Octopus CC vs Highgate CC - 29th July 2012
We lost the toss and were asked to field. Highgate's XI has varied in standard and composition over the years and yesterday was no different. Roughly 4 senior players, 4 young but established, 2 foetal (including a minitature Tendulkar) and 1 old timer lined up against us, with the senior top order all bringing bats with very large middles to the crease. We had a strong bowling attack but some excellent batting and a shortish (but we've seen shorter) pavilion boundary meant that they more than ticked along, with a crisply struck four a common occurrence. At the end of his first spell Sam got one through to break up the openers with the score on 45, and then Gokul jubilantly removed the other with a lovely leg break, nicked behind to Hodge. A couple of overs later he then bowled a hesitant no. 4 to leave them 3 down for 84. Game on - but the number 3 was a menace: a first team player (albeit a tailender apparently) who timed the ball beautifully and hit hard into the gaps. We couldn't tie him down, and he was joined by a brutal shot-a-ball merchant at 5. Fortunately Shankar snaffled him in the deep for just 20, off Gokul again, before he caused to much carnage but the number 3 was never put off his stride. Drinks at 22 overs with the score around 120-4.
Mini-Tendulkar was his partner now and batting well; a 4 foot 11 year-old at whom we smiled at in a fatherly, patronising fashion as he came to the crease. That was until he pulled his first ball off Ed for four behind square and started to display his immaculate technique and square drive to die for. He was more than able support for the soon-to-be centurion at 3, and had made 25 in a partnership of 82 before he hooked a full toss from Miles down Sam's throat at short fine leg. 5 down for just under 200, but the boundaries kept coming and Highgate finished on 255-7 off their 40 overs, with no. 3 finishing 117 not out. Miles (bowled) and Jo (lbw) picked up the other two wickets.
Around 30 overs we had been delayed by a 20 minute very heavy shower, and the rain returned again just after tea with Ed and Jo about to start our response. By the time we were ready to start at 5.25pm another 20 minutes or so had been lost to the game and the captains agreed a reduced pro-rata target of 190 from 30 overs. Still more than 6 an over, but 190 feels a lot closer than 255 especially after 25 minutes dwelling on its size and shape over tea. It definitely lifted our spirits and Ed and Jo's, who were already in an attacking mind-set, in particular.
What a start.
10 off the first over, including six from Ed off the third ball.
10 off the second.
15 off the third
10 off the fourth
5 off the fifth.
50 with out loss from the first 5 overs, including 4 byes from the hapless wicket keeper and several wides.
After another 20 minute break for heavy showers we resumed with confidence undimmed; the rate dropping slightly but ticking along nicely all the same.
The only threat to victory now was the afternoon's centurion, and first team bowler. A quick word with the captain and on he came to bowl to try and save the day for Highgate. Fast and full bowling, the gauntlet laid down.......so Jo and Miles creamed him for 16 off his first 2. Ha!! Take that. WE ARE OCTOPUS! SMELL OUR TENTACLES!
But hang on. His third over was an express wicket maiden as Miles stumps were rearranged for 15, and his next over ended Jo's fantastic knock the same way for a career best 82 from 64 balls. Point made, fast boy then took himself off. 148 for 3 with 9 overs left.
Despite the wickets, it was still very much ours to lose and we staggered over the line. Gokul smashed a full toss to cover for 10 and I limply top edged a wide pie to square leg for 3, but Will (21no), Andy James (1no) and Byes (17) saw us home with three overs to spare at 191-5. VICTORY!
A win by 5 wickets and a very very nice beer in the bright evening sunshine to finish the day. 3 Sunday wins in a row now for Octopus CC and 5 in total - matching our efforts last year before August has even arrived.