24th May 2016
On a cricket double anniversary there were two draws for Metro; two appearances for Everton, a double hundred and two catches for the Metro stand in captain; as well as three wickets for Gareth and a magnificent tumbling effort at a catch from Mark – who hung on to the ball but let it just touch the turf as he landed full length on the floor. Metro, the only team still playing from the five sides that played in the first BBS national cricket league twenty years ago, could not quite beat Northants on Sunday after being asked to bat first; while the Devils following an early set back in their innings found the Kent total just too much on a damp and grey afternoon at Highgate on Saturday.
Still both games were completed when three other BCEW games were beaten by the weather on the weekend when the BCEW league celebrated its tenth birthday.
Saturday which started dull, grey and grim stayed tense all afternoon as two very different teams enjoyed a very close match. After a discussion about allowing Kent to field with 10 players although they had only one total – their team with an average age much lower than Metro’s and with two high partials were asked to bat first. Metro took to the field with just four mid partials backing up their three totals and four low partials.
An early breakthrough saw the Kent skipper bowled by Chris; bringing Ray to the crease to score a rapid 29. He ended up hitting his wicket to leave Kent wobbling on 60 for 3. It could have been worse for the visitors as after Dave S bowled the only visiting total his next ball bowled the new batsman – but was just a fraction too full and the no ball prevented another Primary club membership opportunity becoming available. It meant that the Boulding brothers were together at the crease after Ray’s wicket and they batted well to put on 89 including the only 6 of the game from Matthew’s second ball.
When he was trapped LBW by Alan late in the innings the diminutive Sam Clark joined Luke and Metro slowed the run rate as the running between the wickets became very cautious. Alan bowled a maiden at the 25th over before the match “incident” saw a ball struck to mid on that Chris Lewis missed and such a roar went up from the Kent support that the ball could be heard and the fielders could not communicate; so although runs may have been taken “dead ball” was called and the ball re-bowled. At the inning break Kent had 182 for 4 and Metro had hopes of chasing that down.
The grey sky seemed to have dropped the clouds to the making it feel damp and Kent needed a towel to try and keep the ball dry enough to hold as the second innings started. After a fantastic off drive to the boundary Gary was adjudged caught by the Kent total at leg slip second ball of the innings however – given the official making the call he probably missed the ball by about a foot but this did change the chase. Dave Samuels scored 51 at almost a run a ball and Everton 26 at the same rate but by the time Eamonn came to the crease the asking rate had climbed too high.
Kent took a flurry of run out wickets at the end of the innings; making good use of their youth and sight in the field to leave Metro 7 down and 14 runs short; in the Regional league that is a Devil’s winning draw on run rate.
Sunday started with one of those frustrating rail delays; with no direct trains to Northampton the train limped to Milton Keynes very late; so missing the bus connection meaning that the teams did not reach the ground until after one. Then the home side won the toss and the task of winning for a Metro side with just eight players became that much harder – with the home side at full strength as 10 wickets would be needed. Metro started with Matt and Mark and after a quiet first over Matt soon took control with boundaries flowing regularly with the 100 up well before drinks and the pair put on 214 for the first wicket in just over 10 overs before Mark was bowled.
Northants then took the one half chance offered to them as they ran out Andy Law shortly afterwards. However all that meant was a cameo innings from Shaks, his first for several years, but with 33 from 17 he scored faster than Matt who retired on 212 from 110 with a six, a five, an all run four and 34 boundaries as Metro set Northants 319 to win from 32 overs.
Running out the home sides top total batsman in the third over was a good start – but this meant that the Steelbacks just settled down for a draw as they scored at only the half the rate of the visitors. The energetic fielding from Metro certainly helped as twos were hard to come by; almost as hard as wickets until at last Matt took a catch off Charles’ bowling after 13 overs. A little mini collapse was sparked by an excellent catch by Everton on the boundary followed by bowled wickets for Gareth and Andy to give the visitors some hope – five down and 9 overs to go.
However despite their best efforts, especially from Gareth who finished with 3 for 25 from 10 overs, only two more wickets could be taken. So a drawn match but it was a great effort from all to restrict the home score to just 143 for 32 overs. Metro next travel to Lancashire on the first weekend in June before a home draw in the BBS cup against Warwickshire on 18th June at Highgate.