Sunday XI v The Gents of Hampstead 5th June 2016

King bangs the drum

King bangs the drum

Sunday XI v The Gents of Hampstead 5th June 2016
12 Jun
Sunday XI v The Gents of Hampstead 5th June 2016
Posted by: Mat Armstrong
Year: 2016

M&B beat The Gents of Hampstead by 84 runs, after an entertaining batting performance at a hot Bray on Sunday. With the temperatures rising the toss was all important. For the 5th time out of 6, Armstrong lost the toss and feared the worse. The opposition skipper though asked M &B to bat, happy days ! M & B opened with a new formation of Alex Hess and Jawad Murtaza. Both batsmen batted aggressively from the off and feasted off anything short and offline. Hess made his intentions clear by hitting the opening bowler into the net for 6 in the second over and Murtaza cut his second ball for 4.Both batsmen were strong on the drive and cut. Murtaza benefitted from an early life at mid-on but continued to play his attacking game. The 50 was brought up in only the 6th over before Murtaza was out caught in the next over for 24. Despite a pleasing sweep for 4 to get off the mark the usually prolific Yusuf Qureshi was dismissed 8th ball for only 7, as he carelessly half heartedly drove to extra cover. Skipper Armstrong was beginning to worry as Hess was castled in the 9th over to leave M & B 66 for 3 in the 9th over !

Relief was at hand in the unlikely guise of Blair King, who had been drafted into the side at late notice the previous evening. King a talented batsmen 4 or 5 seasons ago, had taken a sabbatical to concentrate on the drums instead ! So King arrived at the crease to accompany Gunbarul, having refused the invitation of a net, in his distinctive light blue helmet. Second ball King was off and running playing a lofted drive for 2. King was helped by the fact that Gunbarul was at his belligerent Sunday best. Hitting a 6 into the net off opening bowler Bell to start his boundary count and smashing spinner Fayaz's first ball high into the scorebox tree for 6. He took a special liking to slow left armer Bell, hitting 3 4's and a 6 in his first over. All the while King was reacquainting himself to the art of batting, playing a solid defence and showing a surprisingly fleetness of foot to the spinners to get to the pitch of the ball and drive. The longer King batted the better he became, fluent on the drive and the odd back cut. Despite the loss of 3 wickets in the space of three overs King & Gubarul feasted on the loose offerings of the bowlers and racked up a century partnership in 10 overs. Gunbarul reached his 50 in a mere 36 balls and was eventually dismissed for 75, courtesy of finely judged catch by A Bell, which included 8 4's and 4 6's. In the end the 4th wicket added 112 in 12 overs. No.6 Alexander Le Clerq was obviously suffering from pad rash and was castled first ball by one which allegedly turned through his defences. Drinks were taken during the 20th over at the strange score of 179 for 5. No 7 Faisal Aziz didn't hang about either, hitting 4 boundaries in a rapid 17 in a couple of overs. In the meantime King reached a well deserved half century. Sunday veteran Atif Amin didn't trouble the scorers and it was becoming apparent that King may be left stranded. Thomas Allen hung around for 3 overs but was then lbw, completely missing the slowest ball imaginable, as he played down the wrong line. So it was left to the skipper Armstrong to enter the fray in only the 29th over. For a batsman totally out of form he was given two starts for 10 by Saunders, who bowled two leg side full tosses which were gratefully dispatched to the short legside boundary. Alas the partnership with King was short lived as King was surprisingly bowled through the gate by a ball which nipped back to take the off stump. Still a great innings from King of 67, which included 9 4's - the Jubilee next for Mr King, best of luck. So in only the 30th over last man Chris Butler walked to the wicket with 247 on the board. The last wicket then added 27 in 6 overs as both Armstrong 25 and Butler 10no managed to reach double figures, whatever next - power to the Woodworm! In the end M & B were dismissed for 274 in the 36 over, which was probably a blessing in disguise as otherwise the innings would have gone on to past 5pm!

Armstrong opened with the Tin man and Alexander Le Clerq. Amin got his away swing working from the off and Le Clerq bowled generally an off stump line. Opener Matt Bell unfortunately favoured the off side as he regularly pierced it with drives and cuts. The Gents got off to a good start with 30 posted in the fourth over. Amin made what proved to be a crucial breakthrough as Bell was expertly caught by keeper Hess standing up to the wicket. Thereafter the batsmen were more circumspect. Armstrong brought the Sunday regular spinners on. It was really junior partner Thomas Allen who really swung the game M & B's way as he bowled an excellent spell of tight off spin at a reasonable pace and unerring off stump line, which the batsmen could just not get away. Allen's short spell ended at 5/2/10/0, and he probably hasn't bowled better without taking a wicket. Senior spinner Chris Butler complemented Allen by bowling a spell of 5 overs for 21 runs. At drinks the rate had climbed to around 9 an over and new bowler Faisal Aziz's tight spell of off spin made the result a formality. Aziz bowled a very similar line to Allen, bowling a shade quicker and dismissing the two set batsmen, one bowled off stump the other caught at slip as the batsman played across the line. Aziz cleaned up another batsman off stump as well to finish with figures of 5/0/23/3. Skipper Matt Armstrong continued his good game by actually getting wickets as well, four of them, all clean bowled, as he bowled full and straight as the batsmen generally played across the line. Armstrong finished with figures of 4/0/13/4 and benefited from wearing his new shuffleless bowling shoes. Yusuf Qureshi picked up the other two wickets bowling assorted filth to bring victory for M & B. King just shaded the man of the match from Armstrong on the basis this was his first game for over four seasons.

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