Sunday 22nd July 2018: HOME vs Railway Taverners Cricket Club
We arrived at our first of two Home venues this season on a glorious English Summer's day and to a very picturesque setting at the Mill Hill School pavilion.  Everything was set up for a perfect day's cricket... well apart from players of whom some were very late yet again.  However, the Captain had already won the toss and decided to bat hoping that the opposition would swelter in the heat.  A time game was agreed.

With one of our openers still nowhere to be seen and the middle order still on it's way some batting order changes were called for and it meant that Parker opened the batting with Hingorani.  Not too bad a choice!  Unfortunately for Dee though he was outdone by the second opening bowler on only his second ball for a duck and started the long walk back to the pavilion!  It is a really long walk at the best of times but here it seems much further.  Was this another bad choice by the skipper?  Anderson walked out and settled himself down facing some tight bowling.  Parker, still suffering from a toe injury in our last match against Piccadilly Pitchers, found his rhythm and hit a sweet cover drive for 4.  On this pitch if you connect and miss the fielder it was surely a four.  Both Anderson and Parker waited patiently for the bad balls and dispatched them.  Both found themselves still at the crease with one hour of the allotted time remaining and Bhatt (now umpiring after scoring the first 20 overs) called for both to swing their bats.  the plan is always to keep 9 or 10 wickets in hand when 20 overs is called so the pinch hitters can have a go.  Anderson passed his 50, Parker (42) was then out slogging one straight into the air for the keeper to catch.  Parker and Anderson had put on a brilliant 117 partnership.  Rosh Davids came out and after getting used to the pitch got into the swing but Anderson (78) alas fell to an attempted big hit which was skied.  Qasim Naqvi took time to get used to the bowling and pitch but was quick to run singles before hitting a few fours.  Davids scored a quick 17 but was bowled which brought out Fazar Ali (Naqvi).  With only a few overs left both Fazar (two sixes) and Qasim (six fours) pushed the total up from 163 for 4 to 209 even taking 16 and 20 off the last two overs.  209 for 4 off 37 overs.  A nice target for the bowlers to bowl at... Not too much for the oppo to think of only a draw and enough to allow the skipper to try different things.

A lovely and filling tea by Dee and his wife was taken in the pavilion which offered a nice break from the hot and sticky conditions.
Bhatt opened the bowling but with Yuvraj Rawat this week and Dee keeping wicket.  As Dee put it (we're about the same standard keeping but Yuvi is a better bowler).  However, it should be noted that Dee only gave away one bye and that was the first ball from the skipper which swung passed leg stump when everyone (including the umpire who said after the game "how did that first ball miss the stumps?") thought it would be the end of the match for the opening bat!   Anyway, it wasn't long before the stumps actually did fall... the last ball of the over.  Yuvi was not to be outdone, having bowled a wide and a no-ball in his first over he used the second extra ball to take out Batsman No.3's middle and leg stumps.  A period of calm followed with the batsmen playing sensibly and bowling slowly before Yuvi struck again with a similar ball and the top three were all out for 30.  Then Bhatt brought on Zafer Abbas who got a wicket with his third ball when the dangerous Hunt in at 4 mishit a drive straight to Qasim at extra cover.  Two overs later and Zafer struck again clean bowling the number 5.  N2 were bowling and, more importantly, fielding like gods and RTCC were struggling on 42 for 5 off 13 overs.  However, the RTCC skipper came in to bat and looked dangerous straight away hitting two fours off the over but Zafer struck twice more first with a straightforward LBW shout and then with a nick to the wicketkeeper although the batsman was hoping his teammate didn't see or hear it. Both Simon Dyer and Abdul Firfire came on to bowl and the field was spread to the boundary - Captain's thinking, stop the 4's and force the batsman to run between the wickets so they got tired and started to make mistakes.  Yuvi was brought back on after a few slow overs for RTCC and did exactly what was required getting the RTCC Captain with his forth ball  just like his first two wickets with the leg stump disappearing.  9 and 10 were at the crease and Yuvi struck again in his 9th over getting the dangerous No 9 to sky one to Abdul at fly slip.  I love it when a plan comes together.  With the last wicket stand trying to block out for the remaining 9 overs the skipper came on, tried some spin and then some swing but to no avail and decided it was really a day for the MOM to have a go.  Second ball of Anderson's medium pace and the batsmen tried to defend but only played it onto his off stump.

This was a perfect game of cricket for N2.  The game plan as always is to keep wickets in hand for the last hour or last 20 overs and we had nine meaning we could really swing the bat.  Fielding was superb and bowling was tight forcing mistakes from the batsmen which was all because we set a good target.  Dee was superb at keeper although I bet he is aching today and will tomorrow too!  Everyone threw their bodies on the line to stop boundaries even if sometimes it meant a mis-field.  Great team performance.

Man of the Match: Paul Anderson for his batting and his two balls!  Honourable mention to Dave Parker for his 42 and especially to Yuvraj Rawat and Zafer Abbas who both bowled brilliantly forcing batsmen to give up their wicket.
D. Parker                        - Caught 42
D. Hingorani                  - Bowled 0
P. Anderson                    - Caught 78
R. Davids                       - Bowled 17
Q. Naqvi                        - Not Out 32
F. Ali                              - Not Out 16

Extras 24
Total 209 for 4 in 37 overs

Bhatt S                                   -            8 overs – 2 maidens - 21 runs - 1 wickets
Rawat Y                                 -           11        1         34         4
Abbas Z                                  -           6          2         25         4
Dyer S                                    -           6          0         40         0
Firfire A                                 -           3          0          23        0
Anderson P                             -           0.2      0          0          1

Extras 14
Total 145 for 10 in 34.2 overs