Wembley 25 July

So … a question for the skipper … when is a Thomson Reuters game a Salmagundi Gardeners game and vice versa.   The answer is simple … when the members of one team outnumber the other, we switch badges.  Stuart, Ben and I wear both badges of course.  Last year at this splendid fixture we had six Gardeners (me, Lord Fakenham, Doosra, Seal Clubber, UltraBass, Ben) so I’ve now made it SGCC – however this time I had to pull in 4 Ringers (thanks Sachin) plus one of Wembley’s colts to get us to XI.

As usual I lost the toss and our host Dave Joshi (also a Thomson Reuters stalwart) opted to bat.  It was over 30C so that was a good toss to win.  Dave’s a fine fellow and ensured we’d get 2 drinks breaks in the 40 overs.  Sachin had informed Richard that the “Sri Lankan Subs” were all bowlers who could bat … so Nalan opened the bowling with De Soyza at the other end.  Tight and tense from ball one … both bowlers were exerting considerable pressure on the Wembley openers with Shukat chancing his arm whilst Mohanlal was more circumspect.  Some fours were conceded off the edges (and some off the middle) … and the bowling got even sharper, De Soyza forcing a return catch to remove Shukat.  Nalan was having no luck at the North End, his 4 overs costing only 11 runs before Arshad joined the fray.  Three pace run up, moving the ball both ways, always on a length – this is the kind of guy a skipper would keep on all day from one end if there were no over limits.  Wembley number 3 was duly castled for a duck.  The batsmen figured that few runs were likely to be on offer from Arshad and commenced taking on De Soyza – with the result that a catch went up, confidently taken by Arshad.  Time for De Soyza to take a break and Nik Patel came on and bowled superbly well to Wembley’s two Patels who were now together.  Textbook inswinger rattled number 5 T Patel’s timbers and we were well ahead at 54 for 4 after 14 overs.  The next few overs saw Wembley opting for survival against the constantly probing deliveries of Nik and Arshad.  Eventually Nik got one through the stonewall defences and it was 76-5 off 20.  S Patel was playing some good shots by now but never got into a position of dominance.  We gave Arshad a rest and brought on the colt Wembley had given us, Makhana.  He’s quite small, only 16, but he’d already impressed us in the field with his great arm and athleticism.  His bowling was a very lively medium pace and his usual team-mates were clearly desperate not to get out to him.  However, Vandergert was looking to attack and perished as Nik completed the catch to leave Wembley on 87-6.  Our young loanee kept up the pressure, putting in a 5 over spell for only 8 runs.  Sachin came on and was painfully unlucky as he had 2 catches put down and a stumping missed – none of them easy – as we tried to close out the innings.  S Patel and Hall profited, playing some steady and sensible cricket and we were amazingly unable to add to our wickets despite some fine bowling (Manil also tried his arm) and fielding.

Wembley   201-6   off 40 overs
Shukat   c&b De Soyza   17
Mohanlal   c Arshad b De Soyza   17
Badiani   b Arshad   0
S Patel   not out   75
T Patel   b N Patel   7
Amin   b N Patel   15
Vandergert   c N Patel b Makhana   6
Hall   not out   44
Extras   20

SGCC Bowling
Nalan   4 overs – 0 maidens – 11 runs – 0 wickets
De Soyza   8 – 0 – 25 – 2
Arshad   8 – 0 – 29 – 1
N Patel   6 – 0 – 29 – 2
Makhana   5 – 0 – 8 – 1
Randunne   6 – 1 – 41 – 0
Soni   3 – 0 – 22 – 0

Tea was a very fine do … Wembley cricket week, what better place to be on a Wednesday in late July in what turned out to be the hottest day of the year?

Laurence was fresh from a half-century in Victoria Park and had fielded like a demon so we fancied he was good for a few runs today.  Wrong!  Asghar bowled him an absolute jaffa and Badiani took a neat catch in the slips.  1-1.  Next over and our guest player Ishara – who’s also been scoring for fun – went exactly the same way to Imrie also without troubling the scorers.  6-2 and I’m starting to think I’ll need to score some big runs to get us over the line today despite the fact I’m batting at 11 (it was hot, I’d kept wicket and I fancied an afternoon off).  Time for Stuart and Manil to consolidate … yeah right!  Neither of them are given to defending and were offered some loose balls to dart at … a number of very attractive shots were coming from both of our young chargers as they rattled up 40 in six overs until Stuart swung over the top of a “nothing ball” (his words).  Manil was then immediately run out by some great fielding and our fightback was swiftly curtailed.  Arshad approached the wicket with a confident air and approached Nik.  “No quick singles” he advised our talismanic all rounder in a tone that brooked no argument.  The bristling confidence Arshad brought to the wicket inspired Nik and pretty soon they were playing shots of calm authority all around the wicket.  Arshad played a superb on-drive off his toes followed by a lacerating cover drive bringing gasps of admiration from his team-mates.  Nik wasn’t to be outdone and a classical straight drive followed by a dazzling pull brought similar approval from us.  Alas all good things must come to an end and Nik fell to a return catch by Hall after the partnership had realised 78 runs in 12 overs.  We’ve still got some work to do; Nalan accumulated well as Arshad maintained his control over the bowling until Nalan nibbled at one from Hall and was caught at the wicket.  De Soyza remarkably didn’t score off his first ten balls then hit consecutive boundaries to ease the pressure.  Arshad went for one big hit too many and was caught for a brilliant 82.  Still a bit in the game as Makhana went out to face his team-mates.  No worries!  Sachin and I weren’t needed as De Soyza saw us home with a couple of boundaries whilst Makhana looks as convincing with willow as with the leather.  Great game, thanks Wembley.

SGCC   202 for 7   off 33.2 overs
Kiddle   c Badiani b Asghar   0
Ishara   c Hall b Imrie   0
Bruce   b Asghar   29
Soni   run out   12
N Patel   c&b Hall   32
Arshad   c Badiani b Shukat   82
Nalan   c Joshi b Amin   13
De Soyza   not out   21
Makhana   not out   6
Randunne and Higginbottom did not bat
Extras   7

Wembley Bowling
Imrie   7 overs – 1 maiden – 58 runs – 1 wicket
Asghar   5 – 0 – 22 – 2
T Patel   7 – 1 – 32 – 0
Hall   5 – 0 – 34 – 1
S Patel   4 – 0 – 15 – 0
Amin   4 – 1 – 30 – 1
Shukat   1 – 0 – 5 – 1
Vandergert   0.2 – 0 – 1 – 0

SGCC won by 3 wickets

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