The Exiles struggled to find eleven players on this eve of the Football Premiership climax but with the help of 15 year old Vishal Khatri who had attended a couple of winter nets, his mate Dillon Patel, another left arm seamer also 15 and Norman Beckwith (slightly older!) a New Barbarian Weasel on loan for the day we managed it. The toss was lost and the Exiles went out to bat on a damp wicket at the very edge of the square, with a 40 yards square boundary and a 100 yards the other way. The Weasels obviously trusted William Flack not to drop his off breaks short or stray onto leg stump and he justified that faith with some accurate length bowling on the slow wicket. Owen at the other end took longer to find the line and gifted Tony Brook a crisp square drive off the back foot that hit the fence before anyone moved. Thereafter the progress was steady, with wicket keeper John Morgan making a good fist of his chance to open. Not known as a defensive bat, he took the role seriously enough to complain about regular opener Tony's vague calling. His innings was not without its lighter moments however, when he stopped consecutive short pitches from Owen first with his chest, then his box before smiting the third deep to square leg.
In the thirteenth over Tony attempted a front foot drive to Tattersdill but only succeeded in skying a catch to cover who held it. Tony out for 19. Then Morgan was caught off Flack for 16 which brought new members Faisal Ansari and Stephen Brown to the wicket. Both like to play their shots but so far this season Faisal had scored 94 runs and Stephen had only a solitary duck. Faisal made the early running but Stephen was soon driving the ball into the large vacant offside areas for twos. The scoring rate began to mount and so did Stephen's luck. The bowlers were turning grey before our eyes as Stephen repeatedly drilled the ball at fielders or nicked it past the keeper but every time the chance was spilled. Faisal was not so lucky when he found a fielder who could catch off the bowling of Dave Raderecht, the Weasels' Captain. This brought Naem Khan to the wicket whereupon you might expect a sudden flurry of boundaries from the hard-hitting all-rounder. The boundaries came, but from Stephen, who must have realised that he was invincible by now. The two put on 61 for the fourth wicket of which Naem managed nine singles and a two. Stephen moved to within one of his inaugural fifty when he was cheered prematurely by Effie, this must have given Stephen a touch of vertigo as he clammed up a little before finding the necessary single. His first fifty brought rapturous cheers from his team mates. Another "Internet Exile" comes up with the goods!
Naem was bowled in the 36th over trying to force the pace against the accurate J. Bishop who had been left out of the attack until late and suddenly came on like an opener. Irfan "Effie" Usman did a brief Ranatunga impersonation, walking singles and lofting drives and generally hogging the strike, but Stephen managed to persuade him to run even though he must have been knackered by then. Effie was bowled by the returning Owen to ironic cheers from The Exiles and Waseem had a chance to take up the cudgels for a couple of overs and managed 8 not out. Stephen finished on 56 not out, the total was 158 for 5, not enormous and very gettable if the short boundary was left vulnerable. Tea was taken in the very fetching 1930's brick pavilion with its Wisteria in full blossom and a birds nest behind the clock,
Captain Shorrock weighed up his many bowling options in a team of mostly bowlers. It would be nice to give the youngsters a twirl but not at the expense of letting the game slip away. In the event there was little chance of that as The Exiles struck immediately. In Shorrock's first over Smalldon chipped an easy catch to short leg where the helmeted Faisal made no mistake. Irfan "Effie" Usman, bowling at the other end drew a mistimed drive from Tattersdill that was lofted to Stephen Brown who failed to return the generosity he had received earlier and held the catch. In the third over Shorrock had Bishop plum lbw as he swivelled a cross-batted shot toward the tempting square leg boundary, it kept a little low, Then in Effie's next over a leg stump half-volley was flicked crisply to square leg where Dillon Patel stuck up a hand and caught it, like he was picking an apple. Exiles were cock-a-hoop, everything was going right. The Weasels rocking on 8 for 4. This brought in W Flack, quite the stoutest of the Weasels and a hard hitter who favours the cut and the pull, a potential danger man. He signalled his intentions with an airy pull shot first up. Shorrock bowled a fast off-cutter that obviously didn't sit up as Flack had expected, he flashed a pull again, got a faint bottom edge and John Morgan took the catch without fuss. Weasels now in real trouble at 8 for 5.
There was now an opportunity to allow the youngsters to have a dart without risking too much. Vishal Khatri took over from Shorrock, bowled three overs of left arm over that was respectable enough but Raderecht pulled him for six when he dropped short. Waseem Khan relieved Usman but struggled to find his best form and for once missed out on the wickets. Dillon Patel took over from Khatri and was a little quicker and more accurate when he came around the wicket. He beat the edge but didn't get any nicks. All the while Raderecht accumulated and added 75 for the sixth wicket with P. Hurley, but soon after reaching his fifty Naem Khan had him caught by Faisal. The next over Hurley was caught by Naem off Faisal to return the compliment and kill off the last hope of an unlikely Weasels victory. The tail could not cope with Ansari's nippy accuracy and his six overs cost only 2 runs and also removed Owen for a duck, caught behind.
The asking rate spiralled out of reach as Effie came back for a short spell, picking up the wicket of Jansens, after Morgan had juggled and put down an edge off a slower ball. Next ball Shorrock caught him at mid-on but feigned dropping it, just to annoy the bowler. Then Norman Beckwith had a bowl against his erstwhile team mates. He should have had a wicket too but Waseem spilled the easy chance at short midwicket. It was left to skipper Shorrock to get out his rarely used off-breaks ( a la Mike Watkinson) and only two were needed before Massey dabbed one straight at Waseem who couldn't possibly drop it. New Barbarian Weasels all out for 97. Exiles hold nine catches in an innings, a new record I'm sure!
|T Brook||Caught||E Tattersdill||19|
|J Morgan¦||Caught||W Flack||16|
|F Ansari||Caught||D Raderecht||19|
|N Khan||Bowled||J Bishop||11|
|I Usman||Bowled||J Owen||11|
Total 158 for 5 in 40 Overs
Fall of Wickets: 36-46-73-134-146
|J Bishop||lbw||P Shorrock||2|
|M Smalldon||Caught Ansari||P Shorrock||0|
|E Tattersdill||Caught Brown||I Usman||6|
|P Seddon||Caught Patel||I Usman||0|
|W Flack||Caught Morgan||P Shorrock||0|
|D Raderecht*||Caught Ansari||N Khan||51|
|P Hurley||Caught W Khan||F Ansari||17|
|J Owen||Caught Morgan||F Ansari||0|
|K Jensens||Caught Shorrock||I Usman||10|
|P Massey||Caught W Khan||P Shorrock||1|
Total 97 all out off 36.4 overs
Fall of wickets: 1-4-8-8-8-83-83-91-96-97
Result: Exiles win by 61 runs.
Next week Red Star Pandemonium at home.
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