Report From James M
Seepage. That was the concern flung unto my device from young Curtis an hour before meet o’clock. Heavy rains had passed, but some had seeped onto the North deck at the SCMG. Mercifully just the pavilion end, and intriguingly so, on a full length. But it meant the toss was a big one with both captains – like a sweet-toothed child with a coin at a vending machine – keen to insert. Today Roffey called heads, yet it was tails and so they donned the pads.
A key game this, between the only 2 2s in Div 2, adding a frisson of rivalry between clubs that always compete hard but usually in a good natured, mutually respectful manner. Today no exception to that rule.
Zayn would seize the new rock with aplomb, finding big hoop in to the right hander and – just like the All Star Lanes’ DPD driver – often delivering a heavy ball. He was first to strike with a memorable seed, swinging beyond the experienced Roffey left hander’s defence and seeing the off peg do its best impression of a Simone Biles floor routine. He would grab another lb dub later and was good value for his two wickets, having negotiated a damper landing area for his front foot than the average seaplane runway.
The Ajaz went uphill and hit some strong channels. Swing away, nibble in. That’s his game. Unlucky not to bag a couple, he would get his solitary reward effectively bumping out the aggressive Roffey opener c&b – even finding time to almost let it comically hit the deck, instead stepping forward to catch it at the last moment.
14 overs were the max these youngsters were allowed between them (don’t let their hirsute visages fool you). 3 wicks to show, none really damp induced, good job.
Young Ziggy followed down the hill and would bowl tight as you like, batters getting angrier each over as they struggled to pierce our off side ring of steel (led by the outstanding Ammad “Mani” Khan who is fast establishing himself as one of the top fielders in the club). This ratcheted up the pressure on the Roffeyian batters putting the Nomads in the driving seat.
Yo settled in from the bottom end, and with his more rounded trajectory could finally bring the seepage spot into the game. A handful of rogue balls despatched for boundaries very much the exception in a tremendous return for the former 2s skipper. 3 wickets including a true gem to get through the gate of the threatening veteran Leigh Harrison.
But the best of a strong bunch today was that man Baalaaj. Fresh from offering to “hand out smoke on a daily” to any challengers on FIFA, he decided he would be generous with his fumes from the pavilion end too. A really exceptional spell, capitalising on the pressure built by his team mates would yield four fine dismissals.
Good catching today too. Our best performance in the field. Roffey all out 110.
Big Kam Mirza, still buzzing from getting Horsham’s Nick Oxley to remove his sunglasses while bowling because of the glare last week (no, really), joined your Scribe up top. We rotated our way to 25 before Scribe got a good Leigh Harrison in-nipper. OG joined the game and the rotation continued. Kam apologised for being boring. He was nothing of the sort, they were just chanceless. Both scoring 43 before dodging the red ink with freak dismissals with not many to get.
Fittingly Baalaaj would score the winning run in… well… not style. More in calamity. Reluctantly coming back for the winning 2nd when he was trying to pinch the strike to tee off next over, the keeper missing the stumps on a run out chance with the ball in hand as the rain fell. A weird end to a great day!
This is a competitive league and we will have to work hard to be competitive in it. But a few decent performances have seen us seep up the table just a little. Pleasing. Onwards, chaps.