Cricket: Wicket! – Or is it?

Metro Devils Cricket Team

Metro Devils vs Gloucestershire Growlers  – 28  Aug  2021

Download: Devils vs Growlers Scorecard  –  Excel format

The Devils thought they had a fifth Gloucestershire wicket as Shiv’s ball thudded into stumps, only to hear the square leg umpire call “no ball” for too many bounces. It was a shame because one more wicket may have resulted in a much more exciting finish as the Growlers better sight, clear calling and strong running allowed them to complete a win with 8 overs to spare.

Sheona, the reprieved batter, ending with a career-best 38 not out with Luke Boulding on 18. The innings had started so well for the Devils as on the fourth ball Ed nicked one from Jack to the keeper, and then Alan bowled the other opener with the fourth ball of the second over.

Prem then held onto a nick from the visitor’s skipper, to give Alan a second wicket, leaving them on 16 for 3. That was to be the high point for the home side as Matt and Alec put on a partnership of over 100 runs before Matt had to retire on 50.

The partnership had been built on a good mix of alert and confident running and cleanly struck boundaries. Hope did rise when Alec was dismissed as Joe, on debut, fielded well to run him out and so deny him a 51 not out as he did not complete that attempted two.

It had been hard work for the Devils in the field with just three partials supported by three low partials and four totals meant there were gaps and opportunities to run not only twos and threes but also more than one four.

The difference is clear in looking both at the dismissals – as the home side had three run-outs including Alan, who had to walk out to the umpire as a non-striker and watch just one ball from there as he was run out without facing a ball.

That was the middle of a team hat trick, following another run and followed by Sheona bowling Ahmed first ball. It was also the case that the Devils scored more boundaries 10 including three 6s to 9 from the Growlers, with no maximums.

All had been worried all about getting a full game on – as both teams had struggled to find players on a Bank Holiday weekend, and both had been assisted by Berkshire players on loan to be able to field 10 players.

There had also been some spits of rain before the game and at times during the afternoon the skies had darkened and enough rain had come down to force the scorer to use their brolly to keep the scorebook dry. It had been first blood to the Growlers as they called tails to win the toss; and asked the Devils to bat.

The start of the game did go well as a new opening pair of Shiv and Everton put on 100 before an exhausted Everton was able to celebrate his retirement. He had a fair amount of running to do but would have had more if his six boundaries had not gone for 30. Sam, from Berkshire, came in as he retired and the Growlers suggested he retire with his strike rate intact after sweeping his first ball to fine leg for a boundary 8.

That was really the high point of the Devils innings as then squeezed by tight bowling backed up by good fielding runs were harder to come by, the loss of Prem, the top-scoring batter of the season run out off a no-ball to spark that team run out a sign of how well the Growlers put the squeeze on.

This game ends the Devils shortened season – Metro have the cup final in Northampton next week to look forward to and some Devils are travelling to Leicester for the development competition the week after.

The stats show prem having a great season in the field with 6 dismissals as well as the leading the batting with 146 runs at an average of 73, ahead of Everton with 81 at that average and shiv with 40 at an average of 10. The top bowlers were Alan with 5 wickets and an economy of 5.9 followed by Asif and Chris Blake with two each and economy of 4.9 and 10.2 respectively.

Match report by Paul Toplis


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