A Game of Mixed Family Fortunes
|Opposition:||Hampton Wick Houghton XI|
|Venue:||Hampton Wick Royal Cricket Club King's Field|
|Man of the match:||Everyone|
|Prat of the match:||Covid-19|
308 days since the last ball was bowled and 2 months later than it should have been, finally the game returned to the home of cricket. The scene was set for an immense clash between two titans of the game, Houghton vs Dunmore, in an intra-squad friendly. The match was set to feature 2 Dunmores (on opposite sides), 2 Singhs, 2 Morjarias and 2 Cathcarts. There were also a few debutants; Justin Visser, Chris Rowe and Tom Hopkins who dusted off their cricket gear to join the Wick, as well as some colts making the step up to adult level for the first time. After a sanitised coin toss, Houghton’s XI were sent in to bat in conditions that have become the new normal.
The skipper and Mandeep opened up and faced up to a deadly dual pronged Cathcart attack. Mandeep (26) batted at a good rate, like he’d never been away, he scored at a typical fast pace. The fall of Mandeep to Leo Morjaria brought son Jivraj to the crease, who duly departed for 8 runs, caught and bowled by Cathcart Jr. Ben Houghton was playing a classical collectors innings and avenged last season’s opening day heartbreak of falling for 49, by going 6 better, scoring 55, giving his team a real platform to build from. Zak Collier in at 4 was striking the ball nicely in his cameo 21. Justin Visser and Harry Crawshaw unfortunately fell for ducks, in part of a mini collapse in which the score went from 120-2 to 122-6 in a matter of overs. Ben Longhurst and Kiran came in and struck the ball well, both collecting 20’s*, taking Houghton’s XI to 169-6 off their 35 overs. Youth led the way for Dunmore’s bowling attack with U13 Harris Cathcart (6-0-20-1), U14 Leo Morjaria (6-0-26-3) and U14 James Haycock (6-0-27-2) all bowling impressively despite their young age.
Zubes and Tom Hopkins opened up the reply, but the former was bowled for 1 early on in the innings*. Viewers who had selected the artificial crowd noise option would have missed the awful chat from Zak Collier which welcomed Ollie Morjaria to the crease, chatting way too much for someone who had just scored 21. Morjaria was soon “chatted out” LBW for 8. Tom Hopkins scored a stubborn 18 runs and Eden Phillips removed Vic Griffiths for 17. Good bowling from Kiran (4-1-17-2), Ben Longhurst (7-2-20-1) and Zak (3-0-13-0) restricted Dunmore’s rank to 119-5 and defeat seemed inevitable for the batting side. However, a crucial partnership between Chris Rowe (28) and Nick Dunmore (48) swung the balance in favour of the batting side. Longhurst got a well-deserved and much needed wicket of Chris Rowe to set up an exciting finish. The departure of Ben Chapman (4) sent Harris Cathcart (11) to the crease who scored important runs to take the game to the last over. Tom Dunmore (5-0-20-3) bowled excellently at the close, with a particular highlight being the wicket of his dad, who had been striking the ball nicely. Dunmore’s XI were unable to find the fence off the last ball of the game and finished on 167-9, 3 runs short of victory. The all-round performance from both sides bodes well for the rest of this truncated season.
*a note about the author of this report. Jacob Povah produced an excellent delivery which cut in and hit the top of off stump to dismiss Zubes. Jocob bowled with great accuracy, hostility and skill; in his second spell he was unlucky not to dismiss opposition skipper Dunmore who was deceived by two slower balls and beaten for pace several times.