We look back on April with some great memories of some close matches (and just as importantly post match cameraderie) but also memories involving “damp”, “chilly”, “overcast” and “long grass”.
The season kicked off with the traditional interclub followed by the first competitive match of the season against Graces which is also likely also to be the closest and one of the most exciting of the season – Crossbats chasing 171 to win and squeaking home with 9 wickets down with 3 balls to spare.
Two other nail-biting victories were recorded in low scoring matches against Gentlemen of West London and Uxbridge in games where contributions from all in the team were needed. To close the month off a far more comfortable victory over Globetrotters was recorded where a modest Crossbats total was made to look huge by a demon bowling and fielding performance.
On the minus side the rusty early season batting lead to big defeats against Norwood (on tour) and against Hounslow & Whitton facing the biggest total so far (268). Hampton Hill was far closer, Crossbats falling 11 runs short in a thriller.
On the subject of damp/chilly/overcast/grass a week of heavy rain cost us a couple of matches including one on tour (leading to much research to find other activities) and a scheduling SNAFU another when the team arrived at Merton CC to find a football match booked for the ground. And at the back end of April scoring a boundary has become particularly difficult at MHP (Uxbridge did not manage a single one in 40 overs) due to issues with getting the ground mowed (committee on the case!).
On the social side, it was great to see many Crossbats hanging for drinks after matches (despite the glorious summer evenings not yet kicking in), we had a lot of fun on the Isle of Wight and we filled a curry house with laughter after being thumped at Hounslow & Whitton.
With only 2 innings totals over 150 so far it is fair to say that the batting has been rusty and many big guns are yet to fire – plenty of ducks have been recorded (Mark in the lead with 2) and the team achieved 11 runouts (leading to 2 early contenders for tantrum of the season from John R and Rash).
Adam Skinner stands out with his 3 unbeaten innings earning him the early season moniker of “The Finisher” as he was at the crease when we won by 1, 3 and 4 wickets with the only 50 of the season so far in the first one against Graces – 61* off 46 balls a truly match winning innings.
Next 2 highest scores are Anir’s 42 against Globetrotters (which in a total of 123 gave the bowlers something to defend) and Stu’s crucial 40 to set up the win against Gentlemen of West London.
With so many low scores no surprise that there were only 4 50 partnerships in April, with the Skinner brothers at the top with 53 against Gentlemen of West London. But partnership of the month has no competition – it has to be the nail biting 32 run unbeaten last wicket partnership between Adam and Deano against Graces with number 11 Deano staying calm when the pressure was really on to help Adam see us home.
Finally, a mention to Samin who gets the champagne moment for hitting a huge 6 against Uxbridge to win the match.
Bowling & Fielding
On the bowling front there have been many good bowling performances with a lot of wickets shared around without anyone yet recording a big haul.
Clive Lawrence sits atop the averages, with 8 wickets and the best analysis so far – 4-14 against Gentlemen of West London.
Adam, Samin and Guy are amongst the most economical with none of them yet getting the rewards in terms of numbers of wickets
Finally on the fielding side the standout is Gopal who took a hattrick of catches in the deep against Hounslow and Whitton none of them easy and one real cracker, with Ben Humphrey’s direct hit runout against Gentlemen of West London getting an honourable mention.
As we start May, lets look forward to some sun, big scores, 4/5 wicket hauls, more fun 3rd innings and a lawn mower.