Match report: Cincinnati v N2, Sunday 24th May 2015, Greenwich Park

N2 doesn't go south of the River much, but when Dee Hingorani suggested a game
against one of his other teams, N2CC jumped at the chance. The match was arranged
for the Sunday of the Bank Holiday weekend - which also happened to be the skipper's
birthday! He almost didn't make it as Olga had organised a party for him, but in the
end he was allowed out to play - provided he went home quickly! Although N2 won the
toss, it was agreed that Cincinnati would bat first, hence allowing Shai to
hopefully open the batting for us so he could leave early.

Having navigated the twin demons of the North Circular Road and the Blackwall
Tunnel, the N2 contingent struggled to find a parking space in nearby Blackheath
(there was a fun-fair in town) before opting to pay to park in Greenwich Park
itself. The pitch, located a mere stone's throw (or a particularly powerfully-hit
six) from the Meridian Line, was set in tree-lined parkland with a lovely view of an
eighteenth-century manor house - after checking a map later, I can tell you that it
(Ranger's House) is located in the Western Hemisphere, while the pitch we were
playing on is in the Eastern Hemisphere!

We even had a few spectators as there were plenty of people picnicking in the park.
A rowdy family party with a disposable barbecue seemed to warm to the idea of a
cricket match going on nearby, although the guy next to the sight-screen was
somewhat less cricket-friendly (so why, we wondered, had he, with all of Greenwich
Park to choose from, opted to sit next to a sight-screen?).

A total of eight N2 men - all paid-up members, it should be noted - had made it to
Greenwich to find that the home side had agreed to let us have two of their number
for the day to make it a ten-a-side game. Sadly this did not include Faisal Abbas,
who'd opened the bowling for us last week and would now be playing against us!
Luckily, one of 'our' new players could keep wicket, which was just as well as our
regular 'keeper Newham was running late.

Cincinnati's innings began with Hingorani at the crease, but he wasn't around for
long as Wilson bowled him in his second over. Having departed, though, Dee was
quickly back on the field, having volunteered to make up our numbers until Josh
arrived. He even put the wicket-keeping pads on for a couple of overs, standing in
for the stand-in who had to go and top up the parking meter.

Down dismissed the other opener but this heralded a big partnership for the third
wicket (both batsmen ended up with fifties to their names). Several boundaries were
scored to the merriment of some spectators but at least there was no time wasted
trying to find the ball as the surroundings were well-kept and nowhere near as
overgrown as the back pitch at Mill Hill Village. The partnership was eventually
broken (caught Down, bowled Dodd) and this brought their captain to the crease; he
hung around for a while amid a couple of bowling changes until Young drew him out
of his crease for a well-taken stumping by 'keeper Ghosh Rana.

The game had started with overcast skies which became greyer as the afternoon
progresses. Light drizzle didn't do wonders for the bowlers' abilities to grip the
ball but we carried on as best we could. Bhatt brought himself back on and removed
their heavy-scoring number three batsman; by now there were only a few overs left
but there was time for another wicket as Dodd took a fine low catch at cover off
Down's bowling, a nice way of returning the favour as Down had previously taken a
catch off his bowling!

We had hoped to keep the home side to less than 200 runs and this looked to be a
do-able outcome until, as Cincinnati's innings drew to a close, a mighty six pushed
them over that particular landmark.

N2 bowling

S. Bhatt 7-1-20-1
A. Wilson 5-0-38-1
I. Down 6-0-26-2
P. Dodd 6-0-34-1
S. Dyer 4-0-15-0
Hussain 4-0-26-0
N. Young 2-0-23-1

Tea took the form of a mutton curry made by one of the home side, much appreciated
as the weather had taken a turn for the worst with most of us digging out the
long-sleeved sweaters. Grey clouds had materialised over Greenwich although the rain
never amounted to more than a persistent drizzle. It was calculated that the
required run-rate was just under six an over as openers Dyer and Bhatt walked out to
begin N2's response.

It began slowly, with both openers riding their luck - Dyer survived a close LBW
call, and Bhatt was dropped by Cincinnati's wicket-keeper (a certain D. Hingorani).
The score had crept up to nine (from four overs) when the first wicket fell - the
captain, bowled by Faisal who had opened the bowling for us last week.

This brought the first of our Cincinnati players to the crease as N2's slow and (for
the moment) steady response continued. Maybe the second helpings of mutton curry
that most of us had had weren't conducive to quick scoring? Ghosh Rana contributed
five runs off 21 balls before he too fell to leave N2 on 16 for 2. The subsequent
Dyer-Down partnership began promisingly with the ex-skipper racing to five off his
first four balls ... now we were getting somewhere! By the end of the twelfth over
the score had gone up to 26, but then came the middle-order collapse.

Faisal did the damage, removing both Dyer and Down in the same (maiden) over. Out
came Newham to the crease and he set out a statement of intent with a four - the
second of the N2 innings - off his fourth ball. But then disaster, as Cincinnati's
other opener had him caught behind, and then bowled Hussain - our other 'home'
player - off the next ball. Next man in was Andy Wilson, who'd been umpiring at the
start of the over and he had to hurriedly ditch the white coat and put his pads on,
running the risk of getting timed out before he took guard and survived the
hat-trick ball. In two overs, N2 had gone from a not-bad 26 for 2 to a
staring-defeat-in-the-face 31 for 6.

The seventh-wicket partnership of Young and Wilson opted for survival as the order
of the day, blocking and scampering the occasional bye. The fielders moved in closer
but they weren't given a chance, although Wilson did manage to find a gap in the
field to get a boundary. He survived 19 balls before falling to the oppo's spinner,
at which point drinks were taken with some marvelling at how N2's batting had
managed to survive this far.

New man Dodd quickly overtook the ultra-defensive Young in the scoring stakes but
was soon bowled which brought Robertson to the crease for the last-wicket stand.
Looking to keep the scoreboard ticking over, the batsmen went for a run after Young
swung and missed and a ball that went past the 'keeper; Robertson made it to the
striker's end but didn't ground his bat and so was given out.

Thus ended N2's rather sorry innings, byes the highest score with seven, and Young
the not-out batsman having faced more balls (26) than anyone else.

N2 batting

S. Dyer bowled 5
S. Bhatt (C) bowled 5
Ghosh Rana (W) bowled 5
I. Down bowled 6
J. Newham caught 4
N. Young not out 1
Hussain bowled 0
A Wilson bowled 4
P. Dodd bowled 2
R. Robertson run out 0

TOTAL 39

N2 LOST BY 167 RUNS

N2 Champagne Moment: Paul Dodd's catch off Ian Down's bowling, which nicely
complimented Down's catch off Dodd's bowling earlier in the innings.

Unfortunately, there was no MoM