Everybody Say Dave Is a Champion!!!
PPCC v Burhani Guards
The carefully spun tunes of MP3 were certainly not missed as Priory’s music maker DJ Dave spun a few deliveries into what resembled a Colombo dustbowl before making some resounding sounds off the middle of his bat to top the charts for his batting rather than his music
Finally a glorious summer’s day presented itself to the players in what was a critical league game with both sides aiming to keep close to early pacesetters North London Muslims
Stand in captain Vijay Jani likes to assess and analyse every aspect of the game before he makes a decision. He stood in the middle asking for a variety of information and stats from his trusty lieutenants, Kuni Walsh gave an hour by hour weather forecast, Hambo provided some stats on the opposition, others stated that we had beaten this team by batting first and not chasing
Vijay absorbed all of these key ingredients into his wise old mind and when presented with a winning toss he decided to have a bowl
With premier strike bowler H running late Vijay moved his attack around and tasked Kuni and Vasa very early in the day with a challenge of leading the attack. Games against Burhani Guards have been closely contested and with the cup defeat still ringing in many of the players ears focus, energy and starting the game well was a must.
Kuni and Vasa bowled very tightly with Kuni getting a go down the hill in the absence of H. Kuni thrived on the responsibility and bowled a very penetrating opening burst often having the batsmen play and miss at regular intervals. Vasa kept it very tidy at the other end including 3 maidens in his first 5 overs as Burhani drifted along at just over 1 run per over in the first 12 overs
There were several close calls, Kuni had a few LBW shouts and Vasa missed a tough caught and bowled. Kuni got his just rewards with an early wicket clean bowling their opening batsmen.
The next crucial moment embodied the true Priory spirit that was evident on the day. Kuni bowled a good length ball outside off stump that moved slightly away from the batsmen, he played away from his body but still middled a square cut. Unfortunately the fierce shot went directly into the formidable and large bucket hands of Sid in the gully. Great reactions shown from a player who has not had much match practice this season but it clearly illustrated the fact that Priory were concentrating hard and had brought a level of intensity onto the field on this fine Saturday afternoon
Frustration was clearly getting the better of the away team as the Burhani batsmen were much like their team name ‘guarded’ in their defence and with 10 overs bowled and only 6 runs conceded by the opening bowlers something had to give. Their number 4 tried to brake the shackles by recklessly attacking every ball, he was eventually undone by a mistimed drive to mid on and a well taken catch by Rama. Vasa getting his wicket
With the wicket starting to slow up already and the evidence of any swing being lost after 10 overs Vijay made a change and brought on Dave alongside H. It was during this time that the captain and several of the senior players quickly realised that this wicket from now until the end of the innings would not be contusive to pace or bounce. The pitch rendered H into a medium pacer as his first 3 overs went for 14 runs without the same penetration he normally enjoys on a Saturday afternoon or indeed for Priory’s social king on a Saturday night. We were not sure whether H’s slow start was due to bowling rhythm or whether eating too many lollipops had finally got the better of him
Priory were thinking on their feet and DJ Dave made sure that those in the Priory camp with two left feet still danced a jig as he spun his way to two wickets in his first two overs. Dave’s nagging accuracy and difficult length meant the batsmen could neither come forward and attack with a drive of play any cross bat shots with any presented that was short of a length. Dave twirled away and his consistent line made the batsmen play shots outside of their comfort zone in order to get a very stagnant innings moving
H watching carefully from the other end decided to try his arm at spin/slow medium/left arm chinamen and his over the wicket and through the umpire variations which always drive the batsmen to distraction. Taking pace off the ball made it increasingly difficult for the batsmen to time the ball and after Dave and H had taken a further wicket apiece the batsmen decided to change their strategy. Going for big Hollywood shots was no longer a necessity as their number 8 and 9 batsmen decided to stage a sit in, protesting to their incapable upper order and camping out at 2 runs an over in cleverly manipulated singles.
It was test match cricket at its gripping best, a real throwback to the ages as Burhani ground away at the overs and created the first significant partnership of the innings. To the all action Priory outfit this was beginning to feel like Groundhog Day. The 8th wicket partnership was not a mammoth one in terms of scoring, it yielded just over 70 runs however it was the time spent at the crease that became gruelling to Prior. The 7th wicket fell in the 25th over however Priory’s spin attack went wicketless for another 23 torturous overs until H relieved everyone’s anxiety with a potentially match turning ball
In the midst of the partnership it was obvious Priory’s players were getting bogged down however the constant shouts of encouragement from the tireless Hambo behind the stumps, the simple one liners from the banter king DJ Dave and relentless energy from several of the experienced players kept the team on their toes and upbeat. H’s wicket, clean bowling their number 9 with what can be described as a quicker ball that pushed that batsmen onto the back foot with the ball keeping low spurned Priory into life and a will to polish off the innings quickly
Rama bowled tidily without much luck or reward at both ends but importantly kept the runs in check with his subtle variations of pace and length. It was H who took the next wicket and with the pressure building now at both ends helped induce a run out which finally concluded an attritional innings for both teams. Priory had chalked up 53 overs but with all the bowlers keeping their economy rates low kept Burhani Guards in check and had to chase a very gettable 165 on a wicket that did not have much in it for the bowlers
A delicious tea courtesy of the ever willing Abhi was wolfed down as Priory tried to gobble up every bit of energy spent fielding for an exhaustive 53 overs. Despite not having previous success in chasing totals there seemed to be a calm resilience about Priory and the final quick wickets moved the momentum with the home side
Unfortunately Priory’s chase lost all momentum in the first few overs. Luck has clearly not been on Punit Jani’s side and you had to feel for the self proclaimed selfie king as after 53 overs of hard graft in the field his tenure at the crease lasted one ball. It seemed to happen in slow motion as Burhani’s explosive looking fast bowler charged into the crease and the pitch did what it had been doing all day and took around 50% of the pace off it automatically as soon as it landed. Punit perhaps played the bowler rather than the ball and expecting a quick delivery he prodded forward in defence playing his shot very early as the ball scooped up into the grateful hands of Ali H.
0-1 very quickly became 1-2 as Gaurav was shot out by the impressive Ali H. Their opening bowler knew that the new ball would only be potent for a few overs and he put all his energy and passion into those first few overs. Sid was batting in an unfamiliar position at number 3 and despite his lack of time in the middle he played some sumptuous cover drives in an impressively albeit it short stay at the crease. He attacked one ball too many and was caught at short cover. The only shining light in another quick dismissal for Priory was that the Burhani bowler clearly overjoyed at seeing the demise of what then may have looked like Priory’s best batsmen collapsed on the floor in over celebration. The phrase don’t count your chickens before they hatch seemed pertinent…
At 7-3 Priory’s innings looked in a very delicate situation. Missing the stellar batting of Sandeep and Tejas in their line up Burhani sensed they could go in for the kill and wrap up a resounding victory. Priory’s battled hardened captain Vijay Jani had other ideas as he strode to the crease with purpose and intent
Helped initially by Hambo’s violent clean striking of a cricket ball Vijay the wall Jani did what he does best, calmed the innings, the non striker and Priory’s entire team down with his steady accumulation of runs that has become something of a trademark over the years. Always a team player and never wanting to take the limelight of the more glamourous strokemakers that surround him in the batting order he went about his innings in a business-like manner. Hambo was out to a contentious LBW decision, the first indeed of the innings and this could have caused a further collapse
Fresh from a cheetah like performance in the field where he chased down quick singles like a single Vijay Jani chasing girls on heat, Abhi strode to the crease with confidence and a gleam in his eye. Together with Vijay’s calm demeanour they put together a crucial partnership featuring turgid defence, quick singles and steady accumulation. Unlike Priory when they faced a similar position during Burhani’s innings the guards seemed to lose patience very quickly and the heat of the battle seemed to catch up with some of their quick bowlers. A partnership of 37 churned out through dedication and concentration set Priory up for a fight
Vijay was finally run out for trying to pinch one quick single too many but a composed 22 was critical in the grand scheme of the chase. Abhi was joined by Priory’s quick talking Dave who was looking to stamp his authority on a game he had already excelled in with his bowling. Dave looked assured and stamped class on the crease as from ball one he never looked like getting out
Abhi’s determination and never say die attitude got the better of him in the end as a last ditch dive to save his wicket resulted in injury. The spirit of the game was very much in evidence as both teams ran to his rescue and helped escort the disconsolate Abhi off the pitch. He had battled hard for a tough 13 runs. Abhi’s unfortunate loss served only to further motivate Priory’s batsmen. Vasa joined Dave at the crease and the two set out to build a free flowing, run loving partnership
Both played with free abandon as Dave’s brilliant drives and crisp flicks to the leg side gave Vasa the confidence play with the freedom that makes his game better. They batted with purpose and vigour, all the hard graft of the previous partnership paid off as the tired bowlers were pummelled to boundary every over. As the run rate became easier the two experienced cricketers accumulated and did not want to give their wickets away, Ali H was played sensibly in the knowledge that the run glut would occur from the other end
Always enjoying a bit of banter and jousting there was only going to be one winner in a verbal battle with Priory’s champion played Dave. The chirping spurred Dave on to hit what can only be described as a photographer’s dream, a straight six hit off the tiring Ali H hit with glorious timing rather than brutality. A purest of pure cricket shot. Punit would have been proud to have captured that moment on his photo laden phone
As the final moments reached Dave played a lovely shot to bring up a wonderful fifty. On a pitch where batsmen had struggled to time the ball it seemed like he was playing on a Perth belter as he raised his bat to his adoring crowd. He wanted to finish with typical Caribbean style and much like when Carlos Brathwaite only needed a single to win the T20 world final and hit a six, Dave tried to do the same. He was caught at deep long off to end a wonderful innings 53. Vasa who had provided able support and rotated the strike well at the other end finished the game off with a cut for four off the now angry and irritated Ali H who was bowling his 14th and final over
A wonderful game of cricket, who said the longer 50 over format was dead. Certainly not Priory’s Dave who when all the flags had been collected and stumps taken out of the ground was the man of the day who could truly be called a champion