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A win on the other side of the tracks

Saturday 5th September 2020

The 4ths travelled to Bridge Trust Old Boys, a ground literally framed on three sides by railway tracks. A ground that you have to cross the railway to get to the pitch — a first for me in all the grounds I have been to for Walmley. The sun was out, we had great parental support and I lost the toss and we were asked to bat.

Our median age had increased with old man Perry Henderson in our ranks, but our youthful team looked forward to battle. Our hope was short-lived as we crashed to 14 for 4 and an early close beckoned. Reiss Chagar and Viren Malhi started the fight back both reaching double figures before perishing as they threatened.

Zain Ali and I came together in over 21 and wanted to make Old Boys work. Zain hitting nine 4s and 3 huge 6s in his unbeaten 77. I supported with 28 as we push the innings to over 38 in an unbeaten partnership of 99!

Ridouan Asselman had been prowling awaiting his opportunity for our partnership to end and he and Zain closed our innings at 156 and a far cry from the 14 for 4 we were once at. The mature Old Boys knew they has a battle on their hands, and this was made harder when Ridouan opened with a wicket maiden. A few extras crept in that got the Old Boys score moving. However, the big difference between the two sides was the standard of fielding and we were great, epitomised by George Wyatt behind the stumps who showed what proper wicket keeping was about.

Old Boys 3 and 4 became a real thorn in our side and were starting to motor along the scoreboard along. The spin of Shayaan Tahir and Tom Cleaver slowed them down, but still the bad ball was being punished. I brought myself on and with my third ball a top edge looped to Perry Henderson and the partnership was broken. I also got number four to the hungry George who was given an inch by the batsman out of his crease and he took the stumping dispatching him back to the pavilion (well, bench by the fence) and not too soon as perhaps he should have gone sooner, surely 11 players and a nick off the bat couldn’t all be wrong, but now we had him.

The flow of the game was with Old Boys they had reached 103 for 4 at 24 overs, but our spin and fielding started to check them. We had chances, some very difficult ones but we got our hands to them, but they didn’t stick.

Shayaan Tahir got a breakthrough and a deserved reward for a spell of 9 overs for 29 and ended with 2 wickets exposed the weakened tail of the Old Boys. We went back to a little bit of pace to force them game, the score kept moving.

Our star of the day Zain Ali then came to centre stage and focused on the three stumps at the opposite end of the track. Zain came in and finished with 7.4 overs, 4 wickets for 14 runs. This meant the game had swung back to Walmley, 2 overs to go, Old Boys needed just 11 to overhaul our total. They got a 2 before Zain bowled and the stumps tumbled for a hard fought and deserved victory.

Great team effort all round, spirit and performance a great day on the other side of the train tracks.

Alex Carey – Capt.

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