Tag Archives: Sussex

Cricket: Back to Cup Final!

Metro Cricket Team

Back to the Bowler; Back to the Cup Final

6th July 2019

Metro met Sussex for the first time since last year’s cup final in the semi-final at Highgate on a Saturday where a gentle breeze and good cloud cover made for excellent playing conditions. There was some variation a few spots of rain as the second innings got underway and warm sunshine as a very close and exciting match drew to an end.

Sussex won the toss and asked Metro to bat first; the game starting on time as both teams had overcome the chaos on the northern line to arrive in good time for pre-match warm up and practice. Metro made a steady start until the fifth over when Alex Towers bowled both Ryan and Andy to make the opening exchanges fairly equal.

Justin joined Matt D at the crease and this pair then put on 178 for the third wicket against some good tight bowling from Sussex. The stand was broken when Matt was out caught off the bowling of Phil Daniels, and the home skipper joined Justin with just over six overs remaining. Rory scored a very brisk 35 in a partnership of 65 before Justin was caught off the bowling of Dan Field. There was just time for Mark to face a single ball as Metro reached a total of 278.

A total that meant the match was set up for a good second half, as the chase was on and a good bowling and fielding effort would be needed if this was to be defended. The start was all that Metro might have dreamed of as first ball Hassan grabbed a catch from Amit’s bowling to dismiss the dangerous Dave Daniels. Hasan then opened from the other end as Dan Field came in a three. He played a magnificent innings scoring 181 from 103 balls with eighteen boundaries including two sixes, as well a vast number of well run twos – taking on all the Metro fielders.

The scoring worms were never very far apart for the whole innings, Sussex edged ahead early but after 15 overs had 126 compared with Metros 129. The Sussex worm went ahead again in the second half but Metro had been chipping away at the wickets so perhaps the defining moment of the game was when Ryan was asked to bowl the twenty seventh over. Dan hit the first ball hard but almost straight up; it was not the first chance offered as others had been put down. Ryan called for the catch, steadied himself and held on to grab the eighth wicket.

This was the second back to the bowler incident – the first having been an amazing run out by Amit, who might have been offered a return catch by Dan from a very well struck shot, but managed instead to deflect the ball onto the stumps and run out the unfortunate non-striker who had been, very properly, backing up. The final return was a catch taken by Justin the start the penultimate over of the thirty, although the match did not last quite that long as three balls later Justin hit the stumps to end the match – a win for Metro by 14.

This sets up Metro for a second cup final in a row – this year they will play Somerset at the Gloucestershire Brightside Ground in Bristol on the 31st August. Before that Metro will finish their National League campaign with three away matches, the first in a fortnight against Somerset followed by trips to Surrey and Kent.

They will be chasing Northants for a league title as the Steelbacks victory on Sunday over Somerset put them on top of the league. There are two more matches this season at Highgate – Lancashire visit again but this time for a T20 on 3rd August and the Devils entertain Berkshire on the 10th, in a match where they may still be in contention for a Regional League title.

Report by Paul Toplis



Three O’clock and Time for Tea

Metro Cricket Team

Three O’clock and Time for Tea

29th June 2019

A very hot day so tea was very welcome just before three – even more so as the game was already over! It was as if all you had to do was snooze gently in the sunshine just for a moment and you had missed a magnificent Metro performance. The Lions had arrived in third place in the league with a game in hand over Metro; this result places Metro in a strong league position ahead of their cup semi-final against Sussex next Saturday.

So with very little cricket to report on all that can be done is to take a look at all the overs bowled from the scoreboard end. The match started from there and with Mo given the ball. The first ball went through to the keeper; the next struck the batsman on the legs and there a huge appeal – given leg before!  Of course a total had to come to the crease requiring the bowler to adjust the action to get in two bounces; a task well managed as another ball went through to the keeper. The next ball again straight and no need for an appeal as the stumps were hit. The visiting skipper, a low partial, was in next so still two bounces needed and two more great dots through to the keeper.

A purple balloon drifting across the ground delayed the start of the third over as the umpire spent a few minutes escorting it off the ground. Did the delay upset Mo’s line; perhaps it did as the ball was done leg and flicked away by the batsman but straight into the hands of Prem at forty-five. Another change of length needed for the bowler as perhaps the best visiting batsman arrived at the crease. He got bat on the first ball but only to hit it straight back at the bowler. The next ball had good bounce and perhaps hit both body and bat; an appeal as Hassan advanced from short mid-wicket to grab the ball. It was four down with just two runs scored. The over was finished very neatly with three good dot balls.

With such great figures Mo had to be given a third over and he started it as he had begun with five more excellent dots, with two beating the bat, only on the last ball did the other visiting opener manage to get it away for a single. So those numbers; 3 overs, 2 maidens, 4 wickets and just one run!

He was replaced for the next over by Amit who got off to a magical start; dot ball and then the opener edging one to Nick behind the stumps. Next ball the incoming batsman steers it into prem’s hands at square leg to leave Amit on a hat trick. Sadly, it was not to be as the final visiting total saw off the rest of the over = although without hitting the ball. Amit had a tougher task in his next over as he was bowling at a partial who thumped the only boundary of the innings through square leg and another couple through third man. On the last ball of the over an appeal for a catch behind was turned down, only for the batsman to stray out of his crease and get stumped. Amit finishing his two overs with three wickets for 10 runs.

The home skipper took the ball for the next over from the box end, the first after tea, his first ball was struck to mid-wicket for a single to give him a total to bowl at. Two dot balls through to the keeper followed and then an appeal for leg before – given! It was all over as this was out as Hassan had got a half out in his over from the other end just before drinks.

So it was that only 32 were needed for a win and Metro juggled the batting order around to give a batting opportunity to those who often spent time watching others. However after Justin got out Nick was sent in to finish things off which he did with a boundary through square-leg. There it was a game finished in under two hours with all very pleased to be able to benefit from the shade as tea was enjoyed by all.

Report by Paul Toplis


Bowlers Win Match in Sri Lanka; or is that Sussex?

Metro Cricket Team

8th July

Metro certainly questioned the location on arrival at Hassocks station and left the comfort of an air-conditioned Southern train, which HAD run smoothly and on time, to be collected by the Sussex team mini-bus for the trip to Blackstone Farm.

The Metro game plan was disrupted from the start as Dan, once again the Sussex stand in skipper, won the toss and put the visitors in to bat. This meant that without Matt, Metro would have to set a total rather than, as they wanted, to chase having been able to assess the conditions. The pitch was hard and dry, the sunshine rather like the sub-continent and the breeze, which began as the match started gentle, blowing on a diagonal towards one side of the ground and the pavilion end.

The pitch was hard and dry, the sunshine rather like the sub-continent and the breeze, which began as the match started gentle, blowing on a diagonal towards one side of the ground and the pavilion end.

Rory stood in to open with Nick and was striking the ball well, with two boundaries, when Sussex brought on their total bowler and he got underneath one a little – picking out Dan who held on to a good catch.  He later grabbed a second catch off his own bowling to dismiss Nick with 59 having been scored. The Metro innings continued in much the same way for the whole innings as almost every player got a start but was not able to go on and get a big score.  Sussex were energetic

Sussex were energetic in the field backing up their strong bowling display and their experience was shown by intelligent field placing as they picked up two more catches by having Joe in the right place to dismiss both Mo and Gareth; while in between, he bowled both Mark and the top scorer Alex who hit 37. Metro batted through the full cup allowance of 30 overs; with two wickets to spare as Hassan was denied a bat. The strong fielding, however, had restricted the total to just 146 with only 56 coming from the last 15 overs; a great home side bowling display with the best figures those for Joe with three maidens and two wickets for just four runs.

At tea, Metro had to prepare for a tough second half of the match knowing that rather like in a league game they would have to take 10 wickets to win as surely Sussex would get home if they could bat their 30 overs. Metro did have just about their best bowling options available so could their bowlers get them home? Sussex opened with the ex-England pair of Joe and Andy who batted carefully so that although there were perhaps some half chances perhaps for the Metro totals to snaffle a catch, in particular, there were no run outs on offer and 56 were carefully compiled for the first wicket before Mo bowled Andy; and then one did bring two as Gareth picked up Dave with only one more added.

Now the critical point of the match arrived as Dan joined Joe and Metro faced the partnership that Sussex would see as that to score the bulk of their runs. The home side moved on carefully to 80 from the first 15; so, ten behind the worm but well up with the rate and with Dan having played himself in. In the final quarter, unlike earlier in the day in New Zealand where there two regulars of each side in an Eden Park box, the home side showed their strength.

The scoring rate was ramped up by Dan as the total was chased down with over seven overs to spare – Dan finishing with 53 while Joe had scored 65. It had been a fine effort by Metro but perhaps it was the “catches that won this match”, by four to nil. All the Metro bowlers did pretty well with Hassan deserving a mention as he got through his 4 overs with just one wide bowled – the only other Metro bowler to concede just one extra was the captain.

Sussex thus go to the BBS cup final to play the holders Warwickshire who beat Nottingham in the other semi=final after scoring over 350 in their 30 overs.

Metro’s next match is on the 29th against Lancashire – if they can find a ground, so if you have access to a pitch on that Rory wants to hear from YOU. The week before the Devils play Berkshire at Highgate.

Report by Paul Toplis 

Cricket: Have We Got Good Election News for You?

Metro Cricket Team

11th June

Well, you got what you voted for so to follow up the last match report here is either good news for those otherwise disappointed this weekend, or better news for those who are content.

Metro won a second home match in a row against a side who offered stiffer competition than Northants. However, the game showed how important numbers are: either for a majority or just to plugs gaps in the field – anyone who has thought why can we not have twelve fielders to plug that gap will know that if you play with just eight the gaps will be huge.

Sussex were the side who had to learn that lesson the hard way as Metro had a full side with Tom Barton starting his first game for them – having previously tormented the Devils when skippering Hampshire. Metro’s stand in captain, Matt Dean, lost the toss and was asked to bat on an afternoon where the sun was shining brightly and the wind was blustery.

Matt made good use of the gaps in the Sussex field – as they started with just seven as one player arrived late and was well supported by Nick as a huge 189 was amassed for the first wicket without offering the visitors any real chances – Nick offered a sharp chance to leg slip and eventually caught by Dave Daniels. One wicket brought the visitors two more quite quickly both Andy and Matt being bowled with just 21 more added to the score. Mo and Alex then batted sensibly to produce a total of 261 from 33 overs when the declaration came as tea had arrived.

The chase started pretty well for Sussex after an opening maiden from Mo as none of the first five bowlers used could deliver a wicket taking ball – perhaps because it seemed the catching cordon of totals were determined not to take a catch. However, with the score on 57 the master tactician arrived and put plan one into place on ball one. Toss it up nicely and see if Toby is interested in the big looking gap at mid-wicket; and indeed, he was but what he had not noticed was that Tom had been positioned at square leg and was able to sprint around and complete a good low catch.

To show that, unlike most politicians, he had a plan “B” Hassan allowed Joe a single to mid-wicket to get off strike and then softened up Dave with a few wide and very wide deliveries before fizzing one in gun barrel straight to knock over the stumps so with 2 wickets for four runs changed the course of the innings.

Some on the side were surprised that it was not until the fourteenth over that Tom was tossed the ball for a bowl; his second ball was a no ball driven down the ground by Dan but next ball there was revenge and Dan misjudged the ball in the wind and trying to pull square could only top edge to Mo at fine leg.

From that point with 99 on the board the innings became a procession of players who seemed reluctant to offer Joe any solid and sustained support as Alex picked up three wickets – two bowled and a catch from Mark Bond, who then ended the innings on 113 with a run out, and Joe stranded on 63 not out at almost a run a ball.

So, a solid league performance and an appetiser for the return game in the Cup semi-final on 8th July in Sussex.

Stat Attack: Metro runs scored

Third Man                                                           15 runs with one boundary

Off side, point to extra cover                       32 runs with three boundaries

Straight, mid off to mid on                           59 runs with five boundaries

Leg side, mid wicket to square leg            67 runs with five boundaries and a six

Fine Leg                                                               67 runs with eleven boundaries

Report by Paul Toplis

Cricket: Ten Short – Just Ten Short

Metro Cricket Team

7th August

It seemed as if Mo Ghalib had secured a draw for Metro at Sussex on Saturday; he had batted very carefully and patiently for over an hour and a half, facing 92 balls for his 50, and then he just popped the ball over the ring of total fielders to Dan Field at mid-wicket and was caught with just ten balls left in what had become an absorbing match.

Metro had taken a rather below full strength side with just nine players to the beautiful Sussex ground at Blackstone looking for a win to give them a chance of winning the BCEW league and the day, at the ground, had started well as Rory called “tails” correctly to win the toss and had asked the home side to bat first.  Metro had not had the best preparation for the game with very busy trains disrupting their travel to the ground.

It was a very sunny, warm day although there was a pleasant breeze to take the edge off the heat and Metro started well in the field almost getting a run out early. Mo took a good catch in the deep and Lois safely took one, while impressing behind the stumps, to give Gareth two wickets and limit the Sharks to 16 for 2 early on.

Good sharp fielding ran out the home side’s skipper with the score on 92 and the game seemed fairly evenly balanced but then Toby Collins joined Dan Field and the home side started to find the boundary as with limited numbers there were gaps in the field. This pair put on 189 with Toby scoring 57; when he went Dan continued to score quickly with a total of seven sixes scored mainly over the square leg boundary in his unbeaten 157.

Sussex declared after 30 overs having scored 327 and tea was taken; having it seemed ensured they would get a draw, although the main question was had they given themselves enough overs to get a win.

It seemed as if they had as wickets tumbled early – Alex Towers very pleased to take a catch to dismiss Mark, before Josh was bowled by ‘Tiny’ and then without any more runs being scored Matt was caught at mid-off by Toby and so Mo joined the Metro skipper with 22 on the board. Only another ten had been added when Rory was caught behind by the Sussex skipper and Mo began his marathon innings to look for a draw. Lois and Everton did not hold out for too long but Gareth then provided great support facing four full overs for a couple as the score moved to 87 with just over eight overs to go.

Sussex were concerned that they might not have enough overs left to take the win, and with it the league title, as the ‘Wembley Wall’ joined Mo in the middle. At this point Mo very carefully kept himself on strike – scoring only in boundaries apart from on the last ball of every over when he either placed the ball into a gap or just played ‘tip and run’ with Matt running for Hashmukh; who faced only three balls as twenty-six were added and both sides counted down the overs to go with different emotions.

Metro now face Yorkshire in the David Townley T20 cup competition next Saturday at Highgate, hoping to get a place at finals day on the 24th September at Wolverhampton cricket club.

– Report by Paul Toplis