The game against Catford and Cyphers was a good test for the 5th Team. They had won their first two games and on a lovely day we faced them at Sydenham High School.
We were hampered from the start as the “no umpire” rule was imposed and the Catford captain chose to bowl first. We probably would have chosen to bowl and will be trying to get an umpire in place so we are not impacted throughout the season. If anyone has a contact or friend who would like to be part of a very friendly team then please let Tim Brown know.
We had lost a few batsmen upwards in selection Aled, Tarun and Manish and lost two more in Alan Edwards and Tom Bale to the 4s as late call ups again blighted the week. So with Veryan unavailable we had a very changed batting line up. It showed to start with as David Straker, Jesse Johnson and Simon Jones all departed reasonably early. Mahesh Nair (34) and Sam Taylor with an aggressive and stylish 51 then took the attack back to the opposition. At that stage a total over 200 and closer to 230 looked possible. However as soon as we started thinking that they both fell and apart from a few from Simon Bailey and a few hearty swings of the willow from Peter Black (32) the rest of the line up subsided and we failed to bat our 46 overs. We were 9 overs short which the opposition greedily picked up. 187 on the board and on a wicket that was difficult to score particularly with pace off the ball. We were in with chance.
Mangal Nasiri and Peter Black opened the bowling and although a bit expensive each picked up a wicket. At 2 down,and the score creeping up, both openers tired and the pace off option was chosen with David Hawes (any mention of his similarity with Matt Craig purely coincidental) and Stefan Begg taking up the challenge. David bowled really tightly (7 overs 1 for 15) and the rate was pegged back. Stefan looked much more confident than last week (5 overs none for 17) but was still pushing a number of deliveries down the leg side which were being called as wides. The umpire was tough but he had been consistent for both sides.
At Drinks they were three down and over half way to the target. Tim brought himself on for one of his consistent spells (2 for 24), a couple were over pitched and a good young batsmen dispatched them to the boundary but then a stumping and a good catch from Simon Bailey as two more wickets were winkled out. Mangal was brought back from the other end and the distinctive slope on the square caught him out and a few too many extras were given away. One more wicket to Mangal and a change of ends brought one more just after the new Catford Bat had been dropped off Tim at Deep Cover first ball. Simon Bailey was on as 6th bowler but not able to break through. Mangal ended up with 4 for 48 the most likely wicket taker but also likely to go for a few runs.
Seven down and getting close you have to say Catford batted better than we did and we only got the 8th wicket just before they won. 20 points to them and 12 to us which is probably a fair reflection on the balance of play. We were not outclassed, if we had batted our overs even without the extra runs it would have been very tight. So C&C have 3 wins as do two other sides in the comp and we play one of them Bromley Common at Dulwich Sports Ground next week.