On a hot afternoon at Raynes Park the second XI, again led by usual vice captain Theo, assembled looking to build on last weeks 1st team assisted win.
The captains had a bit of a discussion and it was agreed that Graveney would bat first. Corinthians increasingly familiar opening partnership of Geoff and Steve got us underway. Again Steve provided the control and Geoff the raw pace (good luck, keeper for the day, Arvind). Wickets did not come easily though with young opener Shah pouncing on any width to unleash his cut shot, he was eventually taken by David C at gully off Steve (34-1). This opening partnership rather set the tone for the innings with wickets falling at a steady dribble without either side really getting control.
Keith was next to strike getting the other opener caught by Steve at point (67-2). Theo got number 3 Gupta LBW for 32 (106-3), Arif the opposition captain for 27 (again LBW, 133-4) and Theo the no.6 (yet again LBW, 134-5). The powerfully built no.5 Mooney did his best to up the rate but good bowling and fielding meant he could never really cut loose. Graveney fell away. 156-6 Mooney caught well by Arvind off Druva, 162-7 Robertson b Arif and Wilkinson 162-8 caught by Geoff for his 3rd catch of the season again off Arif. kept Graveney from hitting out at the end and they closed on 172-8 from their 40 overs.
At tea the feeling was that 173 would be a tough target to chase but certainly not impossible on a pitch that was generally behaving itself and a quickish outfield. With that in mind finding opening batsmen proved a challenge. David volunteered but first Arvind then Steve turned down the chance to partner him so in the end Keith was thrust into the roll (if he’d said no i’d have probably done it myself! – I did not realise Alex B had scored 50 in a midweek LMS game, so sorry Alex)
David and Keith started positively against a workmanlike Graveney attack going at just on the required rate until Keith played on for 6 (24-1 off 6 overs). Arvind in at 3 started confidently with an early cover drive for four and a couple of full tosses dispatched to the shorter boundary for 6. David was also finding his form and mixing cover drives with deft cut shots to find the gaps left by some inventive field settings.
At this point I will admit that, while being very happy with the state of the game, the concerns about the solidity of our middle order (the mercurial combination of Waqas, Alex B, Chris S and Druva) meant I was rather tense as Dave and Arvind built an excellent partnership reaching drinks (20 overs) at 100-1. Graveney clearly sensed they needed wickets and became more despondent as first Arvind brought up his 50 from 61 balls and then Dave following suit off about 80 balls.
Some creative field placements and rotation of bowlers saw the runs keep flowing with the only moments of alarm being; Arvind getting caught off a no ball and a miscommunication around an LBW appeal where Graveney interpreted Keith pointing that the ball was missing leg as him giving Arvind out. The runs came in a flood at the end with the last 40 runs coming in 4.2 overs and Corinthians winning by 9 wickets with David crashing one through the covers followed 4 byes. David carrying his bat for 63*(86 balls) and Arvind also not out for 77 off 84 balls.
Final word, we fielded really well and stuck at it on a hot day, as well as catching almost everything. David and Arvind batted really well to see us home as well. I have to say thank you to Waqas, Alex B and Chris S who made a serious fielding effort but were all denied a bat. However as a long serving 2nds player I know that chases like that are few and far between (this was the last time I remember anything similar back in june 2014) so it’s something to be savoured.