London Fields (263-6) beat Tower Hamlets (262-8)
Tower won the toss at Millfields and batted in London Fields' first league game of the season.
Openers Ruhit Akhandah and Khaled Ahmed started well on a rather unresponsive pitch. Phil was bowling beautifully, but LFCC needed more control from the other end.
On came Sanders to bowl in the 5th. Benny’s accurate seamers soon accounted for Ruhit (14) and then Nazmul Kayes (4). Troy replaced Phil and had Mohammed Tahmid (0) trapped LBW, leaving Tower looking shaky.
After Mahbub Hussain (10) was LBW to James G, LFCC were looking in prime position at tea.
Tower no. 6 Mahbubul Alam had other plans. He came in and quickly took the attack to our bowlers. With opener Khaled now also scoring freely, the Tower pair took control; running hard and hitting boundaries seemingly at will.
The score increased at a significant rate and we didn’t help themselves by dropping Alam twice. Troy took some control back with excellent death bolwling, and Michael returned to slow Tower’s momentum further with two wickets at the end.
After a slow start, Tower had finished on a very competitive 262 - Alam scoring a sparkling 113 of them. LFCC bowlers shared the wickets all round, with Troy, Ben and Michael ending with two wickets a piece.
LFCC openers Michael and Teasdale started the chase steadily, until they both departed to opening bowler Salman Khan, Teas going to an unfortunate tickle down leg. Their wickets brought recent centurion Alex Turner and new vice captian James Gingell out to bat.
The pair played sensibly from the start - James playing some beautiful classical cricket in contrast to Alex's rather unconventional yet effective style. The two continued till drinks, and then beyond, until both had reached well deserved 100's. Alex walked across his stumps to hit some astonishing shots over leg, when he wasn't digging it into the ground with his attempted cover drives. James played some very stylish cover drives, along with all the other shots generated a few satisfied "aaaaahs" from the sideline.
Just when the pair looked to be taking the game away, Tower bowler Tariq dismissed both set batsman. Alex had scored 110, peppered with muscular sixes, and James was out after scoring 114 sublime runs. They had shared an incredible partnership of nearly 220 runs. We had lost our momentum, and when pinch-hitter PA was caught trying to do some pinch hitting, we were set for an exciting finish. In a markedly similar situation the previous year, LFCC had failed in a league chase against Royal Sovereign at Millfields - and the pressure was on.
We needed 15 from 12. New bats Alec and Vijay managed to hit 8 from the first of the final two overs, including a much-needed six.
It had all came down to the final over, which Salman came back to bowl. He already had 3 wickets and was Tower’s stand out bowler on the day.
His first ball was a dot, and from his second ball Vijay was run out going for a selfless second run. Salman bowled another dot at new batter Troy, and LFCC needed 6 from the final 3 balls.
Over 500 runs had been scored in a game that had ebbed and flowed the whole day, and it had all come down to the last few minutes of play.
Troy steadied himself. Salman ran in and sent the ball down. Troy's big, easy swing came down and he hit an absolutely huge six straight back down the ground, winning the game for LFCC and sending Fielders on the sidelines and in the Whatsapp group into a frenzy of celebration. Troy finished the tension-filled chase 6 not out, Alec 8 not out.
Both sides had played well and had their chances, but LFCC had prevailed this day. Perhaps laying the foundation for a big season, or at least laying last season's Millfield's ghost to rest.London Fields Batting
263 for 6 in 39.0
|Alec McCrindle||—||Not Out||Unknown||8|
|Vijay Shah||—||Run Out||Unknown||1|
|Troy Utz||—||Not Out||Unknown||6|
|Ben Sanders||—||Did Not Bat||Unknown||0|
|Phil Clark||—||Did Not Bat||Unknown||0|
|Ruby Quince||—||Did Not Bat||Unknown||0|
262 for 8 in 40.0London Fields Bowling