a win was the ideal scenario.  Of course we had beaten Hampstead already earlier this season in an epic game and this made me think that they would not see our match as a ‘dead rubber’.  They would not want to lose to us again after all.  I was right …

 

The toss was won and Hampstead were asked to bat.  They showed their strength in depth as they produced a fine batting performance despite seven players from higher up the club being ‘at a wedding’.  Ricardo, fresh from his excursion to the 1st team, was out of sorts but Quayum bowled superbly from the other end.  He claimed two early-ish wickets including the one of Hampstead’s consistently high scoring opener who was caught behind by Mike.

 

I bowled better than for most of the season and claimed a wicket myself after tempting a hard hitter to try and ping one over the top, but instead he was caught by Quayum.  I was victim to a dreadful LBW non-decision also – the batsmen who went on to score 65 trapped straight in front off middle and off, but not given by the umpire.  Quayum claimed his third during his hefty opening spell and then Hampstead were 105-4.

 

We have discovered at this level that teams bat deeper.  I’ve said it before and it happened again.  The LBW escapee and a big hitting No.6 combined to double the score and we had little answer.  We kept plugging away, changed the bowling around and chased some leather.  Finally Moh bowled the No.6, but he had done plenty of damage and score 70.  The pair had over doubled the score.  Quayum picked up his fourth wicket after returning but Hampstead rattled up 258-6 in 46 overs before declaring.

 

With the weather forecast looking very bad (and this being confirmed by Richard’s ‘Rain Radar’ app), we planned where we needed to be after 20 overs.  The match would only be live after this point and four points for a winning draw was a possibility if we were ahead of the run rate.  113 was the target at that point.  Ruaridh went early before Kamlesh and Khairul set about getting us up with the rate. 

 

Kamlesh in particular batted superbly and has added his skill and experience to us well.   The rain was beginning to fall when Khairul skied one that the wicketkeeper ran back to catch.  It never stopped.  It got heavier.  Rob and Kamlesh kept going at a decent pace but the rain got too much and the surface too wet.  We were 69-2 off 12.3 overs when we came off.  45 minutes later as the rain lashed down, I shook with their skipper to call it quits.  Match abandoned – one point each.

 

So our dream of promotion was over.  We finished just four points away from promotion and only 18 behind the champions.  The last two weeks were damaging after our 11 match unbeaten run, but the main reason we have not secured promotion is the first five weeks.  This saw us pick up just 11 points.  Also the back-to-back games against Alexandra Park and Twickenham a few weeks ago where we failed to pick up the last wicket on each occasion – if we had managed just one of them, we would be promoted now.  But we did not and we are left to reflect on everything.

 

That said, can we be too disappointed?  We have done much better than anyone expected after being promoted in to the division last year.  In our first year at this level we have been competitive in every game bar one – that horrific thrashing at Twickenham early on.  We have also been consistent, performed as a team and seen some great individual performances.  We are now only disappointed because our good performances led to a shift of focus and emphasis.  We are in a excellent place to push on again next year.

 

This match also signaled my last as captain.  I have taken great pride in leading the side for the last three seasons, in representing Crouch End CC and in what we have achieved.  In this time we have won 27 of the 54 league matches and claimed 307 points.  My aim was to continue the good work that Rob started and my first game (away at MTSCC) mirrored my last in that it was abandoned due to the weather.  What has happened in between is beyond any expectation that I had. 

 

It is a difficult decision to stop but it feels like the correct one.  It feels like the time for someone else to try and take us to the next level.  The time and effort I have put in has been to the detriment of other things in my life and it is now time to focus on them.  My own form has also suffered badly this year and I need to concentrate on that so I can contribute better to the side. 

 

I thank everyone on the committee that has helped me over the last three years but especially to my three vice captains (Rob, Jon and Ricardo) who have supported and aided me greatly both on and off the pitch and to my team mates – it has been my pleasure to skipper you. 

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