Lower-Order Runs Thwart Saints Again
There was a distinct feeling of déjà vu among the Saints dressing room after getting into a really strong position against the Gents of West London. Despite losing the toss and ending up in the field in one of the rare hot Sunday afternoons of the summer, the Gents top order was torn to pieces by van Marle, Pearce and Grimes and at the drinks break were seven down with only 70 on the board.
Catches were held by debutant Newton (2, one of which was very impressive at short cover), Grant (2) and Wathan, and the bowling and fielding was keeping the Gents at bay until the 8th wicket partnership wrecked all the good work, with Desai (38) and Bocha (72, 52 in boundaries) hammering Pearce, Burrell and Newton in particular to all parts to add 109 in 12 overs.
Both eventually fell in quick succession to van Marle and Nanton and the tail was cleaned up efficiently, but the damage had been done.
Skipper Griffiths got the Saints reply off to a steady start with two nicely-timed flicks off his pads to the vacant deep square leg boundary, but his opening partner Pearce took on the mid-on fielder for a quick single and lost. Young debutant Ben Newton came in at 3 and immediately hit his first ball for four, and after attempting to hit the cover off each ball in his first over, settled down nicely.
When Griffiths cut de la Perrelle to point, that brought Grant to the wicket to form the Saints’ youngest partnership of the season by some distance. He got off the mark with a well-placed single and then hit Lall back over his head for a boundary before Lall got his revenge the next over by taking a smart catch at cover.
The ever-calm Mayhew was next in and he stuck around for a while, hitting four boundaries for his 23, top-scoring for the Saints. Wickets tumbled around him, though, as Newton went playing around a straight delivery and Nanton kept up his fine pursuit of the Duck Trophy with another nought – that’s 5 in 7 innings now for the fielder formerly known as Jonty, an impressive record of consistency by anyone’s standards!
Wathan was bowled through the gate for 4 and Burrell was leg before to keep in touch with Nanton for another duck. Grimes and van Marle dug in as the last wicket partnership (with only 10 men) until the latter lobbed a leading edge back to Bocha to cap an excellent match for him.
Man of the Match: Ben Newton – a fine debut for the youngster, especially in the field where he took what is a contender for catch of the season, and a solid effort with the bat.