Actonians Cricket Club


Actonians Cricket Club 4th XI v Crouch End 4 on Sat 12 Aug 2017 at 12.30pm
Actonians Cricket Club Won 10 Points

Match report It’s not how, it’s how many.
- Seve Ballesteros

After three rain-blighted weeks of league cricket, the Fours came into this encounter with the league’s basement dwellers Crouch End full of confidence. The sun was shining, they were back at Boddington, and Crouch End were without their usual opening bowler to start with. Little, it seemed, could go wrong.

After being put in on a classic Boddington pitch, an even contest between bat and ball began to unfold. Initially, Roger and Bobby had the upper hand, unfurling square cuts like they were rug salesmen and the pitch was a market stall in Marrakech. Soon, though, the young opening bowler benefited from the inconsistent Boddington bounce, and Roger was back in the hutch for 13 after chopping onto his stumps. ‘Never fear,’ we thought as we watched from the safety of the patio, ‘Shahid won’t make the same mistake after seeing Roger get out in that way.’ Shahid departed the very next ball in the very same way. The Fours are nothing if not consistent.

After Omar struggled to get going and got out for 7, it was left to Bobby and Aneeq to rebuild our innings. The contrast in styles was pleasing: Bobby’s mashup of Goweresque cover drives and pokey defensive shots was the perfect foil for Aneeq’s fast hands and gung-ho approach to batting, refreshingly free from common sense, which nevertheless caused some balls to disappear to the boundary at a rate of knots. The contrast was rendered still more striking when Bobby strained his calf, causing him to hobble up and down the wicket with the determination of a true clubman and the gait of a panicked sea-lion. Despite eventually calling for a runner, Bobby was undone in the end by their wily slow bowler, who plopped the ball on an unerring length at an eye-wateringly slow pace (now where have we seen that style before?) to rearrange his timber. I and Billy got identical balls from their opening balls that pitched on middle and hit off, but Andrew ‘MS Jonesy’ Jones struck some lusty blows to take us to 186-9 from our 45 overs. In a format where not batting the overs is a cardinal sin, we avoided an awkward moment of cricketing repentance thanks largely to the mesmerizingly dull defence of Bob Coutts, a man to whom a backlift is unnecessary showboating.

After a sumptuous tea of curry chicken drumsticks and samosas and some delightful repartee with the Malik family who provided them, we emerged. Initially, things did not go our way at all. Steve ‘The Spy Who Came In From The Cold’ Smith quietly informed us that one of their Twos openers had come down to rescue the side from relegation doom, and the opener must have heard him talking, as he promptly dispatched our shiny-headed medium-fast metronome to all parts. He was aided and abetted by their number three, who gleefully put a rank full toss from me onto the train tracks. This, combined with a hit from Scott Ensom onto an E3 bus station next to HQ the day before, gives me the dubious honour of having inadvertently caused danger to two separate TfL commuter groups in the course of 24 hours. Before we knew it, they were roughly 85-1 off something like nine overs. Fortunately, Aneeq caused the aforementioned no. 3 to sky a top-edge that somehow went to hand, and after a couple of LBW decisions and an absolute peach from Roheet to bowl the Twos opener (for a nuggety 55), we had them five down and their backs were against the wall.

It was at this point that we really needed to apply the pressure and kill the game off, and for a time it looked like we were managing that. Runs were not coming fast, and we came close to removing their six and seven a few times. Slowly but surely, however, they edged towards our total. With byes starting to chip away at their deficit, we needed a wicket badly. Step forward Aneeq, so often a man who applies pressure with no reward, but this time he got the breakthrough to bowl their no.5. He took a wicket with the very next ball, which brought their young opening bowler to face the hat-trick delivery. He wore a ball that reared up from a length with commendable bravery, and we braced ourselves for Smithy to do some damage from the other end as Crouch End hastily recalled one of their players, who was already halfway around the North Circular.

So often, in situations like these where under 20 runs separate our oppo from victory, we have watched the game slip from our hands. We knew this, and with possible promotion on the line, we decided ‘not today’. Smithy forced their dogged no.6 to hole out to Jonesy at mid-on, who took a stunning catch. As their number 10 took a brief break to recover from the nasty ball he’d taken to the hip from Aneeq, Roheet entered the fray, and with two wickets separating us from 10 points at home, Roger snaffled a caught behind and Roheet then bowled their young player, who did well to retake the field after injury. After attempting repeatedly to throw the game away, we had won by 16 runs.

This was an exceptionally engaging game, and after the disappointment of three weeks of weather-affected results it was wonderful to come away with 10 points at home. Family of the match goes to the Maliks, who variously held the batting together, produced crucial wickets, stuffed us to the gills at tea and showed more promise with both bat and ball than their father. Honourable MotM mention goes to Keown, the boy who took two in two for Crouch End and retook the field after injury – it’s always great to see young players throwing themselves into the fray with bravery and confidence. I do not know who was given dick of the day at speeches, but given that Sadiq Khan has been in contact saying he wants to hike my Oyster card fares after the damage I’ve caused to the TfL network recently, I suppose I’d better take the hit. Best of luck for Perivale, boys – I look forward to hearing how it goes.

Actonians Cricket Club 4th XI Batting
Player Name RunsMB4s6sSRCtStRo
for 9 wickets

(45.0 overs)
Roger Masterton b Keown 13 1
Bobby Uberoi b Tanner 30
Shahid Akram b Keown 0
Omar Tirmizi ct Quayum 7
Aneeq Malik lbw Tanner 55
Will Yates b Thanchal 4 1
Bilal Hussain b Thanchal 7
Andrew Jones Not Out  35 1
Roheet Gupta b Thanchal 0
Steve Smith b Thanchal 2
Bob Coutts Not Out  0

Crouch End 4 Bowling

Player nameOversMaidensRunsWicketsAverageEconomy

Crouch End 4 Batting
Player name RMB4s6sSR
for 10 wickets
170 (35.0 overs)
Beefy b W.Yates 5
Apu b R.Gupta 55
Quayum ct W.Yates bld. A.Malik 26
Rupom lbw W.Yates 4
Rory b W.Yates 1
Tom b A.Malik 23
Mike ct A.Jones bld. S.Smith 21
Simon b A.Malik 0
Sohail Not Out  0
Keown b R.Gupta 1
Chanchal ct R.Masterton bld. R.Gupta 5

Actonians Cricket Club 4th XI Bowling

Player NameOversMaidensRunsWicketsAverageEconomy
Aneeq Malik9.0238312.674.22
Steve Smith4.0119119.004.75
Will Yates10.0249316.334.90
Roheet Gupta9.0330310.003.33
Bob Coutts3.001300.004.33