C.E.C.C.| Shepherds Cot | Crouch End | North London | N8 8JJ
The 4th XI fixture, away to Swamibapa on Saturday, proceeded without incident and without any Crouch End points.
At least there was no incident once the game started. At the toss however our umpire and the opposition captain quickly found each other’s point of view and/or means of expressing it objectionable. The umpire decided the chances of a satisfactory game-long relationship were slim and walked away. The game managed to govern itself.
Crouch End were asked to field first and felt they had done well to restrict to free hitting Swamibapa captain to 31 when in the 18th over, Hamid who had been a model of consistency, lured him into a drive into Naggers’ hands at extra cover. Dhamendra’s persistence had just rewarded him with the first wicket and he proceeded to take two more, two bowled and one caught Simon. Dilan replaced Hamid and got two excellent, authentic off-spinner’s wickets plus one very well caught by Antonio. Kiran replaced Dhamendra with an excellent spell during which Simon effected a smart run-out; and Andrew, like Paul Merton stealing the points in ‘Just a Minute’, stole in to bowl the No.11. 139 all out in the 45th over seemed like a decent outcome for the fielding side in what looked like good batting conditions. (Hamid 10 overs 2 for 30, Dhamendra 15 overs 3 for 44, Dilan 12 overs 3 for 30, Kiran 6 overs 0 for 25 and Andrew 1.3 overs 1 for 2.)
Crouch End’s reply made batting look impossible. Of the top order Dilan and Nabil offered tame catches, Simon edged his way to 13 and was beaten by a quicker one. Steve was unlucky to be undone by the pitch, LBW to a shooter. Hamid alone took the fight to the opposition. Batting at 4 he did exactly the right thing in opening his shoulders when there were wickets in hand to lift the sluggish progress. He hit a huge six over mid off and had got to 30 when he directed another big hit into the hands of extra cover with the score on 64. Someone needed to stay with Naggers but Dominic and Andrew both played outside in-swingers, LBW and played-on respectively, Antonio offered a catch to cover point which was rejected but the fielder ran him out instead, Kiran and Dhamendra both fell to the pace of the returning opener, leaving Naggers not out 15. Crouch End all out for 80 in the 28th over.
Perhaps the 4th XI’s first mistake was to start the season by scoring 333 for 1. Since then they have struggled to get to three figures and have been unable to chase even the most meagre total. The object of playing 4th XI League games in to give players the experience and the resources to handle real-match situations in preparation for their being called to higher things. Still some way to go I fear.
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