Northwood 112 all out (Asad Rehman 5-19, Josh Bailey 3-31) Great Missenden Pelicans 116 for 9 (Kunaal Kankate 49*, Tony Harris 25)
WON by 1 wicket
You don’t need 500 runs in a day for an exciting match. Northwood and the Pelis slugged out 84 overs for just 228 runs. Probably not pretty for the spectators (of which there were a few), but it was exciting enough for those involved, as the Pelis grabbed defeat from the jaws of victory, and then grabbed victory back.
For those without the patience to read the entire match report, here’s a potted Haiku version:
More splendid tossing by Tooby saw Northwood invited to bat. Josh, bowing with customary accuracy and fire, soon had the young number 2 playing on. This brought to the wicket another young player of whom we were to see rather a lot. First as a clean-hitting batsman in an arc roughly from cover point to mid wicket, and later bowling unchanged for the entire Pelis innings. He looked dangerous, but smart fielding kept him more or less at bay, until he middled one straight back into Tooby’s goolies.
This proved his downfall – after an extended period on his knees, Tooby managed to complete his over before handing over to Hasan. Almost immediately, Hasan pushed one down the leg side and induced a nick, well taken by Tony. Encouraged, Hasan continued with a leg-side line for much of his spell, which kept the runs down, but with no further success.
Two of Northwood’s senior pros stuck about, but wickets fell often enough for Pelis to hope to keep them to a score in the low-100’s. Lunch was taken with 5 wickets down, for about 86.
The post-prandial Port seemed to ignite the Pelis as wickets clattered to Josh and Asad, who finished with a ‘fifer’. At 8 down, there was some discussion as to whether to take the foot off the gas; as it happened, it was just as well that no easy runs were offered. A lesson learnt perhaps.
112 didn’t seem an imposing target. Slightly surprisingly, Northwood opened with slow left-arm round. The reason was quite quickly evident as this young man (an Indian under-19 squad player, we understand, on loan for the day from Indian Gymkhana) bowled unchanged for 21 overs, with almost nothing loose offered throughout.
Clive fell LBW in the first over. Iceman opted to play the slow left-armer from the other end, and made temporary hay against the seamer. Until, that is, another young spinner was introduced at that end, who also bowled unchanged to the end.
26 for 2 soon became 38 for 5 as Livie and two Harrises (Mike and Matt Smalley) departed for a total of 4 runs. Asad immediately launched on the younger spinner, with 10 off an over, and hopes rose that our young batting stalwarts Kunaal (in since the 4th ball of the innings) and Asad would rapidly bring victory in sight. Tea was taken at 48-5.
Soon after, the Pelis’ plight started to look desperate as Asad departed without adding to his score, rapidly followed by Hasan. Kunaal remained at the crease, but with victory still some 60 runs away, he was running out of partners. Step forward our third Harris – Tony of that ilk- fresh from 47 not out at The Lee 24 hours earlier. Immediately he put to work his characteristic sweep/pull, with 5 boundaries in his 25. Pelis raced to 98 for 7, surely within sight of victory?
At this point something amazing happened. Tony middled the younger spinner to the left of a septuagenarian at point who took the most blinding catch. On such things matches turn, and Northwood scented blood. Two balls later Josh was back in the hutch – surely they almost had us?
By now, Kunaal was between a rock and a hard place. Having played 39 overs for just 35 runs, could Kunaal rely on number 11 Tooby to hang around while he tried to farm strike and eke out the last 15 runs? Or should he launch all-out assault on the opening spinner, with figures of 4-33 in 20 overs? Such was his faith in his skipper, that Kunaal took the all-out assault option. Two fours and a six, the latter hitting a car on the road outside the ground, suddenly brought the scores level.
To the skipper fell the honour of the winning hit – a shovel down leg side – leaving Kunaal on 49 not out. Surely the longest non-50 of his life!
And so to the fines court. The usual imposts were levied – low scores, ducks and averageness aplenty, and a couple of breaches of etiquette. A bit of a mystery, however, how Tooby managed to avoid a hefty fine for giving the opposing skipper a pep talk before the Pelis innings. Distinctly heard was “well, you know we could knock them off for 1 down, but we’re just as likely to be all out for 70”.
Stung by observations that last year’s team had left Northwood without sufficient conviviality, a hard core of Pelis including camp followers Nic and Butch, got stuck into the bar and bangers and mash. Wisely, the Prince of Wales was given a wide berth on the way home.
Reports are intended to convey an entertaining picture of the day’s play. No disrespect is meant, but if on occasion we misjudge matters, please take it in the friendly and humorous spirit in which it is intended.