Sunday July 8, 2018: 1.30pm. 40 Overs
Toss: Crouch End, Bat
Crouch End: 8-221, 40 Overs (Ronaldson 2-44, Niaz 2-45, Grieve 2-47)
Nepotists: 8-222, 35 Overs (Hoar 75, Ronaldson 29, Niaz 29)
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After the enthusiasm of match reporting from Royal Household, albeit a loss, getting to Crouch End and winning and now reporting, there is something of a nothingness by comparison; plane spotting was distant at best. Probably the most baffling or intriguing moment to report was 35mins before play when Crouch End Captain Mark, lay face down behind the stumps to purvey the pitch.
Most unusual considering this is his ground and the colour of his greying locks could suggest he’d been here long enough to know how the pitch played without the need to tug on grass to learn more. The very bottom line; the pitch was green. Very green. So, when the toss was not won by me, and we were asked to bowl, I wasn’t at all disappointed.
Following on from my painful victory with the Brentham 3rd’s yesterday when I bowled 13 overs for 17 runs, I opened down the hill with 5 overs for just 3 allowing Nick Grieve (NZ) to struggle up the hill for 4 overs, including the breakthrough with just 11 on the board! Thanks to a sharp catch by Ryan Styles (AUS) at very wide 1st slip, 2 more overs and another wicket to finish, Nick ended 6-0-47-2.
Ryan replaced myself for 5 unlucky overs. He deserved more than the 1 wicket of the threatening big hitter (bowled after he helped put on 60 for the 2nd) and eventually dragged himself, 5-0-30-1. Near enough to now regular Bilal Niaz (PAK) replaced Nick, and too with a double spell. 5 overs to start with one wicket, and 3 overs at the end with one more, and going tea 8-0-45-2. Nick and Bill’s spells up the hill bookended NZ debutant, Jamie Ronaldson’s 8 overs of text book leggies.
With a very Nepo-like loosener that went for 4 (pre-match practice did not help!), the rest of the over was un-Nepo-like flight, pitch, turn, and bamboozle, and included his first Nepo wicket off the illegitimate 7th ball. Though we suggested it was the end of the over, the umpires and scorers simply lost count, but counting the balls is not our job and Jamie brought the hosts to 5-135 with the extra cherry. Whilst Jamie was trundling up hill, Rich Price (NZ) did the opposite.
Jamie should consider himself lucky to miss a Rich Price spray after adding his name to the Nepo’s thorough list of pink-wig wearers after grassing Rich’s first ball. Perhaps Rich just hadn’t warmed up yet, but it didn’t take long for his wicket, thanks to a good catch by Bill at gully. Crouch End 6-156.
Jamie’s 2nd wicket 3 runs later should have put Crouch End well below 200 at 7-159 however we let our hosts amass 221 for the loss of only 8 wickets; that skyrocketing total largely down to Steve Werren (AUS) letting through a record 23 byes. Jamie ended his opening Nepo salvo a very positive 8-0-44-2, with Rich back to his normal tight self, 8-1-25-1, before delivering a flat 8 for tea. It was a good curry, and the pakora’s worth going back for, but hardly a £70 feast.
With possibly too much bang for the buck in the guts, Ryan took the honours of opening with Carl Hoar (ENG) and gifted a simple catch to the man at deep point, going for an early post-lunch dump for 9 off 10. Nick came in and looked very impressive as he often does until gets out, this time bowled by the Bomber Dale of Crouch End for 22 off 18, with the Nepo’s 2-88; Carl going postal at the other end but only when he could get the strike off Time Hardy (ENG), whom I think was trying to better their North Enfield partnership of 75. As it was, Carl had enough of the tinkering about in front of a beautiful backdrop and with 75 to his name, left Time stranded, to attend his father whom had father time by his bedside.
(We all hope Carl senior is OK and comfortable!)
Even before Carl had his boots off, Rich was caught by the hand of god at 1st slip off his 2nd ball, and the Nepo’s looked strangely uncertain at 4-120. Jack Phelan (NZ) joined Time and really, it was a case of getting any run they could. After mustering 1 off 13, Time was castled for 7 off 37 allowing Jamie to show his batting prowess. Two lost balls and five boundaries later, Jamie marched off at 5-155 with 29 off just 18, putting Jack & Bill in the middle.
“Take your time Bill, don’t get out”. 3 balls later, Jack was run out for an absorbing 6 off 10, not before spectating a 12 run partnership with Bill whom casually put the first two balls over the sightscreen. Yes, it appeared Bill has got his eye in, the Nepo’s 6-167. Kahuna (AUS / POL) joined Bill and stuck out 8 balls of the over (plenty of wides and no balls in that one!) before being called for the single on the last ball, keeping the strike, the Nepo’s still dangerously far from home with only 7 wickets in hand.
Two balls later, Kahuna was castled for one, bringing me to chew Bill’s ear about taking the single on the last ball of the over and not protecting the wickets. I also chewed his ear about slowing it down, and not getting out, one ball before he wildly swung and missed a ball that bounced just over middle stump. I am not one to instruct any batsmen in their art, but I did get Bill to keep the ball down, only run when necessary, and tick the runs off to victory, which came with 4 gloves down leg by myself.
A 49 run red-ink partnership to end the inning, with 5 overs and 2 wickets up the sleeve, myself going home 21, Bill 29, and the Nepo’s now 8 points on the non-league league table. A good victory in the end, not requiring me to first lay face down on the deck before play to inspect the pitch!
Well played Nepo’s,
Yours in Nepotism,
Schwim Moment: Bilal Niaz casually putting his first two balls over the sightscreen for 6.
NACA: Jamie Ronaldson on debut, caught 'warming up' in the nets before play.