Sunday XI v Old Gentlemen of Hampstead 11th June 2017
Posted by: Mat Armstrong
M & B had a convincing victory by 214 seats(runs), which the Conservatives would have been proud of over a weak Gents of Hampstead side. The Gents were jolly decent in giving M & B first use of a reasonable deck. Regular opener Blair King was partnered by debutant Dan Callieu, a chef from the Hinds Head. Dan was unable to gorge on the Gents offering, even though he was given an early reprieve by the considerate Gents, after he had been given incorrectly out. Dan perished for an extended duck in the sixth over, by which time King had raced to 15, mainly via well timed drives and 12 extras had been donated, making an opening stand of 27. 4th X1 captain Ben Ward was in at no.3, and along with King saw off the tight opening spell of Leahy. From then on a plethora of poor deliveries helped the batsmen increase the tempo. Ward was strong in the "V" but played the odd cut and shot through square leg. Ward was the aggressor in the partnership and mainly dealt in boundaries, which was just as well as he began to struggle with the singles. Ward hit 6 4's and a 6 as he reached 52 in 13 overs. Alas he smeared across the line to the spinner and was bowled middle stump when a daddy score was there for the taking. The partnership garnered 91 runs in 13 overs and laid the platform for a large score. King was joined at the wicket by Ash Becker, who was considerably quicker between the wickets than Ward. It became noticeable after Ward's dismissal that King was intent on going the distance and cashing in, especially after scoring 60 in the league the previous day. King was happy to play out the few good ball that were delivered and feast on the other deliveries. As always he was strong on the drive but was able to pull and hook the many short balls and full tosses which were delivered. Becker pushed a few singles early on but could easily accelerate with the number of loose deliveries. His driving was as always to the fore and he was able to pull and hook balls through square leg and cow corner. Their partnership of 144 in 17 overs took the game away from the Gents. Becker was dismissed in the 37th over when opening bowler Leahy returned the fray, by which time he had posted his second consecutive career best score of 77, which contained 10 4's and 2 6's. King couldn't quite carry his bat and was dismissed for 122 to the second ball of the last over, his innings included 14 4' and 2 6's. This may well have been his career best score(?) but I am sure he has played better innings against much better bowling attacks. Leahy finished with excellent figures of 8 overs 2 for 26 in a score of 284 for 4 off 40 overs. It seemed a surprise that he was saved for the final three overs, when the damage had been done, rather than return earlier with a possibility of getting wickets earlier.
After a hearty tea Kieran Grey and Amber Moorthy opened the bowling for M & B. Moorthy dismissed opener Saunders courtesy of another slip catch by Becker. The other opener Will Lewis looked as though he could compile a big score, solid in defence but quick to drive off front and back foot. Unluckily for him and the Gents though, Moorthy produced a peach to terminate his innings at 27, with a delivery which appeared to angle in, seam and hit the top of off. A couple of overs later he dismissed captain Matt Bell courtesy of a fine diving catch in the covers by Kieran Grey. For once Moorthy got the wickets his bowling deserved and he finished with 8/2/23/3 to leave M & B completed on top. A quick burst of three overs from Gunbarul was too much for numbers 5 & 6 as both were castled, no. 5 wit the trademark Gunbarul inswinging yorker. For a change half the opposition were out before M & B's spin twins, Butler & Allen could get in on the act. It didn't take Chris Butler long to strike though as Becker snared another catch at slip and shortly after Grey took an easier catch in the covers. The spinners quickly put the Gents out of their misery to dismiss them in 24.4 overs for 70. Tom Allen finished with figures of 4/2/2/2 and Butler with figures of 3.4 over 3 for 2. This took Butler's wicket tally to 14 wickets in only 5 games.
M & B got their 2018 Sunday season off to an inauspicious with a 105…
Mat Armstrong - May 11, 2018
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