Gentlemen of West London Cricket Club
Gentlemen of West London Cricket Club

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15.4.24

An exciting double-header saw Gents won 1 lost 1 on a windy weekend. 

 

14.4.24

Dulwich SC

South Bank 123 (Murphy 26, Peak 23)

Gents 115 (Parvathaneni 47*, Faisal 4-31, Murphy 3-16)

Lost by 8 runs

 

Worcester Park CC had sniffily declined this fixture, not wanting to play on an artificial, so Gents stepped in, their own game at Hook and Southborough having become victim of the weather for the second year running. Thus a convoy of cars made its way to leafy Dulwich with Kulasingam and Nagpal braving the trains and buses (and creditably being first on the ground). A close, attritional game resulted with Parvathaneni in the runs again, he and the resilient, calm Dubey adding 38 for the tenth wicket only to fall eight short. A bit more support up top and Gents would have won but South Bank had a strong attack intelligently deployed by Mendelssohn, who also impressed with the disposition of his fielders, especially given that they were only ten.

 

The captain inserted the hosts and though Peak clipped three early leg-side fours off Gulati the bowlers (nine of them) had the better of things on a lively track. Four batters were caught trying to break free and Sudireddy executed a smart stumping. Murphy and Twinn added 34, the highest of the innings, before Chatharaju had them both. He and Kulasingam were the pick of the bowlers. The players left the field when Murphy was out, there being no batsman to come in, but Siddique as lowest scorer was allowed to bat again. This always a confusing situation and really ought to have been agreed by the captains before the game. Better to lend a fielder in our view.  

 

It was a relief to get inside the warm pavilion for tea and duly refreshed Gents set about their task. Kumar and Krishna did well against the impressive openers though scoring was tough. But one wicket brought two, three, four, five and six, Peak enjoying himself as three balls lifted and were edged into his safe gloves. A score of 43-6 was not what the captain had in mind, but Jampala and Parvathaneni brought order from chaos.

 

Jampala’s downfall was quickly followed by two more and at 77-9 it looked all up. Parvathaneni was playing sensibly and in the wise Dubey he found the ideal partner. There was the odd scare but this was very good cricket by the Gents. The four main bowlers were seen off, Gents 106-9: Mendelssohn would have to introduce a fifth and sixth. The tension ramped up. Mendelssohn brought himself on – Parvathaneni was dropped by a diving ’keeper. On came Siddique. Parvathaneni blocked the first, hit a stupendous six off the second but was beaten by the third which crashed into his stumps. South Bank had won.

 

Within a few hours their secretary wrote saying they would like to renew. Fine by us.

 

13.4.24

Marble Hill Park

Crossbats 172 (Masini 63, Dubey 62, Krishna 5-28)

Gents 173-5 (Parvathaneni 56*, Bhaja 548)

Won by 5 wickets

 

Crossbats know the artificial pitch at Marble Hill Park intimately, as they should with 37 home games planned out of 61 for the season. They beat the Gents quite easily here in 2022 and 2023 and have a big squad, so any win here is most welcome. This double header weekend was a triumph for team secretary Nilesh Dubey who organised 16 players to honour it, six playing both days. Five Gents and three Crossbats returned from 2023. Mandava played only his second game and Jampala returned for his first game since 2016. Sunny Bhaja and Raghavendra debuted.

 

Gents won well on the warmest day ever to host this traditional opening fixture, anchorman Bhaja (54 not out, 62 balls, four fours) and Parvathaneni (56 not out, 42 balls, nine fours, one six) posting 93 off 75 to see the visitors home. Earlier Krishna had taken his first club five-for, all in his remarkable second spell of 3-0-9-5, some performance on the true new artificial.

 

English Heritage tend Marble Hill Park well. The groundsman had given the outfield a No.3 cut with no fade so the ball needed a bit of a bash to go to the boundary. Inserted, Crossbats put down a marker for the most lop-sided scorecard of the summer, slipping from 104-0 to 172 all out. Dubey provided the fireworks in the opening stand though Masini would narrowly outscore him.

 

Gents’ hopes rose as Mandava bowled his spell of off-breaks through. Jampala supported him with an accurate spell and the run rate slowed. Kulasingam replaced him and after a Dubey six the assertive opener clipped to cover. The wily seamer soon bowled Snowball and mayhem beckoned. S. Patel and Pingili had productive spells as the final nine wickets tumbled in 8.4 overs. Krishna had had two four-wicket returns before, both in 2021. Here he produced a superb second spell, hitting the top of off stump three times, as the innings closed dead on 35 overs. To have taken 10-68 spoke volumes for the bowlers. The captain made some sound bowling changes, the ground-fielding was neat but the catching below par, something that would also afflict Crossbats.

 

Gents struggled at first. A brilliant diving stop and throw left the captain stranded and Chatharaju drove back a juggling caught and bowled. The middle order tried to dig in but it was soon 80 for five, the neat Bhaja untroubled by it all. Parvathaneni survived two drops in his first over at the crease, to slip and mid-on but soon found his range, the bowlers and fielders powerless to stop him. The wind off the Thames became keen but batters and spectators were not dispirited as the runs flowed.

 

This superb stand saw the Gents home with 28 balls and five wickets in hand. Parvathaneni’s fifty was his third for the Gents while Bhaja became the tenth Gent to score one on debut. Crossbats took their defeat in good part and the post-match socials were enjoyable. This was a promising start to 2024 and only the second win in six.

 

6.4.24

Hook and Southborough scheduled for Sun 14 April has been cancelled as the groundsman cannot prepare a wicket. The committee is seeking an alternative. 

 

15.3.24

Fixtures

All 29 matches are now confirmed. We start with a double-header on 13/14 April. We requested and Crossbats accepted 6 April but they had to defer us for a week. Rather than lose a weekend, we have accepted the revised date. It will need some planning, We also close the season with a double header.

 

We welcome three new opponents - Chaddleworth (rained off in 2023), Phoenix and Sheen Park. Hounslow Hurricanes are back home and away and Battersea Eagles also return.

 

We tour the Kent marshes again. The Cotswolds tour has been postponed till 2025.

 

Venues

Our home games will be split between LB Merton (8), Wycombe House (3) and Milford in Surrey (2). That's 13 home games and 16 away.

 

Nets

31.12.23

Teddington SC cannot provide nets this pre-season, so we have booked:

 

Featherstone Sports Hall

11 Montague Way

Southall UB2 5HF

 

Sun 3 March 9.00-11.00 (2 lanes)

Sun 10 March 9.00-11.00 (2 lanes)

Sun 31 March 13.00-15.00 (2 lanes)

 

30.11.23

The AGM saw one change to the Committee. Raj Patel will be the new Vice-captain replacing Ranjith Charharaju, who did a sterling job.

 

Minutes will be published in due course.

 

 

11.10.23

 

Summary of the 2023 season

 

Played 22 Won 12 Lost 8 Abamdoned 2

 

An enjoyable season of mixed fortunes saw bad weather intervening with three cancellations, and two abandonments in which the Gents did not face a single ball. Under the new leadership team of Sudireddy and Chatharaju 20 games were completed. Between 14 May and 27 August only one game out of 14 was lost, but the campaign was topped and tailed with seven defeats and one victory. Eight losses was the highest since 2015, attributable more perhaps to stronger opponents than to bad play. The support was splendid, Doshi and Francis (sadly injured in the first game and out after that) among others making frequent, very welcome appearances. Thanks go to all who came whether they played or not.

 

The player rota was 25, compared to 33 in 2022 and 40 in 2021. To see fewer, one goes back to the club’s second year, 1989, when only seven games were played. This lent a consistency to selection that enabled the captain to experiment in fairly accommodating many all-rounders. One mysterious no show aside, full teams were fielded every time thanks to the efficiency of match secretary Dubey and A. Ahmed kindly supplied guests to several opponents. The end of cricket at Old Tenisonians required the club to move its home games and pitches in LB Merton were well prepared and cheaper. Administration was good too, with phone access to the groundsman in the event of rain. Wycombe House remained a batting paradise, though bowlers muttered about it, the last two games there yielding 1,029 runs for just 22 wickets.

 

Kota was superb. His 792 runs (two centuries and four fifties) stands third in the all-time annals and took his career batting average to over 50. Gulati (three fifties) and R. Patel (his first two) had their best batting seasons, Sudireddy missing out by two runs. Puli pushed on with two fifties, Dubey equalled that and A. Ahmed, Chatharaju, Parvathaneni and the captain (one each) scored quickly once they got their eye in. Newcomer Nagpal, Kumar and S. Patel scored vital runs. There were two record stands: 156* Dubey/Kota (second wicket v. Salix) and 120 Sudireddy/Chatharaju (eighth wicket v. New Romney). Opponents matched Gents’ six century partnerships and notched four individual tons.

 

H. Patel struggled with injury but 26 wickets was his best return since 2011. Chatharaju, 15 of whose 21 wickets were top three batsmen, Dubey (never has he bowled more overs or played as many games), Kota and Nagpal went for under five and Gulati 3.91. Kumar, Parvathenini, R. Patel, S. Patel and Puli delivered some excellent spells. Dhatric showed promise and was the best bowler on the Kent tour. Krishna began well but did not play after 2 July. Dutta showed promise before suffering terrible injury. The bowlers sometimes struggled on true wickets and could not discover a piece of magic to make the breakthrough. Sudireddy’s 18 catches is the highest ever, but the standard of outfielding was down a notch on 2022. Effort was never lacking, as exemplified by J. Patel who despite injury covered every blade of grass in the cause. Parvathaneni and Puli both executed three fine run outs.

 

Four new opponents were welcomed: Merton Hawks, London Itinerants, John Buckner XI and Hampstead, while a fifth, Chaddleworth, was rained off, as were Byfleet and Hook and Southborough. These fixtures will be renewed in 2024. The wins against Fighting Stars and St Anne’s Allstars, and the loss to New Romney were classics, a happy conjunction of well-matched teams at the top of their form. Gents held off a brave chase from Fighting Stars, the game swinging on a wonderful Nagpal catch in front of the sightscreen by the tennis courts, just as New Romney kept their nerve to shade the Gents after the heroism of captain and vice-captain. The tense St Anne’s clash waxed and waned all afternoon.

 

The season began with three disappointing batting performances and three losses, the worst start since 2015. The arrival of warmer weather heralded improvement with seven wins and one abandonment. A narrow defeat to Whalers and it was back on the winning trail with four further victories, including a rare double over Northfields, and a further abandonment. The batting of Mpingwe and Millfields then proved too strong. A win against Lydd and an epic loss against New Romney, both games played in draining heat, constituted a relaxing weekend in Kent, the generous welcome being an experience to savour over the winter. There was just time for Salix in a T20 to avenge their earlier defeat.

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