To begin then in the middle with the final over of the Cheshire Cobras innings against Metro in the first round of the BBS cup. The visitors to Highgate were on 167 for 8 and the dangerous Howard Greenhill was on strike for the final over, on 110 not out that included three sixes; two scored off the home captain’s bowling.
Matt Dean came on to bowl and it was perhaps a surprise that Howard took a single off the first legal delivery; to leave the number 10 on strike. A no ball was followed by three dots and then a straight one – bowled; the final ball of the innings was a repeat of the previous one. This leaves Matt on a hat trick next time he gets to bowl – perhaps against Kent at Highgate next Saturday in the first league home game for Metro.
Mention must go to those who helped restrict the Cobras score – Mo who bowled his six overs for just 13 runs and picked up the wickets of both opening batsmen; Gavin to a brilliant diving catch by Andy that must already be a contender for catch of the season.
The modest target looked straightforward to chase down until in just the eighth over Howard took a fantastic catch to dismiss Matt for just 14 allowing the visitors to put pressure on Metro, the scoring worm dropping behind the visitors in the twelfth over. Not until Andy Law was bowled by Gavin Griffiths, and Simon Ledwith joined Nick did the rate increase to leave Metro exactly on the required rate at half way also just one ahead of the Cobras at that stage.
Sensible batting was the order of the day and this pair put on 63 from 133 before Simon was bowled by John Prasher; hope flickered again for the visitors when Nick finally fell for 51 with just four more runs added – but this was in John’s last over.
Mark Bond and Hassan needed to get 33 from the final six overs with all the Cobra’s top bowlers having completed their allotted six overs. Mark steered Metro home with 19 balls to spare as he reached 29 from just 19 balls to set up a quarter final against Warwickshire on the 9th June at Highgate.
So that was win two for Metro after their tense 157 run victory – with just one ball to spare against Sussex on 21st April.So as one hat trick hangs in the balance can Hassan skipper the Devils to a win in Berkshire to make it three wins from three and a great club start to the season.
The weather played its part delivering another warm, sunny day with little breeze at the charming Binfield ground. Hassan certainly made a good start by winning the toss and putting the home side in to bat. However with many bowlers having not bowled for months there was no early wicket for the Devils and both of the Stags openers scored at a good rate, reaching 107 without loss when drinks were taken after twelve overs.
Richard had to retire shortly afterwards and then the Devils wicketkeeper eventually completed a Dave S run out with both runners at the far end of the pitch to dismiss the other opener just short of 50. Everton chipped in with another run out and then good bowling backed up by energetic fielding – albeit with Hasmukh only blocking two shots where a catch was on offer – slowed the scoring rate. The Stags made use of the full 28 overs available to them to reach 202.
The following main event at Berkshire – tea, lived up to the anticipated high standards; although Dave & Gary had limited time to enjoy the excellent cakes as they had to open the innings. At drinks the rate of 8.5 had just been kept up as wickets again appeared hard to take on a good pitch for batting; Dave retired, just one ball after tea, with the score on 106 and Hassan came out looking to up the scoring rate.
Having swept to midwicket for two he unfurled an elegant off drive only to see his runner short of his ground after a good throw in from deep mid-off. Jack joined Gary briefed to up the scoring rate and did just that; it looked as if he might overtake Gary but there was not quite enough time for that before Gary retired with this pair having added 59.
So when Jack hammered the ball back waist high to be well caught by Tom Gray, the bowler, with the score on 180, Aemonn and Chris had 20 balls left to score the remaining two dozen runs. Aemonn was swinging and missing but Chris remained calm and with two boundaries to square leg scored 14 off 9 balls while facing just two “dot balls” to gain victory with 11 balls to spare.
A fantastic hat trick of victories – can Metro follow up against Kent and the Devils at the cradle of cricket on the 26th May?
report by Paul Toplis