We won the toss on a very dry, very used pitch, with 5 strong spin options in tow. I chose to bat, as it would only deteriorate, but it wasn’t easy going from the off.
We managed to start okay, collecting regular extras to got at 5 an over. The scoring was a little easier earlier on, but you never felt in and Jaedyn fell trying to force the issue 41/1. When the ‘slade’s experienced spin attack of Case and Glover came on it got tougher, Fin ran by a massive turner the leapt through his gate, Baalaaj patted back a simple catch 2nd ball which brought debutant Harry Streak to the crease. We had a useful 33 run partnership before I misjudged and we were 96/4, with Harry showing tremendous restraint against the very slow and very tricky Case. Wickets tumbled fast and we were 113/7 when Harry met Ravi and they put together a 22 run stand, before the Adam “The Kid” Ibrahim showed his cojones – utterly untroubled by their big goose overseas seamer trying to intimidate him. Adam fell to a poor shot chipping to mid wicket, but not before hanging around and contributing to another crtitcal 22 run partnership. Sadly Harry probably went a bit too hard too early and was bowled – all out 159. I thought par was about 175 out there, but this was a competitive score, it was really tough going, particularly against the spinners. So Harry’s 42 runs and occupation of the crease from 63 til 159 were huge in the context of the game.
We opened up with Jersey debutant all rounder Stan down the hill with his hooping away swingers and Ombaashi up it. Stan (1/16) struck first, a simple top edge caught Jaedyn. While Portslade’s dangerous Piper (who essentially won the game with a 50 at theirs this year) was starting to do damage, and this was a great deck for spin bowling, Ombaashi looked like getting him every over. I decided to gamble, gave Ombaashi a 4th over and he yorked him beautifully! I gambled again, gave him a 5th, he delivered an LBW, I gambled again gave him a 6th he delivered a run out, or rather Stan did – he finished 2/23) and we were spin from both ends from there. Ravi came down and bowled an absolutely superb display of turn and consistency, when a worldy flicked the off bail to take us to drinks he had bowled 4 overs for 1 wicket and no runs conceded. Baalaaj came from the other end and just did what he does – take wickets. He finished 4/44, a little expensive, but got the 2 key batters (the same Glover and Case, who always seem to come in too low). Special mention for the catching today, Jaedyn took 3, the two off Baalaaj were quite something, the first as sharp a low chance you’ll see, the latter a staggering piece of cricket, a loose full toss was swiped at and the edge went the reverse way to that intended, before I knew where it had gone Jaedyn was full length airborne, plucking it from where 2nd slip might have been. Staggering bit of cricket. The game was ended by another stunner, Harold running round from long on to take a straight steepler that came down with snow on it, giving Ravi (2 for 14 from 8.1) his second.
This was a very young side today, only 2 players older than 21. And while we found it tough at times I was thrilled with how we executed the plan – take early wickets, then close it out with our spin attack.
Great start to the second half of the year.