Thursday 13 September 2007

2007 Results Summary

Crow Road Results Summary 2007
WDCU Div 5

Date Opposition H/A Result Pts (Oppn Pts)

28/04 v Bees H Lost by 14 runs 9 (25)
06/05 v Hillend A Won by 2 wkts 25 (5)
12/05 v Alps H Lost by 52 runs 8 (25)
20/05 v Hillhead Wanderers A Cancelled - (-)
26/05 v Home Park H Won by 90 runs 25 (8)
02/06 v Marress H Lost by 7 wickets 3 (25)
09/06 v Scotindians A* Drawn 14 (18)
16/06 v Ardencaple A Cancelled - (-)
23/06 v Whiteinch A Abandoned - (-)
30/06 v Bees A Abandoned - (-)
14/07 v Alps A Lost by 5 wickets 4 (25)
22/07 v Hillhead Wanderers H Won by 34 runs 25 (8)
28/07 v Home Park A Lost by 7 wickets 2 (25)
04/08 v Marress A Drawn 8 (19)
11/08 v Scotindians H Cancelled - (-)
12/08 v Hillend H Won by 9 wickets 25 (1)
18/08 v Ardencaple H Cancelled - (-)
25/08 v Whiteinch H Lost by 108 runs 6 (25)

Pos Pl W L D Conc Can/Abd Pts Deduct %age
6. 12 4 6 2 0 6 154 0 51.33

* Scotindians’ home match v Crow Road played at Old Anniesland

WDCU Divison 5 – 2007 Final Table

Played Won Lost Drawn Can/Abd Conceded Points Deductions Points %
1. Scotindians 13 10 2 1 5 0 277 0 277 85.2
2. Home Park 12 8 3 1 6 0 237 10 227 75.7
3. Alps 11 6 4 1 7 0 185 0 185 67.3
4. Whiteinch 13 7 4 2 5 0 220 10 210 64.6
5. Ardencaple 10 4 2 4 8 0 159 10 149 59.6
6. Crow Road 12 4 6 2 6 0 154 0 154 51.3
7. Hillhead W 9 2 5 2 9 0 101 0 101 44.9
8. Marress 12 3 6 2 6 1 136 10 126 42
9. Bees 9 2 6 1 9 0 92 0 92 40.9
10. Hillend 13 3 8 0 5 2 121 30 91 28

Scotindians and Home Park promoted to WDCU Division 4

Ardrossan, Inverclyde and Rouken Glen relegated from WDCU Division 4

Tuesday 11 September 2007

2007 season records

Crow Road 2007 Season Records

Scores of 50 or over
103 G Smillie v Scotindians (A*) 09/06
79 T Mehmood v Whiteinch (H) 25/08
73 M Hussain v Alps (H) 12/05
61 G Smillie v Home Park (H) 26/05
58* A Mishra v Hillend (H) 12/08

4 or more wickets in an innings
7-53 L Curtis v Hillend (A) 06/05
6-44 T Mehmood v Scotindians (A*) 09/06
5-67 A Christie v Alps (H) 12/05
4-7 A Hussain v Hillend (H) 12/08
4-10 Z Iqbal v Whiteinch (A) 23/06
4-20 W Hussain v Home Park (H) 26/05
4-45 G Reid v Hillhead Wands (H) 22/07
4-51 A Malik v Home Park (H) 26/05
4-54 D Allen v Bees (H) 28/04
4-60 S Alcock v Marress (A) 04/08

Z Iqbal v Whiteinch (A) 23/06

50 partnerships
107 for 3rd G Smillie & A Rixon v Scotindians (A*) 09/06
95 for 6th I Thomson & G Stewart v Hillhead Wands (H) 22/07
94 for 5th G Smillie & A Rixon v Home Park (H) 26/05
64 for 8th T Mehmood & Z Iqbal v Whiteinch (H) 25/08
61 for 6th M Hussain & A Malik v Alps (H) 12/05
57 for 1st D Allen & A Rixon v Bees (H) 28/04
In total, 70 runs were added for this wicket. A Mishra retired hurt after adding 13 with Allen
56 for 1st A Mishra & I Thomson v Hillend (H) 12/08
55 for 7th A Malik & Blaal Hussain v Home Park (H) 26/05
53 for 1st S Alcock & A Rixon v Marress (A) 04/08
50 for 1st G Smillie & A Mishra v Scotindians (A*) 09/06
50 for 2nd G Smillie & T Mehmood v Scotindians (A*) 09/06

Team totals over 200
253-7 v Scotindians (A*) 09/06
229-8 v Hillhead Wands (H) 22/07
227 v Home Park (H) 26/05
Dismissing opposition for under 100
75 Hillend (H) 12/08

Lowest team total
92 v Home Park (A) 28/07

Highest total conceded
257 Scotindians (A*) 09/06

* Scotindians’ home match v Crow Road played at Old Anniesland

2007 final averages

Crow Road 2007 Averages

Batting & Fielding (Min: 3 completed innings)

Name M I NO Runs HS 100s 50s Ave Ct/St
G Smillie 11 9 1 279 103 1 1 34.88 7
A Mishra 5 5 2 94 58* 0 1 31.33 5/1
M Hussain 6 5 1 98 73 0 1 24.50 3
I Thomson 6 5 1 75 48 0 0 18.75 0
A Rixon 13 10 1 156 45 0 0 17.33 4
A Christie 5 4 0 59 35 0 0 14.75 3
G Stewart 4 4 0 56 43 0 0 14.00 3
U Ali 4 4 1 40 26 0 0 13.33 0
S Alcock 8 7 1 59 17 0 0 9.83 2
A Khan 5 4 1 25 11 0 0 8.33 1
Z Iqbal 9 6 2 32 21 0 0 8.00 0
I Hussain 3 3 0 23 17 0 0 7.67 0
Blaal Hussain 4 4 0 16 9 0 0 4.00 1
I Miller 7 4 1 12 10 0 0 4.00 2

Also batted: Played in 5 matches – G Reid 0, 2, 8* (1 ct); Bilal Hussain 13, 1 (2 ct); Played in 4 matches – A Fleming 8; Played in 3 matches – D Tate 1, 0*, 3; L McDermid 0, 0*; A Hussain 15; J Fleming 0, 17 (1 ct); E Allen 1, 0; Played in 2 matches – A Mustoe 7, 1 (1 ct); W Murray 0, 0; A Malik 14, 36*; G Semple 0, 3; H Livingston 0, 1*; T Mehmood 20, 79; U Afzal 9, 0; K Ali 21, 13; C Bilsland 7*, 2; I Roy 0, 11; R Allen 0, 0; Played in 1 match – D Allen 35; A Stewart 6 (1 ct); C Stewart 0; M Gibson 7* (1 ct); A Mansell 35 (1 ct); L Curtis 4; J Pulley 0*; D Hoffmann 8 (1 ct); W Hussain 2; J McGrath 5; A Kirk 5; C Dickson 28.

Bowling (Min: 5 wickets)

Name 0 M R W BB 5w/i Ave (Econ)
L Curtis 13 1 53 7 7-53 1 7.57 (4.08)
T Mehmood 27 5 70 8 6-44 1 8.75 (2.59)
A Rixon 18.2 3 85 7 3-32 0 12.14 (4.64)
A Fleming 20 5 66 5 2-16 0 13.20 (3.30)
G Reid 50.2 5 191 11 4-45 0 17.36 (3.79)
U Afzal 26.5 3 104 5 3-37 0 20.80 (3.88)
A Christie 41 4 178 8 5-67 1 22.25 (4.34)
Z Iqbal 45.5 7 225 10 4-10 0 22.50 (4.91)

Also bowled: D Allen 12.4-0-54-4; U Ali 4.4-0-33-1; A Khan 37-7-149-4; A Stewart 1-0-10-0; S Alcock 11-0-87-4; G Smillie 26-1-107-2; W Murray 7-0-45-2; A Hussain 20.1-4-81-4; I Hussain 18.2-0-73-2; A Malik 17-3-72-4; W Hussain 5.5-0-20-4; Blaal Hussain 4-0-27-3; J McGrath 4-0-36-0; K Ali 27-8-66-4; Bilal Hussain 28.5-4-108-2; C Bilsland 2-0-22-0; I Roy 9-1-28-2; E Allen 25-2-79-4.

45 players appeared for Crow Road in 14 matches in 2007.

Saturday 25 August 2007

Crow Road v Whiteinch, 25/08/2007

Crow Road v Whiteinch
WDCU Div 5, Old Anniesland, 25/08/2007

Whiteinch won toss and elected to bat

McGinnis lbw b I Hussain 6
Salar b Christie 34
# Wasif c Stewart b Allen 75
Akhtar run out (Rixon) 68
Aamar c Blaal Hussain b Allen 4
Adnan b Allen 4
* Quddoos b Mehmood 3
Sohail b Mehmood 0
Hogg not out 1
Mahsood b Blaal Hussain 7
Zulfiqar not out 2
Extras 25
Total (9 wkts, 40 ovs) 229

Allen 11-1-44-3, Mehmood 12-2-26-2, I Hussain 4-0-29-1,
Christie 5-0-41-1, Iqbal 6-0-67-0, Bilal Hussain 1-0-6-0,
Blaal Hussain 1-0-5-1

Crow Road
# A Mishra b Sohail 2
G Smillie b Akhtar 1
T Mehmood b Quddoos 79
G Stewart b Akhtar 1
A Christie run out 0
* A Rixon b Akhtar 0
I Hussain b Akhtar 2
Bilal Hussain b Quddoos 1
Z Iqbal not out 9
Blaal Hussain st Wasif b Quddoos 0
E Allen b Mahsood 0
Extras 26
Total (all out, 25.4 ovs) 121

Sohail 4-0-19-1, Akhtar 8-3-10-4, Quddoos 9-0-54-3,
Mahsood 4.4-0-30-1

Whiteinch won by 108 runs
Crow Road 6 pts, Whiteinch 25 pts

Match Report

Crow Road’s 2007 season drew to a close in disappointing fashion at Old Anniesland as a strong Whiteinch side eased to victory in a match marred by some unsporting behaviour. Whiteinch, Victoria’s 2nd XI, fielded one player who wouldn’t be out of place in the SNCL, and he duly put in match-winning performances with both bat and ball to ensure Crow Road were never in contention. Despite this clear gulf in class, however, the visitors still felt compelled to produce a succession of scandalous umpiring decisions during their batting innings which set an unpleasant tone for the rest of the match. The nadir was reached when a succession of close shouts by Tariq were rejected by an umpire who claimed “I will never give an lbw, so don’t bother appealing for them”. The Whiteinch captain then ran on to the field to confront Tariq about his ‘excessive appealing’ – behaviour which may result in Crow Road following the lead of Home Park and lodging a formal complaint about the Victoria side with the WDCU committee.

The match itself was an 80-over affair, with the start delayed until 2pm due to a sodden outfield. Given the rooster-tail of spray that kicked up every time the ball rolled across the grass, it was a bad toss to lose, but lose it Rixon did and Crow Road were duly asked to bowl first. For a variety of reasons, only 7 of Crow Road’s XI actually made it on to the field for the first over, but Ewan Allen showed he didn’t need any fielders by keeping the ball full and straight and pinning the Whiteinch opener plumb in front, only to receive a shake of the head from the umpire.

Crow Road were soon up to a full eleven, but there wasn’t much to chase in the field as the ball kept hitting the pads. With the umpires turning down Ewan and Tariq’s every appeal, however, there was little option but to try other bowlers. Ijaz came on and somehow managed to win an lbw decision with his fifth ball, then Yoda replaced Tariq and picked up the second wicket in his third over. These successes brought Wasif and Akhtar together at the crease and they demonstrated the carnage that can be wreaked when aggressive players with a good eye take on the short boundaries around the Old Anniesland astro. Ijaz, Yoda and Zishaan all came in for heavy punishment as 6 after 4 after 6 was dispatched either straight or over the leg side and the score raced towards 200 at close to a run a ball.

Ewan came back on to stem the tide and made the crucial breakthrough when he had Wasif sky one over point, where the ever-reliable Gordi Stewart ran back to take a fine catch. This was the start of Ewan’s best spell yet for the club as he cleaned up the rest of the middle order to finish with 3-44. Meanwhile Akhtar ran himself out, Tariq came back on to take two wickets in two balls and Blaal inevitably took a wicket in his first over (as he has done every time he’s bowled for Crow Road this year). In spite of this late collapse, however, Whiteinch’s final score of 229-9 off 40 overs still represented a tough target for Crow Road.

Back in June, a top three of Smillie, Ashutosh and Tariq scored 152 between them to lay the foundations for the epic run-chase against Scotindians. Now, the same three players had to repeat the trick if Crow Road were to mount a victory charge. Unfortunately, just two balls into the innings, Ashutosh missed a straight one and was sent packing. This may have been a sensible move on his part, however, as the bowler who opened from the other end turned out to be surely one of the quickest ever seen in Division 5. Not content with his earlier 50, Akhtar destroyed the Crow Road middle order with bowling well in excess of 70mph, made all the more difficult to play because his run-up and arm action were relatively slow.

In his last game for GHK before moving to Bournemouth, Smillie was bowled by one he claimed not to have seen – an unfortunate end to his fantastic season for the 3s, in which he scored almost double the runs of the next best batsman despite missing several matches with a broken finger. Gordi Stewart replaced him and clung on grimly for 22 balls before he also had his stumps demolished by Akhtar. This brought Yoda to the wicket and he provided a bit of black comedy among all the carnage, being bowled first ball off what turned out to be an Akhtar no-ball, only to be run out having wandered from his crease. The procession continued as Rixon and Ijaz were also bowled by Akhtar, who was finally, mercifully brought off after completing 8 overs, 7 of which had seen no runs come off the bat.

Having managed to survive the collapse, Tariq was now well placed to cash in against the change bowlers and he unsurprisingly let rip with a thrilling barrage of boundaries. At one stage he hit consecutive balls for 46646614, moving from 29 to 79 in the space of 18 balls and adding 64 for the 8th wicket with Zishaan (who contributed 4). After Tariq was bowled by a full toss, Zishaan continued to work the ball around nicely, but received scant support from Billy, Blaal and Ewan and was left stranded as the innings closed on 121 (triggering a mass exodus to Kelburne to watch the conclusion of the 1s title-clinching victory)..

With nine home batsmen failing to pass two, the scorecard didn’t make for very pretty reading, but the overall haul of 6 bonus points was sufficient to confirm Crow Road in 6th place in the final Division 5 table for 2007, a fair reflection on a solid season. Given that we lost both of last year’s opening batsmen and one of the opening bowlers over the winter, this year could have been a real struggle. However, a number of squad players have upped their game and contributed the extra runs and wickets required, meaning that our results have stayed roughly the same as in 2006. Of course next year we won’t have Smillie, so each player will have to improve by 20% again to fill the gap, but we’re such a young team that I’m sure we can manage that and, with some luck, mount a promotion challenge.

Ultimately, though, the main key to success in Division 5 is simply to field a full team week-in, week-out. Thanks to the 45 players...yes, 45...who appeared for Crow Road this season, we managed to do it in pretty much every match. You can’t underestimate how important that is in securing a good league placing, so to all 45 of you, thanks very much and see you again next season.

Sunday 12 August 2007

Crow Road v Hillend, 12/08/2007

Crow Road v Hillend
WDCU Div 5, Old Anniesland, 12/08/2007

Crow Road won toss and elected to field

* Robertson b Allen 17
Singh b B Hussain 5
# Baum lbw b Fleming 12
Cahn lbw b Christie 2
Keast c B Hussain b A Hussain 2
Sperling b Fleming 0
Farrell c Christie b A Hussain 0
Terrace b A Hussain 2
Jesus not out 8
McDougall c B Hussain b A Hussain 0
Extras 27
Total (all out, 33.1 ovs) 75

Allen 7-1-14-1, B Hussain 7-1-23-1, Fleming 7-3-16-2,
Christie 5-0-13-1, A Hussain 7.1-3-7-4

Crow Road
# A Mishra not out 58
I Thomson run out 7
G Smillie not out 3
Extras 8
Total (1 wkt, 10.4 ovs) 76
* A Rixon, A Christie, A Hussain, S Alcock, I Miller, A Fleming, B Hussain and E Allen did not bat

Farrell 4-0-12-0, Singh 4-0-44-0, Keast 1.4-1-4-0,
Cahn 1-0-16-0

Crow Road won by 9 wickets
Crow Road 25 pts, Hillend 1 pt

Match Report

After persistent rain put paid to Crow Road’s fixture against Scotindians on Saturday, it was a relief to get some play on a dreary Sunday as Hillend visited Old Anniesland. Showers disrupted play on more than one occasion, the astroturf was in pretty poor condition and the outfield resembled a meadow of wheat, but Crow Road made the best of a bad job and raced to victory over the Greenock side in less than 45 overs playing time.

The toss was all-important and, after tails failed for the Hillend captain, Rixon got the chance to unleash a potent Crow Road attack on the visitors, with Ewan Allen and Billy Hussain heading up a strong quintet of bowlers. The Hillend openers made solid early progress, but the damp astro wicket was causing a number of balls to stay low and before too long Singh was dismissed when a short ball from Billy skidded past his attempted pull and hit the stumps. Moments later a sharp shower forced the players from the field for 15 minutes and, with the first ball after the resumption, Ewan removed the other opener to claim his first senior wicket for GHK. This proved to be the key breakthrough as none of the remaining batsmen were able to get the ball through the damp, overgrown infield and the Hillend run rate dried up completely.

Wickets also continued to tumble – Yoda’s second ball trapped Cahn lbw to make it 42-3 and then Andy Fleming embarked on a spell of 3-3-0-2 which included a number of superb balls, although the two wicket taking deliveries weren’t among them, both under-pitched but keeping low. Adil joined in the carnage when he came on to bowl leg breaks, having Farrell well caught by Yoda in the deep, then turning one past the defences of the Hillend No. 8 to take the score to 55-7. In all, 4 wickets had gone down for 3 runs in 5 overs.

If anyone was going to save Hillend, it surely had to be the next batsman in, listed in the scorebook as ‘Jesus’. He did stick around for a while but was let down by his two remaining disciples, who both found Adil’s flight and accuracy too much to handle and popped up catches to Billy at short cover. With Hillend a player short, this brought the innings to a close at 75, easily the lowest total against Crow Road this season. The conditions were heavily in the favour of the fielding side, but the bowlers still had to maintain a good line to make the most of them, and by and large that’s what they did (Yoda’s exploratory over of spin being the notable exception!).

After the tea break was prolonged by a heavy shower, the ground was wetter than ever as Ashutosh and Stroppy walked out to open the Crow Road innings. The chances of hitting a boundary all along the ground were now nil, which didn’t suit Stroppy’s game at all and reduced him to working singles and the odd 2. At the other end, however, Ashutosh was going ballistic. Seemingly oblivious to the uneven bounce, he survived a couple of early scares to demolish the Hillend bowling attack, negating the problem of long grass by repeatedly launching the ball in the air for 6s or one-bounce 4s.

At one stage, he clouted 35 off just 9 balls as an over from Singh disappeared for 20 and another from Cahn went for 16. Somewhere in the middle of it all, Stroppy was run out when Ashutosh didn’t respond to a call for an easy single, but it didn’t particularly matter as Smillie came in at No. 3 and hit the winning runs soon after. This was his first innings since he broke his finger four weeks ago, and thankfully he came through it without any discomfort.

The star of the show, though, was Ashutosh, who had brought up his first GHK 50 with his fifth 6 and eventually walked off unbeaten on 58 (40 mins, 31 balls, 5x4, 5x6). He scored over 76% of the runs in the Crow Road innings, surely some kind of record, and made a mockery of conditions that had caused problems for every other batsman in the match.

Crow Road’s 4th and easiest win of the season leaves us sitting comfortably in mid-table around the 54% mark. Victory in the last two games of the season could just sneak us into the top four, but this result indicates how much more could be achieved if it we were able to field a decent-strength side every week. None of today’s bowling changes made life any easier for the Hillend batsmen and, had Crow Road lost early wickets, we had regular opening batsmen lined up to come in at Nos. 3, 4, 6 and 7! The only negative was the state of the astro and the outfield. Seeing as the 3s haven’t had a single chance to play on the Old Anniesland square this season, the least we can ask is for the astroturf and its surroundings to be kept in far better condition than what we put up with today.

Saturday 4 August 2007

Marress v Crow Road, 04/08/2007

Marress v Crow Road
WDCU Div 5, Irvine, 04/08/2007

Crow Road won toss and elected to field

Sharp b Roy 4
* M Ingram lbw b Smillie 106
Cooney b Roy 0
Conway c Rixon b Alcock 2
D Ingram b Rixon 4
Mudunuri b Alcock 0
Fernando c and b Alcock 0
Mitchell c Miller b Alcock 0
McMeeking lbw b Rixon 42
Taylor b Rixon 15
# Ram not out 0
Extras 45
Total (all out, 46.2 ovs) 218

Khan 11-3-39-0, Roy 9-1-28-2, Alcock 8-0-60-4,
Rixon 7.2-2-32-3, Smillie 9-1-30-1, Bilsland 2-0-22-0

Crow Road
S Alcock c Conway b D Ingram 17
* A Rixon b Mudunuri 29
C Bilsland b Mudunuri 2
# G Semple b D Ingram 3
I Roy c Ram b D Ingram 11
A Khan b Sharp 4
C Dickson b Mudunuri 28
I Miller not out 2
R Allen c Conway b Mudunuri 0
L McDermid not out 0
Extras 32
Total (8 wkts, 53 ovs) 128
G Smillie did not bat

M Ingram 15-6-32-0, Conway 9-3-19-0, Mudunuri 12-6-10-4,
D Ingram 7-3-19-3, Sharp 5-0-20-1, Taylor 2-0-10-0,
Cooney 3-1-6-0

Match drawn
Marress 19 pts, Crow Road 8 pts

Match Report

For the second week running a host of absences left Crow Road seriously weakened, but unlike last week’s capitulation to table-topping Home Park, Saturday’s visit to wooden spoon candidates Marress resulted in a gutsy draw. With a bowling attack significantly depleted even compared to last week, it was a superb early effort from Crow Road to have the home side at 95-7. Unfortunately the bowlers then lost their way and allowed Marress to reach 218, but the inexperienced batting line-up responded admirably and stuck it out for 53 overs to escape with a draw.

Rixon won an important toss and sent Marress in to bat on Irvine’s famously uneven pitch, choosing to open the bowling with Ali Khan and Iain “Jo” Roy. Both made tidy starts, keeping the run rate down to 2, and the pressure soon told as Jo made a double breakthrough, bowling Sharp and Cooney in consecutive overs. When he reached his 7 over limit as a U18, Steve-o came on and offered the batsmen no respite, with his left-arm line extracting some particularly unusual bounce from the pitch. Rixon responded by positioning himself at short square leg and this plan paid off almost straight away as Conway could only fend a rising delivery into his hands.

Ali took a break after 10 economical overs and was replaced by Rixon, who soon got among the wickets when the Marress No. 5 played around the line of one and was bowled. Steve-o then charged through the rest of the middle order, bowling Chatanya with a jaffer, plucking a sharp caught and bowled chance out of the air and finally inducing their No. 8 to pick out Iain at mid off. At the other end, however, the Marress captain Ingram was now well set and had started to punish Steve-o’s bowling as his team-mates fell around him, although he was extremely lucky to survive an lbw shout when hit on the full on off stump.

Ingram was joined by McMeeking at No. 9, and although he only had one shot – the one you usually associate with golf – it immediately proved effective as he smeared a couple of loose balls to the boundary to get off the mark. It was at this point that a number of things started to go wrong for Crow Road. The fielding got slacker, the field placement got a bit confused and most of all, the bowlers, who had all been performing well up to this point, lost their accuracy completely. Rixon bowled too short, Jo too wide, Ali somewhat spoiled his figures with a 12-ball, 16-run comeback over and only Smillie, brought on to bowl cutters despite his broken finger, maintained any kind of control.

Ingram’s scoring slowed up as he neared his century, but after he reached the landmark with a lofted drive for 3, some more free hitting by McMeeking took their 8th wicket partnership past 100. Then, 70-odd runs after he could have been given out, Ingram was finally adjudged lbw to Smillie and after brief resistance from the Marress No. 10, Rixon wound up the innings soon after. The final score of 218 was well above par considering the state of the wicket, and the fact that only three Marress batsmen scored more than 4 emphasised how difficult it was to get settled in. This was exactly what Crow Road’s top order would have to do, however, to stand any chance of chasing the target or batting out the 53 overs that remained.

Steve-o and Rixon made a solid start but in between every ball were on the receiving end of chat that could best be described as odd. Apparently Steve-o was a “flower” who the Marress bowlers needed to “sprinkle some seed on”, and if this wasn’t homo-erotic enough, there was also some indecent exposure in one of the overs when Steve-o found himself facing two balls more than he would have expected. It might have helped Marress if they’d concentrated more on their bowling and less on their banter as the opening partnership moved past 50 without too much trouble, the highlight being a glorious cut for 4 by Steve-o and the lowlight a costly drop by their keeper after Rixon edged one straight up in the air.

The first wicket fell in the 20th over when Chatanya, who routed Crow Road back in June, bowled Rixon with one that stayed lower than he’d expected. Vidal came in at No. 3 to keep things steady and did his job well, seeing off 6 tricky overs before he too was bowled. Meanwhile, Craig Dickson and Ross Purdon had showed up to spectate and, as Crow Road had only arrived with 10 players, there seemed no reason why one of them couldn’t bat. The idea was for Dickson to come in at No. 4 but the Marress captain asked for the rulebook to be consulted first and while this was done, Semple was sent out to the middle instead.

Fresh from a highly impressive wicket-keeping debut, Semple provided more solid support for Steve-o who by this stage had stopped scoring altogether – at one point managing just 2 runs off 47 balls. It was clear by now that winning the game was out of the question, but when Semple was unluckily bowled when the ball rolled back off his bat onto the stumps, Jo, Ali and Dickson (whose appearance didn’t seem to break any rules) were sent in at 5, 6 and 7 to try and up the scoring rate and collect some extra bonus points. Jo hit some lusty blows in his innings of 11, but soon became part of a middle order collapse triggered when Steve-o’s epic 130 minute, 109 ball 17 ended with an edge to slip. Jo then top edged a pull to a ball that bounced extravagantly and finally Ali, who had just smashed a superb off drive for 4, was bowled by a full toss. 81-3 had become 87-6 and, with 13 overs remaining, Crow Road were staring down the barrel.

Thankfully the 7th wicket pair had other ideas and put together a crucial partnership of 40. The two innings could hardly have been more different – Iain playing stonewall defence while Dickson flayed the bowling all over the park. Mixing hugely powerful shots with some sensible blocks, Dickson carried the score to 127 (and 2 extra bonus points) before he was bowled with 14 balls remaining. It was edge-of-the-seat stuff now and got even tenser when young Robert Allen became Chatanya’s 4th victim two balls later (giving Chatanya bowling figures of 26.2-10-31-11 against Crow Road this season). Two overs and two wickets remained though it was still unclear if Smillie would risk his broken finger to bat if required. Iain escaped one catchable chance to survive the 99th over, at which point Smillie returned from his umpiring stint in the middle to pad up, probably prudent given that it was Liam McDermid now on strike to the last six deliveries. Liam had been calm as he walked to the crease but his team-mates certainly weren’t after he popped the first ball straight to a close fielder who crucially put it down. After dead-batting the next ball away, he ran a leg-bye to bring Iain on strike, and Iain coolly saw out the rest of the over to confirm the draw.

Considering the 9.5 players that we travelled to Irvine with today, this represented a fine result. Apart from the 15-over spell late in their innings where everything seemed to go wrong, all our players performed near the top of their game, which was the only way we were ever going to avoid defeat. Special mentions must go to Steve-o for a strong all-round performance and to Dickson for a very timely, match-saving arrival, but everyone contributed something positive towards the result. Next week, things should be back to normality as a number of regulars return for the Scotindians/Hillend double header, but to all the not-so-regulars who’ve turned out for the team in either or both of the last two matches, I have to say a big thank you. Just fulfilling the fixtures was a big achievement, but the performance today was a particular credit to all involved.

Saturday 28 July 2007

Home Park v Crow Road, 28/07/2007

Home Park v Crow Road
WDCU Div 5, Dalziel Park, 28/07/2007

Home Park won toss and elected to field

Crow Road
I Thomson lbw b Praveen 0
* A Rixon b Zahid 9
# A Christie c Raheel b Adeel 35
A Kirk c McGlashan b Zahid 5
B Hussain c Adeel b Zahid 13
I Roy b Zahid 0
A Khan b Praveen 11
E Allen b Zahid 1
R Allen c Zahid b Praveen 0
H Livingston not out 1
L McDermid lbw b Praveen 0
Extras 17
Total (all out, 29.3 ovs) 92

Praveen 9.3-3-29-4, Adeel 9-1-25-1, Zahid 11-3-24-5

Home Park
# Juga lbw b Khan 35
Adeel retired not out 15
Cunningham c and b Christie 1
McGlashan not out 5
Hameed c Christie b Rixon 1
Raheel not out 4
Extras 34
Total (3 wkts, 24.5 ovs) 95
Praveen, * Zahid, Dougan, Walid and Baird did not bat

E Allen 7-0-21-0, Hussain 4.5-0-27-0, Christie 8-2-20-1,
Khan 4-1-10-1, Rixon 1-0-2-1

Home Park won by 7 wickets
Home Park 25 pts, Crow Road 2 pts

Match Report

A makeshift Crow Road side travelled to table-topping Home Park more in hope than expectation of victory on Saturday, and duly emerged with a heavy beating. Much of the damage was self-inflicted however, as any hope of defending a paltry total of 92 disappeared amid a smorgasbord of dropped catches, each seemingly more embarrassing than the last. By the time Yoda had demonstrated how it should be done by comfortably pouching two skiers late on, Crow Road had already grassed 8 chances and denied themselves any shot at what would have been a most unlikely triumph.

A midsummer exodus left Rixon struggling to find eleven players for the trip to Motherwell, with regular selection candidates Alcock, Semple, J Fleming, A Fleming, R Mackay, M Hussain, Miller, Tate, G Stewart, Mishra, Colville, Smillie, Bilsland, Reid, Afzal and Iqbal all unavailable for one reason or another (though the latter two did somehow become available after last-minute call-ups to the 2s). Thankfully, after some much-appreciated assistance from Ewan Allen, and after Stroppy and Sausage finally mastered the art of mobile telephony late on Friday night, Crow Road did manage to turn up with a full team and at least avoid a 10-point deduction for conceding the match.

The pitch was mostly hard and grassy with some damp patches and, after Crow Road lost the toss and were put in to bat, it soon became clear that variable bounce would be the main threat. The odd ball was looping up to chest height off a length, but the bounce couldn’t be blamed for Stroppy’s early dismissal as he was caught on the crease and given lbw. Yoda then came in all guns blazing and moved the score past 50 with some carefree blows, including two huge sixes over the leg side. At the other end, Rixon was content to stick around and take the singles, but shortly before the partnership reached 50, he was sent packing as an inswinger beat his attempted drive.

Yoda was soon to follow, miscuing to square leg, and with only 14 overs on the board, Crow Road had already reached the stage where the remaining batting order was looking decidedly fragile. Coming it at No. 4, Sausage looked in decent touch before edging to slip, then Jo played a brief cameo consisting of a textbook forward defensive followed by an ugly swipe to depart for a duck. Billy and Ali applied themselves somewhat better, however, punishing the bad ball to add 25 and take the score to a not-disastrous 89-5 at drinks.

Maybe Home Park slipped something in the batsmens’ Cherryade, or maybe the near-on 15 minute break affected their concentration – either way, the post-drinks session turned into a horror show for Crow Road. The next 21 balls saw 5 wickets go down for the addition of just 3 runs as the scorecard took on a distinctly binary appearance and Crow Road crumbled to 92 all out. First Billy holed out with a straight drive, then Ali succumbed to some variable bounce. Debutant Robert Allen (only recently having turned 13) popped a catch to midwicket and his brother was bowled after a swing-and-a-miss, bringing the unlikely last wicket pair of Hamish Livingston and the multi-sportsman (sadly cricket not being one of them) Liam McDermid together in the middle. While Hamish played a couple of good-looking shots, Liam treated everyone to an innings that rivalled Martin’s football-inspired 7* against Bees for funniest moment of the season. Under instruction not to play at anything missing the stumps, Liam did better than that and didn’t even move a muscle. Standing completely statuesque as the bowler ran up, bowled, and the ball went past him, he also took several seconds to set off for a bye when the ball had in fact almost reached the boundary. He’ll never make an athlete, that boy.

Once Liam had fallen lbw to end the innings, Crow Road headed out into the field with a plan to bowl straight and full and see how the pitch would react. By and large, the bowlers stuck to the plan, though before long their efforts were being hampered by the first of the dropped catches. Ewan was a particularly bad culprit, contributing 3 drops, but he went a long way to making up for it with a fine spell of bowling that improved with every over. At the other end, Billy also produced some good moments, but he made way after 3 overs to give Yoda a shot. This meant that Stroppy donned the keeper attire for the first time ever, and he did a very respectable job, ending the match as one of the few fielders without a drop against his name.

The Home Park openers were making the most of their extra lives and had taken their team more than half way to the target when Ewan reached his 7-over limit as a U18 and was replaced by Ali Khan. Ali quickly settled onto his line and length and was rewarded with the first breakthrough when Juga was trapped lbw. This brought Cunningham to the crease but he was swiftly dispatched after skying a Yoda delivery straight back to the bowler (the second actual wicket which, on another day, could have been the 10th and winning one given the 8 earlier drops). With Adeel and Extras keeping Home Park comfortably on course for victory, however, the only question remaining was whether Crow Road could take a third wicket (hence a second bonus point) before the end of the match. As it turned out they could, courtesy of another skier to Yoda, this time off the occasional round-the-wicket bowling of Rixon, but one over later an emphatic pull to midwicket for 4 confirmed Crow Road’s heaviest defeat of the season.

With only 2 points taken from the match, this loss probably signals the end of any promotion hopes for Crow Road. On the positive side, it was a terrific effort to get a full eleven for this game, and particular thanks must go to Robert, Hamish and Liam for turning up, and to Ewan for his help in recruiting. On the negative side, we had a glimmer of a chance to beat the league leaders today, despite the weakened team, and let it quite literally slip through our fingers. The catching today was a complete embarrassment and there simply can’t be a repetition in any of the five matches we have left. This late in the season, there’s probably a limited amount that can be worked on in training but in the pre-season next spring, it’s essential that we focus more on this side of the game so everyone has the confidence and technique to take more catches and consequently, as the saying tells us, win more matches.