Threes respectable in defeat vs Saffron Walden

With only 10 men, beating the team at the top of the table was always going to be a big ask, but we made a good fist of it, and kept ourselves in the game to take home 6 bonus points.

With skipper Graham transplanted at late notice into the first team, Phillip assembled the troops and just about made it to Saffron Walden in time. We were put in to bat on a hard track, and after a couple of overs to get their eyes in, openers Phillip and Sudhir started to get the measure of Saffron’s bowlers. Sudhir found the gaps for singles and the odd boundary, while Phillip seemed to be doing the opposite – scoring 62 of his 73 runs in boundaries.

As the overs ticked by and the scoreboard raced higher, Phillip’s concentration faltered and more shots went up in the air. He was eventually undone by a high catch at mid-off after a mistimed drive. Sudhir continued to play coolly, but was unlucky to catch an edge onto his stumps.

Saffron Walden’s bowlers, who had been looking a little dejected, perked up after these two wickets, and began producing some vicious spin and tighter lines. Maneesh found the boundary, but was then bowled through the gate by a ripping off-spinner, and Mo was cut down at the other end. Nadeem got himself off the mark before also being bowled. Shiva put up good resistance, blocking well and snatching singles, while debutant Vijay got stuck in straight away – despatching the ball to the boundaries.

After Shiva was trapped LBW by Saffron’s left-armer, Darren and Achintya followed quickly after – Achintya unlucky to take the faintest of edges to the keeper. That brought in nightwatchman Jonathan, who blocked well and scrabbled to runs with Vijay, putting in a terrific dive to make his ground. He contributed a four of his own, while Vijay safely knocked the score past the all-important 160 mark, before Jonathan was undone by a fantastic diving catch in the slips.

We’d put a respectable total up – now it was time to defend it. Jonathan got off to a cracking start, dispatching one of the openers with his 6th ball. At the other end, Mo was bowling tight lines, giving very little away. As the batsmen began to get their eyes in, a switch to Sudhir’s darting cutters brought immediate results – clattering the stumps of the number three bat.

Achintya bowled well, with good flight and turn, but the batsmen were on form and looking steady, so he had to add to his wicket tally by taking two catches instead – one off Mo and another off Darren, who was also frustrating the batsmen with flight and spin. Vijay put in a couple of good overs, and had the chance of a wicket but Phillip couldn’t hold on to the nick.

With our lead trickling away, the team put in an extra effort to restrict the runs, but inevitably the batsmen punctured our defence and finished with a crashing drive over mid-off.

Top performances:

Phillip Broadwith – 73 runs

Sudhir Shivananjappa – 27 runs; 6 overs, 1 maiden, 1 wicket for 20 runs

Vijay Khandar – 24 runs

Mo Sayeed – 10 overs, 1 wicket for 33 runs

Jon Gadsby – 8 overs, 1 wicket for 45 runs

Darren D’Souza – 3 overs, 1 wicket for 18 runs

Achintya Prasad – 2 catches

Full scorecard here

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