Rishi Scares Crows!
The threatening slate grey skies encapsulating the beautiful corner of Hampshire known for generations as Crawley – where the Crows of that designation ply their trade – saw as-complete-a-cricketing-performance as The Racqueteers have produced in my time at the club.
The skipper won the toss and without hesitation decided to bat first despite the overcast conditions. Crawley had a good core bowling unit and they were rewarded early on – the skipper strangled down the legside, amid some controversy. Yet initial signs were that this was a true and coming-on-to-the bat sort of pitch, and so it proved to be. Shep joined the Prof and got the innings moving with controlled and classy stroke-play – a sweetly timed on-drive all along the ground that bisected mid-wicket and mid-on from the former and a lovely late cut from the latter, being representative. Both retired not out (27 and 26). There was then a partnership of contrasts (nay, complements) between Rishi (brutally destructive; 11) and Gaurav (carefully considered; 10) that took our score to 83 off 12. The former then, having just hit an almost horizontal six, was bowled round his legs trying to repeat the trick. Jon looked comfortable before being caught in the deep. A fine cameo of 23 not out reminded us what an outstanding batsman Aussie Stu is! We ended up with what appeared a competitive 133 for 4, although this was a good track and we knew we had to bowl well.
Despite some good lines and areas from Danger (2-22) and the newly re-christened Ted (Tom) Talks (0-16) the Crows moved on quickly to keep up with required rate in the initial overs. Rishi, the Sri Lankan express, bowled with terrifying speed and venom without any luck (0-13). Stu and Sepia ticked over with 0-9 and 0-12 respectively. At this point the chase was still very much on for the Crows. However, there was no need to worry – the cavalry arrived in the shape of spin from the Prof (2-6) and the skipper (3-26) leaving the Crows some way short.
This was real all-round team performance with excellent batting, bowling and some superb fielding – three excellent catches (Ted Talks, Sepia and Stu – and no drops) and a well executed stumping (G). Worthy of particular note was some wonder fielding by Rishi on the deep cover boundary – especially the run-out of the Crows’ number 3 – a wonderfully athletic chase, a smooth as Claire’s clotted cream pick-up and a fast flat throw right over the bails for G to finish it off with aplomb!
Two wins on the bounce – the force is with us!