Actonians Cricket Club


Hampstead 5 v Actonians Cricket Club 4th XI on Sat 05 Aug 2017 at 12.30pm
Match was Drawn Losing Draw 1 Point

Match report
“The rain, it raineth on the just, and also on the unjust fella; but chiefly on the just, because the unjust steals the just’s umbrella.”
- Anon

After two washouts in the last two weeks, the Fours made the short trip from Fortress Gunnersbury to the Polytechnic Ground, the incongruously-placed home of Hampstead’s 5th XI, with high hopes of getting a complete game in for the first time in almost a month. In the absence of Billy, Roheet took the reins for this clash against a side that put up 320 in 45 overs in the reverse fixture earlier this season. After Matt Gurkin was yanked up to the Threes to cover for the unwell Vorn Robertson, Roheet had to call the endlessly obliging Joshy Jayakar out of retirement yet again and start the match with 10 players after your loyal correspondent missed his train home from Leeds by a solid three hours.

The A’s were put in to bat on a greentop, and Roger and Joshy set about the task of negotiating the Hampstead attack. Despite some very tidy bowling, the two openers looked unruffled as the breeze brushed across a sluggish riverside outfield. Soon enough, though, we were facing a familiar scene: after reaching 32-0 off eight overs, the heavens opened and players dashed for cover. Had this fixture been at Boddington, the routine would have been familiar: stumps out of their holes, covers on, Roger calmly directing operations in unhurried Kiwi tones. Here, though, we had no such luck. No covers, no sawdust, no clue. Some less charitable Actonians suggested amongst themselves that Hampstead might like to spend next year’s preseason organising a piss-up at one of the many breweries in the immediate vicinity. Nevertheless, after the rain had eased off, our skipper made an impromptu run to the pet shop to pick up some sawdust as the sun and wind did their best to render the pitch playable.

Eventually, after much debate over the length of the game and whether the pitch more resembled a swamp or a pudding, play resumed roughly 100 minutes later, with the length of the contest now set at 64 overs. The break certainly favoured the bowling side, and as crater-like divots began to emerge in the crease Joshy’s resistance was eventually broken as he was caught behind for 12 off an opening bowler with an overstepping issue and an occasional tendency to whinge – think ‘skinny South Asian Steve Smith with less charisma’. As Roger departed after being bowled by their late-arriving quick, we braced ourselves for a textbook 4th XI collapse, but cometh the hour, cometh the man. Olly West (aka ‘Our Man in Bogota’, aka ‘Brother of the More Famous Andy’, aka ‘The Dancing Expat’) came in at four. Despite a criminally slow outfield and the departure of Shahid for just 12, he proceeded to graft his way to 50 on a pitch that was fast becoming more of a Medellin minefield than a riverside road. He had able support from Alex Shaw, who biffed his way to 22 before picking out the man in the ring as he tried to up the run rate. Aneeq and Bobby came and went as we debated giving Hampstead only 19 overs to bat, which would have eliminated the possibility of them getting a winning draw. Eventually, though, the tail wagged sufficiently to see us through to 162-7 off 39 overs, leaving the league’s second-best side 25 overs to bat.

After a stonking tea (shout out to Roger for wisely pilfering the leftover sausages), we emerged for a typically vigorous warmup, and Aneeq and Joshy took the new ball. The hosts reaffirmed their quality with some lusty blows off the opening bowlers, but this did not diminish our spirits. Despite an early run-rate close to that required to win the game, Josh ‘my doctor says I should never play cricket again but sure, I’ll open both batting and bowling’ Jayakar eventually got us the breakthrough, encouraging their opener to hole out to Manoj at square leg for 19. Step forward Bear Coutts, who initially took some punishment but then found his rhythm, and forced their other opener to pick out Olly at deep mid-on. Suddenly, with Roheet and Bob keeping it tight, we looked in with a sniff. Unfortunately, we couldn’t hold onto a couple of catches at crucial moments, and as Olly and I took the ball, the match seemed to be petering out. For a minute we looked like we might be able to keep them below the 104 they needed for a winning draw, and the belief was there right up until the last over, but it wasn’t to be. They finished on 119-4 off 25, meaning we returned to HQ with one point to show for the afternoon’s work.

On the one hand, this is a somewhat frustrating result: they only had 10 men, and we looked like the better team for much of the contest. We can, however, take plenty from this game. We dug in well on a tricky batting pitch and made a real contest of it in the field, but as Olly pointed out in the debrief, it was our ‘Actonians spirit’ that really made this game happen. We took the initiative on making the pitch playable and clearing up after the game, and with bottom-feeders Crouch End visiting Boddington for an overs game next Saturday, we have every reason to be confident. Man of the match must go to Olly West for a thoroughly disciplined innings and a big hand in making the game happen. Despite strong competition from whichever muppet slept through the alarm that would have got him back from Leeds in time from the start of the match, dick of the day goes to Joshy, who has an appointment with his chiropractor on Monday and the Oxford English Dictionary on Tuesday, who want a word about his definition of ‘retirement’. Roll on next week.

Actonians Cricket Club 4th XI Batting
Player Name RunsMB4s6sSRCtStRo
for 7 wickets

(39.0 overs)
Josh Jayakar ct Azam 20 1
Roger Masterton b Shams 6
Shahid Akram lbw Geirge 12
Oliver West Not Out  56 1
Alex Shaw ct Mike 22
Aneeq Malik ct Mike 7
Bobby Uberoi b Azam 5
Will Yates b Azam 4
Manoj Joshi   1
Bob Coutts  
Roheet Gupta  

Hampstead 5 Bowling

Player nameOversMaidensRunsWicketsAverageEconomy

Hampstead 5 Batting
Player name RMB4s6sSR
for 4 wickets
119 (25.0 overs)
Sharma ct M.Joshi bld. J.Jayakar 19
Gupta ct O.West bld. B.Coutts 37
Vaidyanathan b W.Yates 29
Cahill ct J.Jayakar bld. B.Coutts 3
Roy Not Out  17
Trigatzis Not Out  5

Actonians Cricket Club 4th XI Bowling

Player NameOversMaidensRunsWicketsAverageEconomy
Aneeq Malik2.002000.0010.00
Josh Jayakar3.0017117.005.67
Roheet Gupta6.002000.003.33
Bob Coutts6.0027213.504.50
Will Yates4.0112112.003.00
Oliver West2.01500.002.50
Manoj Joshi1.001000.0010.00
Shahid Akram1.00500.005.00