Double Top – or is that Treble Top?

Metro Devils Cricket Team

1st August 2015

Whichever way you look at it a very successful Saturday for both Metro cricket teams; the national league side now have two cup final dates this year having reached the T20 finals on the 20th September as well as the BBS Cup final; while the Devils will be defending their Development T20 crown on the 30th August. The national side’s exciting game saw them chase down a challenging target of 169 with a ball to spare against Somerset – who had denied them a T20 final place last season with a six off the final ball of the semi-final; while the Devils were able to avenge their league defeat from the opening day of this season with what, in the end, was a comfortable victory over the 2015 league runners up – Gloucestershire Growlers.

At Highgate the day was one of those summer afternoons well suited to playing, rather than watching cricket, as the sun was very coy – only occasionally showing its face between what were at times rather grey clouds and with a bit of a breeze helping to take the edge off the temperature. With the home side’s temporary captain from the quarter final victory returned to the ranks normal service was resumed at the toss as the Growlers won and after a brief pause for thought chose to chase. With just 9 legal balls bowled this looked a very good strategy as Elyse bowled Chris to leave the Devils in trouble on 11 for 2.

That wicket had followed a mix up where Everton had showed his lack of experience in straying out of his ground as good fielding, by who else but Elyse, prevented a two for Chris and when the keeper broke the wicket both batsmen were out of their ground. At two down Gary joined Mike Brace and this pair steadied the ship almost through to drinks with a stand of 73 that included the shot of the day a sumptuous cover drive, played as only those left handers can, to bring 8 runs.

After Gary’s retirement for 51 the drinks score was a fairly healthy 95 for 3 and both the home captain and Eamon were looking in good form. This pair pushed on well hitting a partnership of 94 with Dave scoring 52 from just 25 balls, his favourite scoring area being to find the exact middle of the gap between fine leg and deep square, before his retirement. Shortly afterwards Eamon was bowled – again by Elyse, as she and Bob, for the Growlers, bowled the last two overs for just 11 to keep the Devils score under 200 at 193 for 4. Gloucestershire must be commended for their bowling discipline as there were just 4 no balls and 12 wides in the innings.

In reply the Devils were wayward in that respect – it all started at the first ball as Alan bowled a wide – the first of 42, which were topped up to a score of 50 by extras with the no balls delivered. Mike in particular, having shown that David Gower quality when batting, could only manage a bowling display of the “loved by England” Mitchell Johnson variety. However the fielding from the home side was good and restricted the number of boundaries to just three – compared to 19 in the first innings so batting runs were harder to come by for the visitors. Still their start was better than the home side’s as although Mark James was bowled early on by Chris they had 101 on the board before the second wicket fell as Dave ran out Sheona.

It was the lack of boundaries that was the difference however as the 100 had only come up in the thirteenth over so when Elyse reached her 50 at the end of the fifteenth there was too much for the middle order to do, as the rate required had climbed to nearly 15 an over. In fact the Devils bowling did tighten up in the final five overs with just two wides and no balls. If it is bowlers who win games the credit must go to those bowling at the death; Alan’s last over cost just three as he completed four overs for 19; while Asif conceded just 5 from the final over and picked up a wicket to finish with 1 for 26. They then ran out Terry on the final ball – his first dismissal of the summer leaving him with an impressive 2015 average of 167.

– Report by Paul Toplis

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