Skipper Nix won the toss and elected to bat first, on a damp, strangely curved pitch. It was, to be fair, a shit decision.
Crouch End innings: The ball was popping and seaming extravagantly, one opener in particular finding bounce and lateral movement - and at pace. However, it soon became clear that Northwood were significantly better at bowling than catching, with catches - particularly at slip - regularly going to ground.
Crouch End openers JJ and Asif pushed it around, finding runs where they could and largely trying to survive. And JJ was trying to sober up a bit too.
After 10 overs, we were going at two-an-over. After 20, we'd surged to a blistering three-an-over. However, we'd not lost a wicket, and were accumulating slowly, on a pitch where 130 looked a challenging total.
Asif eventually went for 20, a patient innings probably worth 40 on a better track.
Symon then made it look rather easy for a couple of overs, blasting an assertive 21. It was an innings remarkable for its complete lack of elegant cover drives, wristy leg-glances or delicate late cuts. Top batting. Umpire Paul - obviously a purist offended by this T20-style nonsense - curtailed the fun with a near-charitable LBW verdict.
So, the Crouch Enders 80ish for 2. Then, in keeping with the emerging Sunday tradition, a batting order that looked promising on paper failed to deliver on the pitch. After Northwood Town utilised two spinners who could - rather unsportingly - both actually turn the ball, our last eight wickets contributed 0,0,2,1,3,0,0 and 0 respectively. Mark finished fourth-highest scorer with three.
But this didn't matter hugely - at the other end, Night Owl Jenkins was still going, building an innings in defiance of the merits of rest, healthy nutrition and pre-match preparation. He moved through the gears well, finding the boundary with the same constant rhythm as the arrival of new batting partners.
He finished with 104no, carrying his bat in a total of 163. A maiden ton, not chanceless, but on a dog of a pitch and it was a top knock.
Tea report: Solid. Highlight of the sandwiches was a cheese-and-piccalilli combo #oldskool #rollingbacktheyears #Victorianrelish. The savoury options were bolstered with bhajis, samosas, pasta salad and tortillas with dips. For pud, fruit and pleasantly nutty, home-made chocolate brownies. Score: 8.5 on the Capital Tea Scale - bonus half mark for the piccalilli.
Definitely a poor decision to bat first.
Northwood innings: Zinzan and Symon started our bowling, and were frankly magnificent. Both picked up two quick wickets, and Northwood were reeling at 14-4. Zig-Zag finished with figures of 2-12 off seven - top spell.
Then the ball stopped swinging, and Northwood started to mount a counterattack. Their left-handed number five came out with positive intent, and would miss one, middle three, then miss the next. He soon rattled to 50, and the momentum shifted.
Clearly what was needed at this stage was a carefully crafted mix of full bungers, long hops and just a hint of (wind-assisted) wobble, so Nix brought himself on. Their number five, obviously confused by the length of time it took for the ball to reach him, shouldered arms to one on off peg. Boom!
Joe Perera purveyed some quality tweaking at the other end, and he and Nickel wrapped things up - Perera finishing with two wickets, Nickel four. Northwood 123 all out, Crouch End posting their first league win of the season. Hurrah!
The difference between the two teams was catching - notably at slip. We took our chances, and they didn't. It was a great team performance in the field - there was a real, tangible intensity and focus. Everyone contributed. And we need to take this professionalism, energy and discipline into our games for the rest of the season - even (particularly!) when the game's going against us.
Great work chaps - a solid result.