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Cricket: It’s a Washout! 

Metro Devils vs Gloucestershire Growlers 

It’s a Washout! 

Metro Devils vs Gloucestershire Growlers 

5th May 2019

A washout that was not just rain but hail too at about six-fifteen; the fourth time that rain had interfered with the Devils match against the Gloucestershire Growlers bringing it to an end. The home side was very disappointed as this meant their fantastic performance could not end as a win, with just 24 runs required and plenty of overs to spare. This was however not quite the washout of the week before when Metro had not been able to start their defence of the National League title in Yorkshire as the game was called off on Friday evening. A rearrangement is hoped for.

Wicket, bat and ball with the cricket match in the background
Wicket, bat and ball with the cricket match in the background – photo by Charlie Raven

So to return to this Saturday where the match between two well-matched teams began with the home skipper, Hassan, hardly able to get out quickly enough a decision to field first after winning the toss. The home side had two debutants Prem Sellathurai and Mujahaid Zabit while the visitors included one very familiar face in their team – Aemonn having joined the Growlers over the winter. A winter that was still present as a shower delayed the start until almost one thirty.

Metro Devils Cricket Team
Metro Devils Cricket Team

Once able to start the Devils made the early running with the skipper taking a diving catch at short cover in Jack’s first over, this wicket being followed just two overs later by that of the away skipper bowled to leave the visitors on 17 for 2 at the first bowling change. A couple of overs later after two batsmen had been clean bowled Aemonn was facing Asif’s hat trick ball; which he was able to block. A few overs later he did not block but skied the ball straight up, surely aware of the risk giving who was bowling, as Ryan was able to run down the pitch and take a brilliant diving catch, perhaps an early contender for “catch of the season”; with just 60 runs on the board.

The next wicket to fall also involved Ryan who gathered a wild return from Hassan to complete a run out just one ball before thunder and lightning brought a ten-minute break in play that reduced the game to 50 overs. The next few overs were the best for the visitors as their opener, Dan, reached 50 before having to retire; and the Devils then regained the upper hand as Jack took his third wicket. This left the visitors desperately running hard to grab as many runs as possible. Rob and Dave Samuels both picked up wickets and then, Ryan having moved off the boundary to short cover, secured a run out as one risk too many was taken – leaving Dan on 62 and a target of 151 to win from 23 overs.

With rain still threatening and the temperature distinctly chilly tea was hurried as sitting outside was unpleasant and the devils were very keen to start their run chase. Metro openers Prem and Ryan raced, at times literally – as Ryan could certainly run three while Prem ran two and was not far short of running two while Prem ran one, to 76 from eight overs before another twenty-minute rain break before the umpires were satisfied that the ground was dry enough to play safely again. Ryan reached his 50 with a drive through cover for two off a no-ball with 83 on the board just one over later. Hassan joined Prem before being forced off injured to be replaced by Ahmed as the continued chill had forced Mujahaid, among others, to change from his kit into warmer clothes leaving a limited choice of substitutes. The Growlers were still unable to slow the scoring rate which remained at about ten an over until the final storm came leaving Prem on 31 scored at a run a ball.

The next cricket at Highgate sees Northants playing Metro on the 18th, while in other news the delayed 2018 T20 cup finals saw Somerset emerge as winners by beating Yorkshire and Northants on another chilly, but at least dry, day in Wolverhampton.

Report By Paul Toplis

 

 

Cricket and London Buses?

Metro Cricket Team

What Do You Know About London Buses?

23rd June 2018

It is said that you wait all day for one and then they come in twos and threes. Yorkshire and Metro will meet in all three cricket formats this year; with a Metro trip away in the T20 cup to follow next week’s BBS cup and this Saturday’s league match. Those from God’s own country will be hoping that the results do not all follow that from this week.

There was for them, the unwelcome arrival of three wicket maidens at Highgate. The first came in just the third over of their innings as their opener got just too much on a defensive prod at Mo’s bowling and was caught and bowled via a well held low catch.

The very next over more misery was heaped on them as their top total was bowled by Rory. After four overs they were three down and still over 300 runs behind the home team; by the time Mo and Rory had finished their opening spells one more wicket had gone down with just a couple of runs added.

There was then rather a long wait for that third wicket maiden as just two wickets went down in the next six overs with batsmen nicking Hassan through to the keeper. Ryan took the ball next; his second delivery was clipped firmly toward mid-wicket, but although struck low and flat it was in the air allowing Nick to run in from the deep, and dive to grab a brilliant catch and remove the only visitor to have reached double figures.

Mark wrapped up the innings by grabbing two more nicks – one from Rob and the other giving Ryan his second wicket. The innings was all over in far too few overs – no last-ditch effort needed here by Metro to get a win.

The visitors had been restricted in their batting as a result of the huge efforts they had put in fielding – resulting in three injuries, a ball in the face, a tweaked hamstring and an ankle turned over. They had all run themselves into the ground chasing the ball on a hot, sunny afternoon facing two batsmen who were both hitting the ball with power and placement.

Yes, despite that outstanding bowling display the win had been set up by a glorious and disciplined batting performance from Rory and Nick who scored 310 between them in just 22 overs. Their innings was almost flawless – perhaps just one chance was offered in the eighteenth over when Rory top edged high into the air only to see the ball drop out of reach of the keeper who had chased it and then bounce and swerve away allowing two runs to be taken. The innings included a six, and thirty-eight boundaries as Nick scored 156 from 78 balls, and Rory 118 from 64.

Next week the teams meet again in the BBS cup – who knows what will happen, so support for the home side will be very welcome ahead of what will be what can be expected to be a crucial league match for Metro against Warwickshire on the 7th July.

Report by Paul Toplis

 

BBS Cup Quarter Final

Metro Cricket Team

Warwickshire; The Expected Result?

9th June 2018

Metro have found Warwickshire barring their progress in the cup for several years and on Saturday after a very hard fought game it boiled down to this; there were 19 more, of the 181 needed by Warwickshire for a win, still required with 7 wickets down and three overs remaining.

For the visitors the wickets were critical as they had arrived with only nine players. The question thus was could Metro’s pair of totals bowling at the death defend 19 from three overs?

Amit had the first ball, of the three, from the café end; his action sends the ball looping high and dropping on a length. Gerald is on strike but cannot make effective contact with the first two balls; but then the line strays leg side and two runs are taken to fine leg. A dot follows and then he gets solidly under one and lifts it high, for a one bounce four to fine leg. The field is in close, to try and prevent the single but he plays with soft hands to drop the ball onto the strip and race through for a single to keep the strike.

Hassan comes back to complete his spell from the scorebox end; his action very different – the ball low and skiddy, often close the its third bounce as it reaches the striker. The first ball is squirted to point; for just a single and Metro have what they want – the Warwickshire total on strike. Now an error from the keeper as the next ball slips past him and a bye is taken.

Warwickshire seem to take control next ball, Matt Dean at square leg strays behind square – for a no ball – that is driven past mid off for two. Seven needed from ten balls. Hassan holds his nerve and keeps it straight as two dots follow. Then Warwickshire take a single to third man, to put Gerald on strike for the last over and Ezekiel blocks out Hassan’s last ball. Six needed, or five as a tie will win it for the visitors as they have lost less wickets.

Amit pitches up and Mo, behind the stumps does well to block the ball; the next one is edged up and Mo makes no mistake holding the catch to set up a semi-final at Highgate on the 30th June against Yorkshire who beat Gloucestershire on Sunday.

Great celebrations by Metro follow.

Not that those quite match the individual celebrations from Amit at his earlier match winning contributions – his speed, after grabbing chances at short square leg from both Warwickshire’s England stars, could surely only be matched by one of the home side.

The first catch had been the breakthrough Metro were after as the visitors had looked to be taking control at 66 without loss after ten overs; before Justin was caught for 46. Luke marshalled the rest of the innings batting carefully and aware that the required run rate was always under control. He batted nearly two hours for his 45; departing sixth with the score on 151.

The Metro bowling display was brilliant, backed up by energetic and enthusiastic fielding to make sure that the rate never got too low. The best figures of the day belonged to Amit and Mo with two wickets each; Mo’s for just 23 runs from his six overs; while Gareth took four to add to his five from the week before.

Earlier in the afternoon, batting first after having been put in, the Metro innings was based on a rapid 52 from Matt Dean out of a score of 79 for three and then solid contributions from all led by Ryan who came in as Matt left and batted for over an hour in scoring 35 while the team score increased by ninety-five.

After he was out from the second ball of the twenty-sixth over with Luke and Justin bowling Metro collapsed; Mo followed at the end of the over bowled by Justin, leaving Rory as a spectator for the next over from Luke. This was a fast and accurate over – dot, bowled, no ball, dot, bowled, not and then lbw. Metro had not batted their full allowance of overs, as Justin had two left and Luke one, and surely had not scored enough.

It was all set up for a test of bowling skill and Hassan and Amit passed with flying colours.

Report by Paul Toplis

 

Soft Brexit? Hard Brexit? Soft Boiled Egg? Hard Boiled Egg?

Metro Devils Cricket Team

24th June

Ah those hard choices – the first of which on Saturday was for the Devil’s captain who won the toss and with a team of eight, including a debutant, had to choose to bat or bowl first. He elected to put the visitors, who had one more player, into bat.

A brief delay followed the toss waiting for the final Gloucestershire players to arrive. The game began on a day where the clouds were skidding past overhead quite fast on the breeze and the sun only flickered in brief spells, so perhaps with conditions to suit the bowlers. However, the three first choice bowlers in the side were played well by the Growlers opening pair who put on 79 for the first wicket, with no alarms.

It was not until Brenda was thrown the ball that a wicket fell – clean bowled from her fourth delivery, and then one brings two. In her next over, fifth ball, the same result. That was a high point for the home side as this brought the visiting skipper to the crease, who was joined by a new batsman only as the second opener retired on 52, so that by the time the Devil’s skipper bowled his third over and picked up another clean bowled wicket the score had moved on to 184.

The Devils were under pressure – relieved only a little by the retirement of the opposition captain as the Growlers pushed hard to take runs at every opportunity with their wickets in hand. It made for a frantic few final overs and three run outs for the home side before a declaration with the score on 226; with the visitors deciding not to put their retired batsmen back into the middle.

Tea followed, excellently organised by the home captain, in the absence of the regular catering team and the Devils had one of those choices – chase 227 from 26 overs to win, or bat out 26 overs for a draw – a losing draw, of course, in a Regional League match.

With Aemonn and Dave opening it looked as if the challenge of chasing down the total had been taken on. Growlers started well with a tight first over yielding just one run and disaster struck on the third ball of the second bowled by Marc, and perhaps one choice disappeared for the Devils. Dave let a ball go outside leg only for the blustery wind to bend it back in and caress the stumps or their base and the home team were three for one.

David and Aemonn dug in, with David hitting the ball well but was bowled when Dan, the Growler’s high-scoring opener, came on to bowl. There was then a brief flurry from the Devils as Everton hit a very brisk 17, all but one single in boundaries only to then offer a catch to who else but Dan. Brenda joined Aemonn and the choice of batting out seemed back in favour as runs were accumulated with few risks being taken and the next wicket did not fall until the start of the twenty-second over when she trapped leg before by, yes, Dan; Aemonn having retired on reaching 50.

So four down and twenty-nine balls to negotiate with three wickets in hand. However Joseph on debut misjudged his swing second ball and clipped the stumps bringing Hasmukh to join Roy with the momentum having swung to the visitors who now needed two more wickets from twenty-seven balls.

Roy was trapped LBW by Elise in the next over and so Aemonn had to return to the middle and now there were nineteen balls to bat out; single taken. Panic was now setting in for Gloucestershire as their minibus driver appeared and the departure time of six 0’clock had just passed so there was a rush on to bowl three overs, or less if possible, as fast as they could. Aemonn faced two, and Hasmukh four of the next over. Aemonn faced four in the next over and gave Hasmukh the last two.

So the choice was set, would it be yours – to have the hard hitting Aemonn on 59 from 53 balls to face the last over, or the soft hands of Hasmukh who had only faced seven. Regular followers of Metro cricket will recall the heroic defence shown by Hasmukh in snatching a draw from the jaws of a defeat at the cradle of cricket last season and so might have wanted to make use of this experience, especially with Dan bowling the last over.

They may have been right, who knows, as the Growlers were celebrating after just one ball as a swing and a miss to a straight ball brought him a fourth wicket to add to his 52 and a catch. So ended a close fought and very friendly game.

Two away games for Metro follow at Nottingham and then to Sussex for the BBS cup, while the next game at Highgate sees the Devils take on the Berkshire Stags.

Report by Paul Toplis 

Blink and You Miss It!

Metro Cricket Team

Highgate 13th August 2016

The commentators say that you might miss the cycling sprint events at the Olympics if you blink; you will also miss Metro winning at T20 if Matt Dean is on form, when opening the batting. His innings in full is given below but to start at the beginning the day started with Yorkshire winning the toss and electing to bat first under cloudy skies – and making a solid start to their innings.

9th Over Yorkshire 47 for 1 (George Ferguson 26, Dean Wilcox 4) Not the best over from Amit as he struggled to find a good line having been hit for four from the first ball of the over; twelve from it after he had conceded just thirteen from his previous two overs.

Wicket! Yorkshire 50 for 2. No great cheering as three wides bring up the 50 before Dean is caught behind by Gareth off the bowling of Andy Law.

Wicket! Yorkshire 51 for 3. Steve Bailey steers the ball out to point for a single to get off the mark from his first ball but then a huge moment in the game as George is fantastically caught at silly point by Hashmukh.

Wicket! Yorkshire 53 for 4. Andy’s over finishes with a wide and a single – but then the batsmen try to take two and it is very easy for Steve to be run out at the bowlers end, a suicidal second and the visitors now have an uphill battle to set a decent target with half the overs now complete.

16th Over Yorkshire 80 for 4. (John Garbett 10, Jordan Swann 14) The visiting skipper and Jordan have done well here facing Charles, Gareth and Rory to not lose another wicket but runs have been hard to come by and surely scoring a 5 an over will be easy for Metro in the second half of the match.

Wicket! Yorkshire 81 for 5. At last a reward for good bowling by Charles as Jordan lifts one to mid-wicket where the ever safe hands of Matt Dean take the catch; Vikings take just three singles for the loss of the wicket from this, Charles’ final over.

Wicket! Yorkshire 83 for 6. Rory to complete his spell of four overs and has Liam caught by Amit, before Evie scores from her second ball, then a no ball means that it is two overs in a row that have gone for three runs and a wicket.

20th Over Yorkshire 91 for 7. Matt Dean to John Garbett for the last over; which goes dot wide, dot, straight one on target and missed, so it is last man Colin Baxter who faces the three final balls of the innings and cannot add to the score.

As tea is still being set up there is just a fifteen-minute break before the second innings gets underway. Now the clouds have cleared from a pleasant blue sky and the afternoon has become warm – making it excellent conditions for playing cricket. It is best not to look at the bowling figures from Yorkshire, as all those who had to bowl at Matt found it hard work as only six wides and four no balls were needed in addition to Matt’s runs to go three past e visitor’s score; a Metro win by 9 wickets. However Matt is not available for finals day in Wolverhampton on 24th September, so others will need to step up that day.

Anyway for those who want a tee shirt with a full Matt Dean innings on it here is that 84 from 32 balls for you:

2,WD,4,0,NB,1,NB4,2,WD,3,4,4,NB4,2,1,WD,0,6,4,1,0,4,4,4,2,1,4,4,4,4,4,1,2,0,4.

Highgate 13th August 2016

Or if you want the full innings:

2,WD,4,0,NB,1,WD,WD,WD,0,0 NB4,2,WD,3,0,0,0,0 4,4,NB4,2,1,W,NB,0

WD,0,6,4,1,0,0 0,4,4,4,2,1 4,4,4,4,4,1 2,0,4

– Report by Paul Toplis