Runs, wickets and fielding dismissals to date are:
Runs Kota 479, Karnekanti 257, S. Patel 175, Chatharaju 173, Puli 168, Sudireddy 119, Namilikonda 117, A. Ahmed 113, Dubey 112, Kumar 109
Wickets Krishna 21, Kumar 14, H. Patel 12, Namilikonda 10
Ct./St. Sudireddy 10/4, Kota 8/1, Puli 7
When Aamir Ahmed executed a perfect late cut on to his stumps against Holtwhites, he became only the second Gent to be dismissed under Law 35 (Hit Wicket). The charming young Philadelphian Zachary Bowden (above) was the first, against Alexandra Park in 2016.
Such dismissals are quite common in Tests with disintegrating bats, flying gloves and falling headgear gloriously represented. The great Inzamam-ul-Haq suffered this fate after falling on his stumps trying to sweep Monty Panesar in 2006.
Particularly hard done by was Alan Revill of Derbyshire who was hit by a lifter from Alec Bedser at the Oval in 1953. He shook his hand in pain and his glove flew off, hit the stumps, and dislodged a bail. The umpire though that Revill was still “playing at the ball” and he was given out.
Law 37 (Obstructing The Field) saw the demise of Horace Hibbert against Swinging Googlies in 2016, the batsman intercepting s return throw with his bat in order to deny a run out. The only man given out under this Law in a Test was Len Hutton in 1951 against South Africa.
Gents games await a dismissal under Law 40 (Timed Out), though Dhruv Patel, with his lost equipment and urgent errands to be attended to at home must have tempted many an opponent to appeal for such.
Pavan Kota’s 122* was his second century (both are in the top 10) and his club HS. Here are the club’s top individual scores:
158* S. Jones v. West XI (Gunnersbury Park 21.7.02)
143* N. Husain v. New Barbarian Weasels (Fairfield RG 7.7.07)
137* M. Ashton v. Enterprise (Victoria RG 10.5.92)
131* J. Small v. St Anne’s Allstars (Boston Manor PF 7.6.15)
128 R. Lall v. London Saints (Old Haberdashers CC 14.8.11)
126 G. Wright v. Clapham In (Crown Taveners CC 2.9.12)
122* P. Kota v. Holtwhites Trinibis(Holtwhites Hill 12.9.21)
114* S. Desai v. Close PF (Old Tenisonians CC 28.6.15)
111 G. Cloete v. London Saints (Old Tenisonians CC 18.5.14)
110 P. Kota v. Battersea Eagles (Old Tenisonians CC 22.7.18)
With successive scores of 84* and 122* Kota overhauled Nabeel Husain in the Most 50s list. At first we thought that he had overtaken Ashton but he needs three more to equal him. It is of interest that Ashton didn’t start his Gents career till he was 32 and scored six 50s after he was 40. Most scores of 50 or more:
31 S. Patel
25 M. Ashton
22 P. Kota
20 N. Husain
17 J. Wright
13 V. Basker
10 S. Kumar, J. Small
9 N. Dubey, D. Patel
Gents 275-8 (40.0) (Kota 122*, Pingili 27, S. Patel 23, Jones 3-19,
D. Wilkes-Green 3-40) beat Holtwhites Trinibis 185-8 (40.0) (Smith 46*,
Evans 32, J. Wilkes-Green 28, Ebbs 23) by 90 runs
Pavan Kota made his highest score of 122* (14 fours and two sixes) and with excellent support from the tail led Gents to a convincing victory amid a charged atmosphere. He batted all but 17 balls of the innings and hit 14 fours and two six in compiling the club’s seventh highest score. Holtwhites’ reply was at first frenetic but latterly very attractive and had Smith batted ten overs earlier it might have been very close.
Davis opened the bowling and conceded five no balls off the first delivery: extras would go on be second top scorer. When he pitched them though he was dangerous and he castled H. Patel in the third over. Kumar and Kota then hurried things along, but three wickets – Kumar, Gulati and Shaikh – fell on 37 as Jones turned his off-spin, Tew obliging twice at first slip. Kota was then 8*. Stands of 57 with S. Patel, 28 (Ahmed), 39 (Sudireddy), 79 (Pingili, his 27 being a club personal best) and 35* (Puli) then put Gents into a strong position, though D. Wilkes-Greene had deserved success with his left-arm slows. The batsmen were rampant, 177 coming in the second 20 overs. Kota as usual scored heavily with his cuts and glances but as he moved through the 60s and 70s he essayed some magnificent pulls and drives. He batted fluently, ran well and gave no chances.
Drama was condensed into the first over of the reply, bowled by Gulati. Tew hooked an opening aerial no ball for four, cover-drove the second for another and clipped the fourth to mid-wicket Pingili who took a neat low catch. We then had a dot, an enormous pull for six over square-leg and that, for a five ball over, was pretty good value for the spectators. Kumar bowled Davis before the captain and Ebbs added 46 in eight overs. Gulati, finding some extra pace, and Shaikh, with a jugging caught and bowled, saw them off.
At drinks Holtwhites were 99-4 (Gents had been 98-5 at the same point). Every batsman got in but the Gents bowled tightly, Shaikh, Karnekanti and H. Patel carding a combined 19-5-50-3. Patel went 17 balls without conceding a run. Young Evans played some good shots and the injured Smith found batting easy, taking Pingili for four successive fours in a powerful cameo but the overs ran out. It was a dignified reply by the hosts when they might have folded and the visotors never looked like dismissing them, such were the quality of the wicket and the resolve of the batsmen.
Controversy again stalked the land. Holtwhites were convinced they had Kota caught behind on 81 and lbw a few overs before. Umpire Ahmed is honest and experienced and declined both appeals, but relations between the teams became tense. “What goes around comes around,” muttered an opponent to the Gents’ scorer at the interval and certainly the umpiring in the second innings seemed partial though the Gents rose above it. It was a shame that the hosts refused to clap Kota’s ton or shake hands after the match. There was no post-match socialising.
Millfields 201 (35.0) (C. Cooper 74, Prowse 35, Collis 26, Krishna 4-32) lost to Gents 204-4 (31.2) (Kota 84*, Sudreddy 55*) by 6 wickets
When the Gents stood nervously at 83-4 off 17 overs, Millfields were favourites to avenge their heavy defeat one year before, but the first hundred partnership in 24 games led Gents to a memorable win. Kota (eight fours) and Sudireddy (six fours and a six) were imperious in their 86 balls together and the hosts had six wickets and 22 balls in hand when victory was gained at a quarter to seven. It was the club’s third-highest winning total batting second and only the fourth of 200 or more. None saw fewer wickets lost. The game also saw the first wickets for Raj Patel and Puli. The result ties the rubber at 3-3.
The match was a triumph for the groundsman Mr Pope who provided a green-tinged but completely true wicket and a fast, shorn outfield. The adjacent strip had yielded 377 runs 24 hours before and not a single ball misbehaved. Millfields included their usual match-winners – Tom Collis (scores of 80, 150* and 66* at an average of 296, the only bowler to dismiss him being Jonny Small with a caught Bocha) and paceman Cian Cooper. Neither played in 2020 but returning was paceman Sam Lachlan who famously cartwheeled Ahmed’s stumps, though the shoulder injury sustained in that game has prevented his bowling in 2021 as he awaits surgery.
On a hot, slightly misty day with no wind Millfields were delighted to bat first. Gents debuted Krishna’s colleagues from the freshly-promoted Old Isleworthians and Heston 3s, Vijay Babu (565 runs this season) and Prithvi Ravula. David Roy from the same club was loaned to Millfields, who had suffered a Saturday withdrawal. Krishna it was of course who first brokered this fixture in 2016.
The lanky Ravula and Krishna (37 wickets in 2021 for OI and Gents going into this game) took the new ball and were steady against a sound opening pair. A run out broke the stand, both openers ending in mid-pitch before Pingili cleanly gathered the ball and threw in to the ’keeper who removed a bail. Unfit to bowl, his fielding was brilliant.
First change Raj Patel then struck twice with two big wickets, an outswinger finding the edge of Collis’ bat and Lachlan playing on. At 17-over drinks, Millfields were 70-3. Prowse clipped Kumar’s third ball to cover, 101-4 but by now the powerful Cooper was well set.
In just 17 overs at the crease his 74 (five fours and three sixes) threatened a huge total. But slowly, and benefiting from hard work and wise bowling changes, the Gents restored parity. Roy sliced to slip Khan and Hendry holed out to long on Pingili. Cooper himself fell to another superb Pingili catch in the deep off Krishna, whose second spell was inspired. He took three wickets in the final over off which just one run came and he ended with 4-32.
Ahmed reckoned 201 to be par. The captain put some finishers down the order and took first strike. A full-toss pulled for four and a drive to mid-off was good for the run rate if not the blood pressure of the supporters, and a spectacular and actually quite elegant bat hurl was the result. Kota was assured, clipping his ones and twos, and had good support from Karnekanti and Ahmed, though Babu fell early.
At 17 overs, Gents were 83-4, the spinner Shaz turning the ball and snaffling two, Kota 31*, exactly seven per over needed. Sudireddy is an intelligent, strong and fit cricketer with perfect eyesight. But it is not unfair to say that his shot selection at the start of the innings is apt to be potty. Sanjay Patel had addressed this matter the day before and it was a focused Sudireddy who went out. The pair played Cooper securely enough but his fiery spell perhaps deserved greater reward.
The fours began to flow, allied to superb running. Sudireddy drove three successive fours in Cooper Sr.’s first over, the 21st of the innings, 19 coming off it. The required run rate was down to a manageable 5.6 and there were powerful batsmen to come, but the pair were keen to see the job through. The runs flowed and Millfields were powerless to stop them but they fought the good fight till the end. A brisk appeal for lbw against Kota was declined and he gave a half-chance on 42 but otherwise the batsmen had it all their own way.
Aamir Ahmed put in much effort to arrange the facilities, including running the bar afterwards, in which he was introduced to such concepts as a half of bitter and a lager top. Support from House colleagues who had attended the MDL final at Richmond CC was also appreciated.
Squirrels 191-9 (35) (Glavina 36, Scott 28, Alexander 27, Hues 24, H. Patel 3-37) beat Gents 127 (31.1) (Puli 27, Hues 5-15) by 64 runs
Today was always going to be unusual, writes Naveed Khan. A Saturday game. A charity match with a trigger-happy Master of Fines. A guest scorer. A September fixture giving you a shorter day and leaving you even more at the mercy of the weather. So many new variables and so many opportunities for havoc. The start did not disappoint.
Hemin Patel vehemently instructed players from both teams to arrive early so that a 12pm start could be strictly adhered to. The scene above at greeted the first arrivals. Not just one kids’ football match being played on the cricket pitch, but two, one of which was a league match featuring two local teams. Along with all the parents and toddlers and their various paraphernalia, including deck chairs, camping chairs, tricycles with stabilisers and picnics. Some of whom actually camped on the wicket itself. Apparently the council had double booked us all. A conversation with the football coach ascertained they were scheduled to play until 12:30pm. He was very understanding of our situation and agreed to rush through half-time and vacate the field of play as quickly as possible. True to his word, we were able to start our match at 12:40pm precisely.
Patel won the toss and elected to field. Theo Snelling started with an impeccable line and length resulting in a maiden. His new-ball partner, Maff Gilkes had a sharp catch put down by first slip on his second delivery. Squirrels’ captain, Glavina, and his opening partner, Aldridge, then started to play their shots and their opening stand of 27 came in just 5.1 overs. Aldridge in particular was hitting the ball very cleanly and having dispatched Gilkes Jr. for a straight boundary had his middle stump completely uprooted the following over by a jaffa from the young pace bowler. Ashcroft arrived at the crease and added a further 29 with his skipper before being caught behind by the ever-reliable gloves of Sudireddy off Pentakota, who bowled two disciplined overs as first change before being put to the sword by No. 4 Scott, in his third over, four of his five boundaries coming in the unlucky 13th. Scott’s positive approach seemed to encourage skipper Glavina who then started to open his shoulders more freely and at 81-2 after 14 overs, Hemin introduced the evergreen Dhruv Patel. The day’s highest partnership (42) was broken when Dhruv had Scott smartly stumped by Sudireddy in his second over. Two balls later, Hemin bowled Glavina for 36, the day’s highest score, and in his next over had Shepherd lbw. At drinks, Squirrels were 103-5 off 20 overs and the Gents team were feeling a little bit more energised by those three quick wickets.
Hemin and Dhruv continued to bowl with control and discipline, making Holmes and Hues work hard for every run. Hemin trapped Holmes lbw in his fifth over, bringing Alexander to the crease. This seemed to awaken something in Hues who started to find the boundary with more regularity. The scoring rate, healthy throughout the innings, then started to accelerate, 14 runs coming off Hemin’s sixth over. Once both Dhruv and Hemin had completed their allotted seven overs, guest Petluru took the pace off the ball and the run rate. Sanjay Patel clean bowled Hues, for an excellent 24, with his very first delivery and Squirrels were 165-7 at the 30-over mark. Now the last few overs of an innings can be a little frantic as batsmen get more daring and unorthodox in an attempt to accumulate as many as possible. The last five overs here were definitely action-packed. Petluru had Alexander caught behind for a brisk 27. Chase managed to edge a Sanjay beamer onto his head and had to leave the field (reluctantly and still smiling it must be said) as the blood poured from his scalp. While this mayhem was going on, teenage Chapman pushed the ball into gaps, snuck byes and found the boundary to finish unbeaten. Theo returned to close the innings and had Bateman caught by Puli off the final ball to leave the Squirrels 191-9 off their 35.
Tea was taken quickly and within 20 minutes Pentakota and Karnekanti strode out to the middle with a required run rate of 5.49 for victory. Shepherd bowled with great skill, pace and control but no luck at all in his quest for wickets. His four overs yielded just three runs off the bat. He was wonderfully supported by Bateman who had Karnekanti caught behind for 11 by Scott in his third over. Both teams spookily losing their first wicket in the sixth over for an opening partnership in the twenties. A heavily-bandaged Chase started with a no-ball beamers but then bowled almost as miserly as the man he replaced. The runs started to dry up and the watchful Pentakota was cleaned bowled in Chase’s third. Raj Patel joined Puli at the crease and attempted to inject some impetus with some sharp running between the wickets. The two Gents had to fight for every run and put on the joint-highest partnership of the innings with 33. However, the introduction of Hues in the 17th would have a catastrophic impact on the Gents’ scorecard. He bowled Puli for 27 in his second over and then snaffled up both Raj and Sudireddy in his third. Richard Gilkes top-edged Chapman in the next before Hues struck another double whammy by removing Sanjay Patel and Theo Snelling in his fourth. From 76-2 the Gents had their entire middle order ripped out, sliding to 86-8 in the 23rd.
Enter Gilkes Jr. who decided he was going to fight fire with fire. From the first ball he showed clear intent and despite losing partner Petluru (lbw to Holmes) two overs later he continued to find the gaps, pushing a creaking (and at times complaining) Dhruv Patel to scamper through for ones and twos. At 94-9 and needing another 98 for an improbable (we don’t use the word impossible) victory, the Squirrels skipper decided to literally give everyone a bowl, regardless of their ability. The number of wides and no balls increased dramatically and a now well-set Gilkes started to find the boundary. A thirsty Glavina then decided to bring back opening bowler Bateman along with the excellent Chase, who had Dhruv caught off the first ball of his second spell to end an innings' joint-highest partnership of 33. Gilkes not out on 17. The Gents 127 all out in the 32nd over.
An action-packed game featuring some top-class batting, bowling and fielding, bloopers, bumpers, beamers, bashed heads, dropped catches and a boundary-saving slide by Aldridge that would not have been out of place in the Hundred.
The after party at the local pub lasted nearly as long as the match itself and featured Master of Fines, Hemin Patel, in a ruthless (charitable) mood. As per tradition, the Squirrels included us in their post-match ritual of awards and forfeits. Special mention to Ken Toft who came along to support the Gents both on the field and in the pub. Special mention to Sanjay Patel who kindly brought along and set up a table and chair for yours truly to score the match in comfort. Stuart Snelling was present throughout the proceedings, loudly cheering on the team. Katie and kids were also vocal supporters, especially during Gilkes Jr’s innings and were generous donors to the charity collections in the pub afterwards.
Personally I thoroughly enjoyed being involved in a Gents fixture with Sanjay, Hemin, Richard, Dhruv, Stuart and Ken, all of whom warmly welcomed me to the club back in 2007. I think days like these are priceless opportunities for current Gents to see first-hand the guys that helped mould the club ethos and identity. I hope it inspires the current crop of talented cricketers and excellent human beings to be brave, be bold and create their own places in Gents folklore. You are the future of the club, its destiny lies in your hands.
A wonderful day spent with wonderful people.
And now Squirrels report. Chummy nicknames incoming...
The series is level at 2-2 with a comfortable win for an uncharacteristically strong Squirrels side.
The Squirrels were excited to be reunited at Surbiton for what is always a great fixture against the Gents, though it was a shame to see Wayne was again absent. Morale was bolstered however by the unprecedented and eyebrow-raising experience of looking at a teamsheet packed with actual quality.
The pleasant news that our pitch wasn’t ready for us yet further buoyed spirits allowing for a relaxed start to the game, catching up with dear friends, having some tiggies and admiring Pedalo’s new calves. The skipper strode over to the middle to take the toss, whilst avoiding the 400 football-booted little leaguers tearing up the square, and made the first of a series of errors that on any other day would’ve seen him authoring the match report.
Having clearly stated that we wanted to chase Glove proceeded to lose the toss and bat. However, two brave volunteers answered the call and stepped in to open, on what was an extremely green and somewhat furrowed square. The bespectacled Aldridge (for it was me) strode out to the middle after his seventh pre game wee, giving off an air of confidence and lemon juice. At length he was joined by Glavina who took an age to get ready, and face the first ball. In an uncharacteristically robust opening partnership Glavina rotated the strike nicely and Aldridge punched some authoritative boundaries down the ground. The vast outfield meant some strong running was needed from the FD ambassadors and the high performance coach, even though absent, must take some credit for the run rate.
Despite looking set Aldridge was bowled by one that nipped back, sending out the Wizard to the crease who breezily kept momentum going with some powerful hits to some radical areas. A flying visit from the Clive, who had left his house five hours earlier telling Chaz he was just popping out for some milk, was cut short as he realised that far from watching the usual SCC debacle he was watching something of a batting masterclass. Pashcroft eventually departed making way for Scotty, who dealt only in sumptuous boundaries all around the ground, while at the other end Glavina moved serenely into the 30s with some measured clips into midwicket. There was a very real and genuine danger of him looking like an actual cricketer. Needless to say there was still time for the attempted reverse sweeps (targeting the short boundary apparently).
Scotty eventually was stumped, punishing himself for missing the ball by not attempting to remake his ground even when he might have done; “It was a shit shot, I deserved to be out”. Glavina was eventually bowled bringing two new bats (Holmes and Shepherd) to the crease.
Shep unfurled one of the finest lunge forward defences since pre-Aldridge-knee-injury days, causing me to become misty eyed with pride and nostalgia. This thankfully didn’t cause me to miss the controversy that followed shortly after. Given correctly lbw to the boisterous opposition skipper, from what I could see, Shep returned to his crease to give what I would describe as a historical re-enactment docu-series of how events unfolded before begrudgingly slinking off to the boundary, done for by the low bounce. After a cursory de-brief with the team (“Should never have played back”) he selflessly went to his car by himself for the rest of the innings so he could keep us up to date with the test match score.
There was plenty of batting to come, with Holmes, Peds and Ted all accumulating well and running hard when the boundary proved to be too far to reach, keeping the pressure on the fielders all the time, causing misfields. This complimented a wonderfully characteristic innings from Ron who swiped a blistering 24 off 20. It was all extremely unusual to see batting performances all the way down the card. There was even time for some drama late on as Chasey hit a shoulder high beamer (inexplicably not called as a no ball by Glavina at square leg) into his receding hairline and had to be given medical assistance by the quite well refreshed St John’s Ambulance-men aka Holmes and Ashcroft who looked like they’d been swigging the antiseptic: 191 looked to be a very good score.
The sight of the claret flowing freely and Chasey done up in a tourniquet like John Terry Butcher fired up the Squirrels bowling attack who took to the field, following a superb match tea, probably the greatest in SCC history, of triple cheeseburgers and nuggets. Poor on the sauces though and Scotty really should have been in the running for TFC for that, and I think he knew it, hence slinking off from the pub early.
So off we went, and it was a good contest early on. Shep was aggressive from one end, JB getting some good movement from the other with pressure maintained in the field by some terrific keeping from Scotty. The unusual bounce caused him to wear more than one on the soft fleshy bit in his groinal region (which extends down to just above the knee). On a slow low pitch though the batsmen hung in, managing to hit straight down the ground when the ball was overpitched, but eventually the breakthrough came as JB got some good carry through to the keeper. Even though a good partnership followed between Pentakota and Puli the rate was creeping up, and the score seemed to be getting away from the Gents as boundaries proved to be extremely hard to come by. First Chasey, then Peds and Ted came in with some fine bowling and figures to match but then that pressure was capitalised on by a breathless spell of bowling from the Wiltshire Windmill himself, harvesting the middle order with some relentless stump-to-stump bowling – the first SCC five-fer in many a year.
By now thoughts turned to the pub, with the game secure but there was still time for some useful overs from the batters to have a bowl- Glavina, Holmes, Ashcroft trotted in with their varying unorthodox styles- and everyone was delighted to witness an actual mental breakdown that threatened the previously-thought-to-be-impregnable-most-balls-in-an-over-record held by ex-patriate Squirrel Hutchinson. R.
Following that debacle I even managed to drop an absolute sitter, just to ensure voting later on was entirely uncontroversial. The pub ensued, a marvellous return to the Gribbling Fox, millions of beers, the opposition hilariously but apparently genuinely asking if we were a League cricket team*, one of the most exhilarating games of fives ever witnessed, the Wizard explaining to OHMSS Jonny Bateman that magic actually exists, anchovy and jalapeno pizzas and tremendous and existential hangovers the following day.
Champagne moment- The delivery that got me out, apparently…
Dick of the Day- Chasey smashing the ball into his own head.
MOM- Rob Hues – genuine all-rounder (and let’s not forget the astonishing catch in the warm up) (notable mention too for Peds)
TFC- Good evening
*and saying that our openers had the best technique of any batters they have faced…. How do you keep a straight face when someone is genuinely saying that to you? No professionals.
Gents 155-7 (37.1) (A. Ahmed 77*, S. Patel 29, Kota 20) beat Mpingwe 154-8 (40.0) (Nayeem 38, Ilyas 33) by 3 wickets
The final Old Tenisonians game of 2021 was a cracker, with Aamir Ahmed’s epic 77*, a club personal best with ten fours and a six, propelling Gents to a win by 3 wickets with 17 balls to spare. Fortunes oscillated all day. Mpingwe, deputising again for Battersea Eagles, put up a par score on a slow wicket after being reined back before the hosts recovered after early pace-inspired mayhem. Indeed, the visitors’ first three bowlers were the fastest faced this season with the young left-armer Whahab proving a particular handful.
Despite the pace of Raj Patel and Krishna’s usual clever variations the first 20 overs of the day were Mpingwe’s, though Pingili struck twice in successive overs to remove the hard-hitting Afghani Maruf and his captain. Nayeem and Aftab were composed. At mid-innings drinks Mpingwe stood at 81-2 with hopes of 200 but were frustated by the bowled-through pair Kumar and H. Patel who shared 3-54 in 16 overs. There were good catches from Kota running round from gully and Karnekanti applying cool judgement to a skyer at long-off. The team fielded tirelessly, Raj Patel putting in a tremendous shift in the deep and pitching his huge throws into Puli’s gloves. Gents were tight on extras, in contrast to Mr Ahmed’s Wycombe House 2s who conceded 39 the day before in Ealing Trailfinders 2s’ winning 117-2.
Karnekanti, Puli and Kumar fell before eight overs were out and the hosts were in the mire. But while there is Kota (now with Krishna a proud member of Old Isleworthians and Heston 1s) there is hope and he batted with exemplary technique for 17.3 overs. At his dismissal caught in the gully off spinner Batti’s second ball Ahmed stood quietly at 9*, having been dropped on 6, and Gents were 37-4 needing 5.2 runs per over. Sanjay Patel entered the fray and the fortunes of the Gents were about to take a turn for the better.
Patel and Ahmed smashed 66 in just 68 balls. The stand was full of dashing strokeplay and top-notch running, and when Patel fell for 29 the run rate needed had plummeted to 3.5. Pingili batted calmly and 45 came for the sixth wicket in 37 balls as Ahmed accelerated, the day’s only six clearing sightscreen, trees and the groundsman’s wall. It was the shot of the year (Dino Francis’ destruction of the Paulin Ground sightscreen took the accolade in 2020) and, for skill, guts and stamina, the innings the best of the year.
The job was done when Pingili was out and though Mpingwe got Raj Patel with the scores level, it only remained for Ahmed to push the winning single at the refreshingly early hour of 6.35pm, which was testament to the slick over rates delivered by the bowlers, a credit to their skippers all of them. Late finishes are no fun on dark early-autumn evenings. It had been an even game of high quality and the 2022 clashes will be much looked forward to. Mpingwe are a fun, reliable and talented opposition and we thank Khalid Harris of Battersea Eagles who brokered the fixture as he deemed that his own Sunday 2s might be too weak to play the Gents. Harris is a saint.
Bricklayer's Arms 131-8 (35) (Foister 25, Krishna 3-14) drew with Gents 102-2 (28.4) (Kota 31, Karnekanti 22, Puli 21*)
A petulant game was abandoned with Gents needing 30 runs to win off 38 balls with eight wickets in hand. They were slight favourites (DLS had them seven runs ahead) but we’ll never know. Trouble had been simmering all day and finally kicked off in Mamoon’s sixth over when he exploded after being called wide and having an appeal for lbw rejected on height. For what it’s worth, fielders square of the wicket thought the lbw call fair. Mamoon didn’t and unleashed a volley of foul language at the umpire and batsman, followed by a melee, wise intervention by captain Dubey and a 20 minute delay. By then the rain that had threatened for the previous two hours was falling proper hard and after four balls of Poulter’s fourth over the players left the field, never to return. Not a good day out for anybody.
What about the game itself? It was an even contest played on a slow, true wicket with a huge, lush outfield. Given this, Brick’s 131-8, based around veteran captain Foister’s 25 off 77 balls, was par. He was clearly run out but the umpire was unsighted. Gents seamers were on the money and Krishna and Gulati, serious bowlers in such conditions, were excellent. Seven batsmen made double figures but the fielding up well in the wind and poor light. Dangerman Lall was run out after being sent back by the captain, treating spectators to a vigorous, passionate debrief, by no means the last of the innings. Kota and Khan were among the wickets. Only eight fours were struck all innings: Gents would manage just half that as even lustly lofted drives stopped on landing.
The chase was executed sensibly. Dubey chose the club’s most prolific two batsmen, Kota and Karnekanti, to open and they put up 52 in 16.4 overs. It was a welcome return to form for Kota after 33 in his previous five knocks, accompanied in several cases by bizarre ill-fortune. They both fell within three overs but Krishna and Puli simply carried on, and with more vibrant running the target hove into view before the dramas.
The two Brick games this season were only the 23rd and 24th abandoned in 622 matches over 34 seasons. The first game of 1.4 overs was the shortest abandoned game ever: the above at 63.4 overs the longest. Here we must wheel forward our favourite cliché: the games were fascinatingly poised. When the rains came in 1998, Gents were 16-1 off seven overs against Sunderland SC on 1 August and 22 days later 57-3 off eight against British Gas, these being the previous shortest.
Gents 205-8 (40.0) (Kulasingam 38, Ilangakoon 33, Chatharaju 28, S. Patel 26*, Kakan 3-28, Rumbold 3-49) lost to Clapham In 206-5 938.5) (Ferreira 97, Williams 43, O'Connell 24) by 5 wickets
Riaan Ferreira’s composed 97 led Clapham In to victory in a good-spirited game. It was the visitors’ second win in this rubber in the last three years and the Gents’ first defeat on this ground in their sixth match. So much for statistics; of greater importance is that the club honoured the fixture, pulling in four Salix players to supplement the six members available, others playing in a T20 day in Watford.
Captain Patel was keen to involve the guests, three of whom he knew well, so his batting order came as no surprise: nor did the consistent quality of Clapham’s attack who found good lines on a slow, true track. After the fall of two wickets in the second and third overs, Ilangakoon and Khan batted brightly. Indeed, the middle and lower order came up trumps again as a perilous 100-6 at 20-over drinks was uplifted to a competitive 205-8 after sterling work by batsmen 6-10. This has been a recurrent theme in 2021 and at the time of writing the average partnerships for the seventh and eighth wickets (30 and 21) are higher than any of the second to sixth. Kulasingam top-scored and hit the day's only six, adding 58 with the reliable, mature Chatharaju; Salix team-mate Ilangakoon was dropped on 4 and hit a lively 33; Raj Patel hit four good boundaries; and the duo of Aslam/S. Patel put up 49 in the final eight overs. A fair if not insuperable target of 205 was therefore set.
The reply was immaculate. Left-hander Ferreira’s third 50 against the Gents was its anchor and he gave only one chance, when well set on 51. Fellow southpaw O’Connell provided solid support before falling an over before No.3 Miller. Kulasingam and Aslam then applied the brakes and it was 66-2 at drinks, 140 needed at exactly seven. Williams then set about Namilikonda and H. Patel with vigour, and betting exchanges had Clapham In as 52:48 favourites.
Ferreira, who hit 13 fours, was playing the bowling easily enough but he needed support after the fall of Williams. Lynch provided it briefly but his dismissal only let in captain Frecknall, who put bat to ball hard. Clapham In moved remorselessly towards their stiff target and Ferreira looked on for a century. The scorer thought he had it in the penultimate over, but no, it was four byes. He then fell caught at slip before Royal saw his side home. Raj Patel bowled immaculately.
We thank Wycombe House CC for honouring the Gents’ booking when they had a postponed MDL quarter-final to host. They swapped to Barnes CC and won so all ended well. The facilities were spot on and Vasi Shaikh kindly returned to open the bar, so the Gents were able to toast their victors, who could lubricate their own fines session.
The Gents, with a talented side, did little wrong but were slightly outplayed by a strong, well-led but above all friendly opposition. Thanks to captain Dubey and Chandra Puli for support. A good day out.
The soggy cancellations of Kempton on 1 August and Northfields today were the fourth and fifth of the season. At the time of writing, rain has ruined a third of our scheduled matches and annoyingly has come in two clusters of weekends which has destroyed team planning. Monks recorded the equally-dismal 2007 campaign in illuminated manuscripts. They wrote of five cancellations and the abandonment of the second West XI match (they were 82-5 with Hemin Patel bowling wonderfully).
The 2013 campaign saw four games lost, two to the weather and two because BBC Misfits (well named, what a shower of ungrateful twats they were) and Swinging Googlies folded, Googlies for good. A year before, four were rained off, one of which was rescheduled, while Gents folded against 12 Angry Men.
The abandonment of Bricklayer’s Arms away after ten balls was only the 23rd in 34 seasons and our shortest game ever. When the rains came in 1998, Gents were 16-1 off seven overs against Sunderland SC on 1 August and 22 days later 57-3 off eight against British Gas. Brick were 8-0 off 10 balls so here we must wheel forward our favourite cliché: the game was fascinatingly poised.
Everyone is frustrated but everyone is trying. We applaud the cheerful resourcefulness of Northfields on 23 May. Needing sawdust to dry the bowlers’ run-ups, none was available, but a deputation returned from a local pet shop with bags of bedding wood for lining rabbit cages. They also put a great deal of effort in to swapping the venue to Durston House after the usual Motspur Park biblicals.
The soggy cancellation of Kempton on 1 August was the fifth ruined by the weather this season.
Only ten balls were possible at Abbey RG as Bricklayer's Arms (10-0) and Gents were flooded out by a thousand feet of rain.
Gent 172 is published with match reports and averages up to 18 July.
Gent 171 is published with match reports and averages up to 30 May.