Saturday XI
Sat 05 Sep 2015
Old Eastcotians
Priory Park Cricket Club
Saturday XI
Priory slump in tricky run chase - Report by Harish Patel

Priory slump in tricky run chase - Report by Harish Patel

Mehul JNR Patel7 Sep 2015 - 10:03
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Old Eastcotians v PPCC 05 Sep 2015

We made the short journey up to Watford seeking revenge for a narrow defeat earlier in the season and arrived to cloudy skies, a drop in temperature and uncertainty on how the wicket was going to play. The ground was not in the best of states and the outfield was in particular need of a cut.
Those niggling doubts were not going to deter me from choosing our tried and trusted approach this season to putting a good total on the board to then defend. However, I duly lost the toss and Old Eastcotians elected to bat first in a 35 over game. There was a slight delay in starting as it seems Sri Lankan timings are even worse than Indian ones. It fact less of a perception but a simple fact proven over seasons playing OE and Lankians.
It was imperative that Priory got off to a good start with the new ball and make full use of the overcast conditions we were presented with. Opening up with the Rits & Hits combination, they duly provided the early breakthroughs Priory were looking for. Hitesh has been spearheading the attack this season and obliged with a further 3 wickets all clean bowled. Equally potent was Ritesh, he was unfortunate to finish with just the single wicket but figures of 1/19 from his 7 overs should illustrate how well he bowled. He bowled with pace and bounce.
It was obvious that OE had an attacking intent from the start but Rajan was clean bowled by Hitesh trying to go for a big shot without really getting his eye in. One down early and it should have been 2 soon after with a great shout for LBW from Rits being turned down. It was difficult to see how it would not have hit anything other than middle stump. But we got the second wicket soon after with Hitesh bowling the left handed opener around the legs offering no shot and why would he. It looked to be heading down legside but then swung in to hit leg stump. Ritesh then got his reward with a full toss that also looked to be heading down but swung again to strike the pads right in front. This time there was no hesitation from the umpire in raising the finger. One further wicket from Hitesh and Priory had a good grip on the match.
Priory were in a strong position but could not force the advantage home. Credit to Anish, MP3, Sabs, Junior and Kuni for sharing the remaining overs. They bowled well but there were some big hitting especially from Thamarai, a man with a strong physique and wielding his willow to great effect. Alongside this they rotated the strike and the scoreboard was starting to look more respectable for OE. A couple of tough chances went and a further couple that should have been taken but OE were already in a healthier position. Thamarai went for 51 well caught in the deep by H and his partner Kabi for 46. Prem also came in and attacked from the start to make 44. In fact, OE looked like they would pass 200 at one point but well done to the lads to keep it under 200. A particular mention to Ganesh who took a one handed blinder diving to his left at short mid-wicket to dismiss Prem. It is those moments in the field that actually lifts the other fielders and bowlers.
OE finished on 192/7 from their 35 overs and with our much improved batting this season thought it was an achievable target as we tucked into our tea.
Priory started the innings with our ‘Little Master’ and Punit, hoping for the usual fast start from Tejas and supported by Punit to see off the opening bowlers. However, in the 3rd over, Tejas mistimed one and offered a straight forward caught and bowled. Priory heads may have dropped but we cannot expect our star batsman this season to deliver every game and so it was going to be time for others to make the important contributions. Ganesh joined Punit at the crease and the pair proceeded to build a steady partnership. Ganesh was starting to free his arms and timed some beautiful boundaries but there was some really good tight bowling and Punit was not able to free the shackles. Hence the comment from our scorer that Punit would benefit from adding some Poyeye-strength spinach to his diet. MP3 does not speak much when he does, you listen, take note and almost certainly will be in stitches with laughter.
With wickets in hand there was still hope that we could do something special but gradually the run rate was creeping up and at the halfway stage of 59/1 and still requiring a further 134 of 18 overs at nearly 7 and ½ an over it was probably going to be highly unlikely.
Once Punit was out and then Ganesh for a terrific 47 there is not much else to write about the rest of our innings. We lost wickets at regular interval, the match was gone and fell to our lowest total of the season and subsequently our worst batting performance.
In hindsight, it was probably a 150 pitch rather than 190 and whereas OE had 3 batsmen who made significant contributions we only had the one.
Sometimes you learn more from defeats and come back stronger. I think that starts from captain's decisions to individuals always thinking how they can improve their performance in similar situations. A 5th defeat out of 7 this season while chasing suggests improvements in how we go about the task. The captain should probably consider changing the order from the advertised batting line up if the circumstances require it.
MOTM - Ganesh - the only batsman to make a significant contribution and a 50 is surely in his sights, plus a spectacular catch.
Alas, my one and only report for the season could not bring you news of a victory. However, I want to finish on a positive note as it was my last game of the season. As I was cleaning up my cricket gear and packing away the kitbag in the garage for the winter I was reflecting on the season, albeit with a final game to come.
With 40 over games standing at 10 wins, 7 losses and 2 draws, that demonstrates a great season for PPCC and results wise is the best in my 4 seasons and from rummaging through a couple of old scorebooks in my possession the 3 before that. That is a fantastic achievement and everyone should be proud of that. We started the season with a transition to a new captain and Sandeep has grown into the PPCC captaincy role and led the team well. Statistics will show some key performers but we should remind ourselves it is a team game and everyone will have contributed to our success. I saw first-hand how the newly formed LMS team have performed brilliantly in its first season. We again supported the SIA charity for Darren and got the PPCC tour back in our calendar. We also introduced a couple of new players into the PPCC family. I am really proud how our batting improved this season and the bowling remained as solid as ever. We have played some really good cricket and I look forward to similar if not even more success in 2016. Finish well next week.
Enjoy the winter break and see you all again at nets in January if not at some winter socials including I hope the AGM. I am sure the date will be announced in the coming weeks and hope as many members as can will attend the AGM.

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Sat 05 Sep 2015


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