C.E.C.C.| Shepherds Cot | Crouch End | North London | N8 8JJ
The 4th XI lost the toss and were put in by SKLP but got the League season off to a good start. Apu got in some early big blows before miss-hitting and sky-ing to slip. KK however was more circumspect playing SKPL’s only threatening bowling with great good sense before making telling blows of his own. Shashi too was forced into playing good defensive shots at one end while playing like an idiot at the other. He started to find the middle after a while and rattled up 48 via five or six dropped catches or near misses. KK meanwhile reached a deserved 50. The first change spinner had caused him a bit of trouble but his response was a sublime straight six - the highlight of the innings. Rana was the only middle order batsmen to make much impression but a sensible knock by Vaibabh held the rest of the batting together and Mo declared on 226 for 8 after 46 overs.
It was the first outing of the season for our two left-arm-over bowlers, Doug and Ruskin, and each of them rose to the occasion. The SKLP top order were no mugs but Doug, given the responsibility of opening, was admirably steady. He produced one peach of a ball to account for the no. 3 for a first-ball duck. Vaibabh had previously made the breakthrough. It took him a while to threaten the stumps rather than the slips – he needs a new coach in my view – but the opener found he was too quick to hook. Ruskin replaced him and proceeded to bowl six overs for seven runs. As long as SKLP’s wicket-keeper batsman was at the crease they were still in the game but Shashi was bowling a good containing spell and Ruskin produced a delightful in-swinger to convince their own umpire that his side’s main hope was decidedly LBW. The SKLP cause was slipping away but each wicket had to be fought for. Rana however was not to be denied. He tore through several defences; but there were only a couple of overs to go when the returning Vaibabh, his radar now functioning, raced down the hill to take the final two wickets. SKLP all out for 141 in 42 overs.
Three stand-in wicket keepers were used. Apu took the brunt of the opening bowlers – including some heroics to reach Vaibabh’s wides - before retiring with heavily bruised fingers. Vaibabh filled in very capably for a few overs and Shashi did a very capable job for the last 20 or so. There were very few lapses in the field: we have to hope KK’s damaged figure is not too serious, especially given his reliable presence at the top of the order.
So a very satisfactory afternoon. Let’s hope subsequent reports are as easy to write.
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