London Saints

Saints March On with second big win at home

The London Saints picked up where we left off last week with another emphatic home win, this time over first-time opponents Nascot CC from Watford.

Maiden centuries from Warren Short and Steve “Scones” Grant took also took the 10-man Saints past the 200-run mark for the second time this season and posted the second-highest 2nd-wicket stand in the club’s history.

To be fair, Nascot were without many of their regular players as several of them were away at a team-mates stag-do. But stand-in skipper David “Flatliner” Nanton was naturally apprehensive when he received the e-mail a few days before informing him that Nascot would be giving some of their youngsters a game. After all, our recent history against younger, more athletic players hasn’t exactly been a glorious one! Perhaps that was why Flatliner spent a good 15 minutes before the game trying to figure out who his 11th player was, and why they hadn’t yet shown up, before finally realising that there wasn’t one. In fact, he’d already been informed the day before that our would-be 11th man – a mate of Mark Barber’s – had somehow contrived to end up in intensive care 24 hours before his Saints debut!

Nascot won the toss and invited us to bat. They started well, too, with opening bowler Shishir Bhattacharjee maintaining a good line and length that keep our initial scoring rate down. And when he took Damian’s wicket – caught at square leg for 6 – no one was sure at that point what turn the game might take.

Enter Warren Short. Already an impressive debutant in last week’s game, and with his parents looking on this time around, he quickly overtook Scones in the scoring, hammering the luckless Nascot bowlers to all ends of the ground. Not that the bowling was bad either! But having survived a dropped catch earlier in his innings, Short certainly made the most of it to reach 102 before falling LBW to a full toss from Taqeer.

We were also benefitting from several gaps in the Nascot field placings, and Flatliner, as on-field umpire, took to offering advice to the youngsters on their positioning. Meanwhile, on the other end, Scones was getting into his stride as well, before being caught out the very next ball after reaching his century.

Ed “Pike” Price went LBW for 2 before Andy Mayhew (13 n.o.) and guest player Tahir Mohamed (1 n.o.) rounded off the innings at 234/4.

Not knowing to expect from the batting, and particularly with Nascot’s two regular, more experienced players – wicketkeeper/batsman David Gibbs and Richard Temple – opening, we opted for an opening bowling attack of Flatliner and Burrell, the latter bowling Gibbs for a duck in the second over, with his first ball of the game. Burrell then picked up two more quick wickets in his next three overs before Temple was run out by Mayhew after a mix up with one of the younger players – the first of two such dismissals.

Sensing that we had the game under control, the bowling was shared around with Mayhew – having already taken a wicket in a two-over spell – taking over wicketkeeping duties from Damian, so the latter could bowl as well. Damian should have had a wicket too, had he not ignored Warren’s shout (“It was directly over me, so I thought he’d stop”) with the inevitable collision giving the batsman an unexpected lifeline. Mohamed bowled three very pacy overs for his first Saints wicket – that of Bhattacharjee, who was starting to show some promise with the bat. Pike, his hangover made even worse by his unhappiness over the LBW decision, declined an offer to bowl, so the skipper tossed the ball to Warren, who we’d never seen with the ball. Well, now we know! Someone did manage to nick a solitary run from his three overs, but at the cost of three wickets… and that was the game, with Nascot all out for 86 in 21 overs.

The young opposition players were a lot more athletic than we were (who isn’t?!) and showed some real promise with their bowling and batting, particularly Bhattacharjee and skipper Ryan Farmer but were beaten on experience on the day. In a few years, though, one expects they’ll be much more fearsome competitors, playing alongside some of Nascot’s more experienced players.

We must acknowledge, though, the sterling performances from our newest club centurions as well as Burrell and Warren (again) with the ball. No ducks for the Saints also means that there was no change to the Duck Trophy contenders list.

Of course, stand-in skipper Flatliner – who took no wickets, did not bat, and couldn’t even remember how many players he had on the day – modestly deflected suggestions that his more gentle, laid-back, non-dictatorial approach to matters might have had anything at all to do with the team’s performance!

Bring on the Gents next week…

Man of the Match – A no-brainer: Warren Short for his maiden club century and exceptional bowling figures of 2-1-1-3. Special mention to Scones for his 100 as well!

Champagne Moment – A very confused Flatliner desperately trying to work out who his missing 11th player was, despite a phone-call the day before confirming that he would only have 10 on the day.

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