By Richard Higginbottom
Earlier this season Richard was changing ready for a match at Parliament Hill when a gentleman approached the fence and said “do you come here often?”. As he didn’t look like the sort of person who rummages around under some of the bushes on Hampstead Heath, I replied that we play on this pitch whenever we can get it booked. “So do we; do you fancy a match some time?” It turned out that Hugh Jones, captain of the Gospel Blokes, had a spare fixture on this particular August evening, so wind the calendar forward a couple of months and here we are back on the Hill ready to do battle.
Richard lost his form with the coin and we were put into the field. A pair of young fellows were opening for the Blokes and it became obvious that these guys could bat. Nik Patel bowled a terrific spell and was unlucky not to claim a wicket, though both Shaqil and Shahin coped very well. Lord Fakenham had opened at the other end but as we planned to bat him up the order, he gave way after two overs to Madhu Soman who also put in an excellent spell, culminating in bowling out Shahin for 21. Jonny supported Shaqil well who continued to play Stuart (who replaced Nik) comfortably until he tried one cheeky run too many, Nik Patel running out Shaqil from lying on the ground for 45. Phew! Ben hit a couple of big shots off Sachin who’d replaced Madhu but then got involved in a mix-up ending in Nik and Richard combining to run him out. Tom was then a victim to a good turner from Sachin as we were clawing the Blokes back (who were already over 100 after 12 overs). James Mound bowled a very tidy spell near the end, getting out Jonny and no-one else collaring him (conceded one boundary only). Sachith bowled a spectacular last over to only concede 5 runs and take three wickets. 145 is a good score with the light fading a bit.
Gospel Blokes 145 for 8 off 20 overs Shaqil run out (N Patel) 45 Shahin b Soman 21 Jonny b Mound 17 Ben run out (N Patel-Higginbottom) 8 Tom b Randunne 0 Zain b Dassanayake 11 CJ c & b Dassanayake 1 Manu b Dassanayake 0 Leo not out 0 Jack not out 2 Hugh did not bat Extras 35 Salmagundi Gardeners O M R W N Patel 4 0 21 0 Amesbury 2 0 15 0 Soman 4 1 26 1 Bruce 3 0 32 0 Randunne 3 0 20 1 Mound 3 0 10 1 Dassanayake 1 0 5 3
Quick turnaround … opening bowler Zain is very swift … Lord Fakenham stands up bravely and a mixture of edges, good shots and byes get 11 on the board at the end of over one. Keshan gets a good ball from the accurate CJ to skittle him in the next over. 13-1 after 2. Sachin and Fakenham put us back in the van with some fine strokeplay in over 3. 21-1 so that’s on the rate. Another 7 runs off the fourth over but not such good news as Sachin holed out to Ben off CJ. Ben then replaced Zain and a couple of loose-ish balls were smacked away by Fakenham and its 39-2 after 5. CJ gets slapped to the boundary by Sachith but responds in the most eloquent fashion, pinning our all rounder lbw next ball. 43-3 became 43-4 in the next over, the baronet getting his stumps rearranged by Ben for 15. We need a stand. We get one … Manu and Stuart combine well to put on 33 in good time until the big man was bowled by his namesake – leg-spinner Manu – for 9 (incidentally his shot through midwicket was possibly our best hit of the night, competing with Fakenham’s pulled “goal” through the café gate a little earlier). Stuart shortly after followed, Shaqil inducing a catch by Ben (Shaqil is a fine all rounder). 72-6 now and the light is going as well as a few raindrops being felt. Conor was bowled for 1 (76-7) and Nik for 6, both Shaqil’s victims. Madhu now played some brilliant shots – he must have eaten a lot of carrots. James also done by another Shaqil special. Richard could easily have followed immediately having failed to see the ball at all – fortunately missed the stumps. Madhu then played two lovely late cuts off Jack for four – the only difference being one with glasses on, one with glasses off. (Yes, he’s anything but conventional). Target a bit of a stretch now, particularly as Richard thinks he’s in an unlit mine … Hugh bowled one on his stumps after he’d somehow gathered a handful of runs, and we were beaten. Well played the Blokes, we’ll look to setting up a couple of fixtures against you next season, you’re a fine group of men.
Salmagundi Gardeners 117 all out off 18.1 overs Amesbury b Ben 15 Dickwella b CJ 1 Randunne c Ben b CJ 14 Dassanayake lbw b CJ 4 Kumaran b Manu 9 Bruce c Kitchen b Shaqil 13 N Patel b Shaqil 6 Aspel b Shaqil 1 Soman not out 28 Mound b Shaqil 0 Higginbottom b Hugh 4 Extras 27 Gospel Blokes O M R W Zain 2 0 15 0 CJ 3 0 13 3 Ben 2 0 20 1 Manu 4 0 19 1 Shaqil 4 0 11 4 Jack 2 0 22 0 Hugh 1.1 0 7 1
GOSPEL BLOKES WON BY 28 RUNS