The Colosseum was set for the homecoming derby against arch rivals Wealdstone Corinthians. Priory lost the toss and were put into bat. Big unit Steve Brown and Seasoned Corinthian Raj started the proceedings. Tejas continued his attacking form from the previous game and runs started flowing at a decent rate. Punit riding on the back of a duck from the previous game started cautiously. The two paced sticky wicket with damp patches wasn’t helping the batsmen’s intentions either as the ball was dying at one end while spitting up at the other.
Tejas displayed his armoury by pulling Steve for a four followed by a deft touch to guide the ball over the boundary ropes at third man. Punit was patiently accumulating singles at the other end and was understandably playing the passive partner. The day grew warmer and the wind was picking up drying up the wicket and the pair were inching closer to their 50 run partnership. Steve got the ball to bounce more than Tejas would have liked and a miss-timed pull was caught at square leg for 19.
I joined Punit and started poorly and used couple of overs trying to get my eye in. The run rate dropped massively and we were around 50 runs in 15 overs. Few overthrows helped us but the opening bowlers had the last laugh. Punit continued playing the anchoring role and I decided to be the aggressor. I stepped out to Raj and lofted him for a four and this triggered a bowling change at both ends. The new bowlers were thrashed all over the park including a flat six over the cover region. A pull off my bat narrowly missing Junior at square leg pierced Sabya’s backyard. A replacement cherry was offered by the home team and I have to admit our darker cherry posed issues in sighting the ball. The scoring rate peaked and 100 runs were in sight in 22 overs. Sensing Buttle will be replaced soon; I stepped out with the ball catching the toe end and was caught magnificently by Adi running from long off to extra cover to everyone’s surprise.
Vijay with his tail up joined Punit. Buttle was replaced with Adi who was half the age but double the pace of his predecessor. Punit was the first to fall when the ball jagged back to rock the furniture for 34. The opener now has runs under his belt and the whole team believes that with a bit more positivity and aggression Punit will be soon registering his first half century for the club. Hambo joined Vij and played Adi brilliantly and used the bowler’s pace to drive the balls into point and 3rd man regions for four boundaries. Akshay replaced Roslyn from the Cavendish end. The lack of pace and the angle tempted Hambo to take a big heave but was unfortunately trapped leg before for an entertaining 20. Vasa started promisingly against the left arm pace bowler but to his own remorse played across the line with the ball taking an inside edge and hitting the timber.
This brought rusty Biren out of hibernation into the attack and we were expecting him to repeat his last season’s Arkley knock. I guess the bear needs more of the summer heat to shake off the rustiness. His willingness to fill in for Dharmesh at the 11th hour was appreciated by the club. Maverick Hitesh arrived at the crease with his new BAS willow resembling the size of a caveman’s club and started smashing the Corinthian bowlers at will. He showed no mercy for the pacer who was heaved for couple of fours around square leg. His characteristic 360 swing of the bat made the perfect connection and Akshay was left tracking the ball crossing over the boundary rope for a massive 6. Hitesh gave the final thrust and Corinthians were set to chase 196.
Kuni and Hitesh opened the bowling for Priory. Opener Clark with his sun glares looked at ease while Shah was evidently looking at bit shaky. Kuni quickly removed the southpaw Shah and was replaced by Raj, a Corinthian veteran with a penchant for the leg side. Kuni now bowling around the wicket was offering Raj half trackers on the leg side which the veteran was punishing arrogantly. Ignoring captains and other team mate’s advice Kuni continued bowling around the wicket to right handers and was punished by both batsmen. Hitesh was bowling a tighter line which the batsmen were unable to get under and score off. But the pressure was let off by the other end and so Kuni was replaced with MP3.
MP3 playing his first game of the season found his rhythm straight away. He fired an arm ball uprooting the stumps and the other opener was sent to pavilion for 8. Torness joined Raj who was now wagging his willow and keeping the worm closer to the required run rate. Torness kept on blocking while Raj kept on heaving towards mid-wicket and Corinthians were around 60 for 2. Hitesh was eventually replaced after a 6 over spell by Vasa. Torness retired due to back pain and was replaced by Steeve Brown.
Vasa started off under par with few half trackers inviting the batsmen to pull. Both bowlers playing their first game of the season showed moments of brilliance followed by moments of rustiness. Raj and Steeve Brown were growing confident against MP3 and hence Tejas was brought into attack hoping that his wicket to wicket bowling will work wonders. Vasa continued from the other end and soon Faulkner found the out swinging line which the batsmen were struggling to cut, drive or pull. The battle between Vasa and Raj was getting entertaining by the minute where the batsman was trying to be aggressive while the bowler giving him no opportunity to do so. Eventually Vasa KO Raj for a quick 44 with an out swinging Yorker and gave an uncharacteristic send off to the batsman. Clark replaced Raj and the very next ball he edged it to be caught by Hambo and Vasa was on a hat-trick. Roslyn walked in under immense pressure and somehow managed to block the hat-trick ball. His stay was shortened by Vasa bowling a perfect off cutter which left the batter bewildered for a good few minutes.
Steeve Brown amid all these events was slowly piling up singles but was eventually trapped by MP3 for a well –made 26. Vasa bowled 8 on a trot finishing with impressive figures of 3 wickets giving only 17 runs. Both bowlers evidently tired were replaced with Junior and Kuni. Junior quickly wrapped up the new batters Adi and Akshay. Torness came out of retirement and joined the Big Steve. By popular demand Vijay was called in to bowl the last over and didn’t disappoint his fans when his slow snail paced delivery went through the defences of the Big Steve wrapping up the Corinthians at 126, well short of the target. An all-round performance by the team to register back to back win.
Man of the Match: To uproot Raj, for picking up 3 wickets in the space of 2 overs and for changing the tempo of the game, Vasa is our man of the match.