Match report: N2 CC v Piccadilly Pitchers, Sunday 10th July 2016, Rowley Lane Sports Ground, Arkley
The covers were once again on when we turned up at Rowley Lane – it had been raining in the morning but the weather forecasts said it would brighten up. Optimism was in the air as we’d won the away fixture against today’s opponents back in June, and our contingent (a full XI, with Nirav Shah as twelfth man) was bolstered by the return of John Edwards after a few years away, and Paul Dodd and Andy Wilson making their first appearances of 2016; former treasurer Tony Kutner also turned up during our innings to offer moral support from the boundary. A 35-over match, with a limit of seven overs per bowler, was agreed upon.
Bhatt won the toss and chose to field first – perhaps mindful of what had happened the last time we’d batted first at this ground when it had been raining in the morning (we’d struggled to get boundaries on a wet outfield, following which the oppo had hit loads on a drying one). The opening combination of Edwards and Tait looked good, with the latter being particularly economical – conceding just 14 off his seven overs which included two maidens. The breakthrough came with a sharp return from Davids resulting in a run-out, followed by a top-order collapse with first-change bowler Bhatt getting two wickets in two balls and Edwards getting a wicket in his final over to put the Pitchers on 41 for 4.
There were a couple of wickets for Dodd – one caught behind, the other LBW – but a 50 partnership by a pair of hard-hitting batsmen (a right-hand, left-hand combination although the right-hander switched his stance a couple of times) for the seventh wicket which was ended when Bhatt brought himself back on and got another wicket thanks to a brilliant one-handed catch by Bolt. The Pitcher’s batsmen had a final flurry to get their innings over the 150 mark, but it ended in dramatic fashion with another run-out – one of those situations (hilarious or frustrating depending on which team you’re on) where a call went unheeded and both batsmen found themselves and the same end – and two stumpings for wicketkeeper Bolt off Shah’s bowling to ensure that the visitors’ innings ended with them on 163 all out.
J. Edwards         7-2-14-1
D. Tait              5-0-27-0
S. Bhatt             7-0-31-3
P. Dodd             7-0-36-2
R. Davids          3-0-12-0
N. Young           3-0-16-0
A. Shah             2.5-0-27-2
After a superb lunch and a quick peek at the men’s final at Wimbledon on the TV in the bar, the batting order was established and the plan for our innings set out – stick around until the last 20 overs, and then hit out in pursuit of the target with wickets in hand. Parker and Dyer got us off to a steady start which ended with Dyer out LBW for 8 in the seventh over with the score on 23; Parker followed ten runs and three overs later having reached double-figures. Number three batsman Davids hit the first (and only) six of the day, and the score had moved up to 47 by the time he was the third man out; thus far, it looked like we were on target as the visitors had been on the same score (but with less wickets in hand) after the same number of overs.
Tait and Wilson put on 15 for the fourth wicket, but after Tait went the N2 run-chase stalled, with the score remaining in the 60s for eight overs during which Wilson benefitted from numerous dropped catches; of his partners, Bolt was out for one while Edwards recorded an 11-ball duck. Wilson’s departure for 21 – N2’s top score of the day – left us needing 86 runs with seven overs left. Coming in at nine, Young hit a four off his third ball before swinging and missing at anything outside the off-stump and being sent back by Dodd after advancing most of the way down the pitch for one that went behind. After Dodd went, the tail-enders (realising that a required run-rate of almost 20 per over was a somewhat tall order) went for a safety-first approach, with Shah making sure that our score reached 90 in the last over.
D. Parker           caught               16
S. Dyer              LBW                8
R. Davids          caught               15
D. Tait              bowled              10
A. Wilson          bowled              21
E. Bolt (W)        bowled              1
J. Edwards         stumped             0
P. Dodd             bowled              1
N. Young           not out              4
A. Shah             not out              5
S. Bhatt (C)       did not bat
Extras (6 byes, 3 wides)                9

TOTAL                                     90 for 8