C.E.C.C.| Shepherds Cot | Crouch End | North London | N8 8JJ
From the Middlesex County League Weekly Update from Week 17....history maker!
Brentham CC are back in Division Two as a 5 wicket success at North London CC earned them the points they needed. Leg spinner Pravin Jadhav (4-14) starred with the ball as North London found themselves 54-9. Their eventual total of 114 was down to a last wicket stand of 60 by Bill Ward (44) and Ted Greally (12).
However the champagne was on ice as North London made Brentham sweat at 55-5, but Aparajit Khurana (32*) who has been the star man for Brentham with the ball showed his batting qualities along with Ashwin Kapoor (31*) to set the celebrations into full swing. Khurana who leads them bowling charts with 49 wickets told me what it meant for him and his team mates to get promotion along with his own story of life in the MCCL.
"We chose to bowl first as the wicket looked quite dry. In recent weeks Tom Brandreth has decided in the limited overs format to open the bowling with me, so we can put teams under pressure early on. Then once I've bowled around 4-5 overs, the other guys come on and play their part. Pravin, Yogesh Prabhu and Jaisreet Bajwa have all been just as important. I think the promotion has been mainly down to our bowlers. The batting department has looked good at times but not been consistent enough whilst the bowlers have always been on the ball. Our batting revolves around Matt Lowen, Luke Budden and Tom who I feel are pillars the club. The three of them are quality batsman and when they haven't fired the rest of us haven't really stepped up with the bat. This is something we need to work on for next season, and hopefully improve upon.
Back to Saturday and the pressure that we put the North London batsman on contributed to wickets falling. It was a wicket without much bounce and you had to play straight. Pravin bowled really well and they kept trying to hit the ball hard which led to wickets.
There was a rain break which I think made batting a lot easier, so we definitely had the better of the conditions. Although coming to bat it wasn't easy to start with. I just said to Ashwin that we set ourselves small targets. I could tell from their body language their heads were starting to dip and knew if we had one really good over then the game would be over. Once we got to around 90 I was confident we would win.
I've found this year easier than last. I felt Wycombe House and Winchmore Hill were both very good sides whereas this year teams have lacked depth and consistency. Saying that both Crouch End and Acton have impressed me. Jalpesh Vijay, I'm sure like with everyone is a player who has really impressed. Yes he's scored a lot of runs, but what he does well is that he plays proper cricket shots. He can change his game in different circumstances and has quick hands which help. He's certainly got my respect this season, and I've enjoyed bowling to him.
The side we have has had a good balance. Like I mentioned, Matt, Luke and Tom are Brentham through and through, along with other like Yogesh, Pravin and Jaisreet, who add experience to the side. I like to let Tom get on with the captaincy, and only if I really feel the need to say something then I will.
There have been times this season when others have stepped up. Two players who played crucial innings against Crouch End and MTSCC, were Jack Solomon and Stefan Walecki. Jack had just been called up from the second eleven and batted determinedly against Crouch End and especially Ryan Cunningham for quite a long time. Against MTSCC we were 59-7 chasing 87 and Stefan scored 32 not out to win the game, which looking back now gave us extremely valuable points.
I'm enjoying playing for Brentham. It's a really good club, lovely ground and the boys get on really well. Having played first class cricket in India for Haryana, with and against some very good players such as Shikhar Dhawan, Dinesh Karthik, Suresh Raina, Munaf Patel and RP Singh, I then went to Scotland and played for Dunfermline CC. From there I moved to London, but played in Staffordshire as a professional. Their format was different where you were not limited on how many overs you can bowl so I would regularly bowl over 25 overs per game. I was then told about Brentham by one of the players that I knew, and went to have a look. Living locally it made sense to join. I quickly realised that if I bowl at the stumps and make it hard to score then I'd pick up wickets. I've got a lot of belief in what I can do, and back myself to do well. This season there have been games where I have been able to bowl long spells and dictate against batsman but I know next season it will be harder as we go up a level, but it's something I'm looking forward to."
Crouch End CC still sit in second place knowing a win against North London CC will give them back to back promotions. Yet again the game was all about one man, Jalpesh Vijay. The standout player in the league made history as his innings of 127 not out took him past the league record previously held by North London's, Chris Gane. Amandeep Dhaliwal took 4-40 to bowl South Hampstead CC out for 157 and from there it was the Vijay show as he blasted his side to a 10 wicket win.
The man of the moment who has been the scourge of all Division Three attacks this season, was very modest when speaking about his sensational season.
"To break the record obviously feels really good, but my aim has and still is to get the team promoted, that's always been the priority and when I go out to bat that's always what I'm thinking about, how can I help us win. My focus on Saturday was just about winning the game, as we know Acton are close behind. As we got closer to the target, my non striker Nilesh Patel was telling how many I needed but I told him it was more important to get the 10 points. I remember hitting their off spinner down the pitch for a 6, and that was the moment. Their players clapped me and I was given a guard of honour by my own players which was a nice thing.
From the start of the season I've always tried to play my own game. I've worked hard in the nets, and play around 2-3 times a week, to keep in good form. I'm a very relaxed person, and as the season has gone on some opposition players like to try and get to me, but to be honest I prefer that as it motivates me even more to do well.
My game is based on, if the ball is in my area then I aim to hit it as hard as I can. That's not always possible and one bowler who I really rate is Brentham's, Aparajit Khurana. He controls his line and length, and on a turning track like our ground was very difficult. When I played against him at Crouch End, the plan was to just see him off from his first spell, and not let him take too many wickets.
Coming from the Middlesex Championship the level here is definitely better. The standard was not great, yet Division Three I have a lot more respect for the bowlers. I also played in the Home Counties Premier League for Harefield CC and I learnt a lot. The standard is really high, you play against international players. Watching how these players played him me develop my game and made the game look simple. I play for a Sunday League team and some of the Crouch End boys who are good friends play there and asked me to join. I've really enjoyed my time. Playing with your friends makes it more enjoyable and rewarding. The reason behind our success has been that we are one unit. We are like a family, very disciplined, know each other well, work hard and loyal. I think both our captain Hiren Desai and vice captain Pratik Patel, have played a big part. They lead well, develop good strategies and always offer support. We know we still have one game to go, but know it's in our hands and hopefully after Saturday I can look forward to Division Two cricket with Crouch End.
I still have hopes of playing professional cricket, so will take a couple months of during the winter, work on my fitness, then start netting and preparing for the new season."
Acton CC will, be hoping for a Crouch End slip up as they kept on their heels with a 9 wicket win against MTSCC. Acton's attack rallied to bowl MTSCC out for 132 where Kibreeth Rameez made 53.
Despite losing an early wicket, there were no other wobbles as captain Sahil Kher (71*) and Lucas Carlisle (55) made sure of that.
The struggle for survival is also going down to the wire. Indian Gymkhana CC leapfrogged South Hampstead CC, as their batsman finally found some form. Captain Rakesh Khade smashed an unbeaten 139 not out, as Indian Gymkhana piled on the runs making 317-8 off their 45 overs.
Such a mammoth total was never going to be easy for Harrow Town CC. Muhammed Arshad (59) and Mohammed Ghouse (50) both hit fifties but they were never in contention, and lost by 83 runs as they played out their overs to end on 234-9.
The battle between the top two overseas players in the league, resulted in Uxbridge CC's Donovan Pell, taking the bragging rights as the Australian made 116 in his team's score of 213. Vrushank Dalal was the pick of the Wembley CC bowlers with figures of 5-29.
The prize wicket of Daniel Doyle (43) fell to Jonathon Tall and with their main run scorer gone, Wembley were all out for 166, and a 47 run win for Pell and Uxbridge.
News in brief
ECB National Club Championship
Stanmore CC, could have the weekends of all weekends. Saturday's sees them looking to secure a promotion spot back to the Premier Division, whilst on Sunday they welcome Sussex Premier League champions Roffey CC in the semi final of the National. Having home advantage will hopefully give Tush Karia's side the edge, so come down if you're free with the game scheduled to start at 1pm.
Middlesex Development League Finals Day
Sunday also sees the finals of the MDL. In the Rakesh Sethi Trophy, Hornsey CC will take on Osterley CC at Richmond Cricket Club, whilst the Shield Final will be held at Newman Cricket Ground, Queen's Road, Richmond upon Thames, TW10 6HW between North London CC and Indian Gymkhana CC.
The Rakesh Sethi final will start at 12.30pm, whilst the Shield will commence a little earlier at 11am.
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