June really felt like the real cricket season had arrived, as the sun shone (with 2 exceptions) and runs flowed relentlessly (we averaged not far off 200 per innings) and Crossbats only lost twice, with some memorable team and individual performances.
June kicked off with the first really high scoring match of the season – Cricketers put early Crossbats bowling to the sword and in the end restricting them to 241 was a good performance – Winch’s fielding stood out with 2 catches and a runout and Ben H hinted at the form to come with a spell of 3-28. It was a big chase and despite a fine 74 (off 80 balls, 13×4) by Winch and a run a ball 41 from Guy Crossbats fell 12 runs short.
Next up we travelled to Northfields and amassed another big score. At 67-4 we were rocking but then fireworks went off – Preet got us going with a blazing 49 off 32 balls (6×4, 2×6) and Vijay (beginning a batting explosion that would continue through the month) smashing an unbeaten 69 off of 40 balls (10×4 and 3×6 ) in a score of 242-8 which was comfortably defended thanks to Clive Lawrence (7-2-26-3) knocking over the first 3 batsmen and Avi (4-1-12-4) finishing most of the rest.
A disappointing away loss on hot day to Strongroom (with some ‘home’ umpiring helping them to a defendable total) was lit up by some memorable contributions – the first one for the history books as Ben Humphrey took a fantastic Hat-trick (ct, bowled, lbw), Gopal chipped in with another one handed catch of the season contender and Adam blitzed us to 11 runs short of the target with 48 off 29 balls (4×4, 4×6).
Back at home a nice fixture against West End Esher was ended early (as the contender for storm of the season turned the park into a lake) but there was enough play to see Vijay continue his form with a fabulous innings of 68 (5×4,2×6).
Then we went into the triple header in the middle of the month. Game 1 on the Friday night against Moormead was a high scoring win but a season low point with Anir’s badly broken finger – hoping to see you back on the field before the end of the season Anir! An Avi 50 (now getting into form) and then another brutal 45* from Vijay (completing a sequence of 3 innings producing 182 runs for once out with a strike rate of 150 and 6 sixes!) set up a total of 211 off only 25 overs which was never going to be chased down.
Game 2 we travelled to Yarl and recorded only our 2nd win away in 10 years in a hard fought 29 runs win. The platform laid by an overdue Avi century (117 off 87 balls) and topped off by Aman’s 5-1-24-4 and 3 catches by Craig Clare.
Finally Game 3 ended with a damp squib in a bad tempered match against Rising Globetrotters (3 wickets for each of Ben H and Adam despite many dropped catches) where the weather terminated proceedings just as we laid a platform to chase down the win.
We closed out the month with 2 wins. A mammoth 257-6 against Southwark Park (53 off 44 balls for Winch) was easily defended thanks to 5-30 for Preet (the first 5 wicket haul of the season).
Finally, Karnataka Challengers were easily dealt with – 4-24 (Samin finally getting the wickets he deserves) and a contender for catch of the season from Rash limiting the opposition to 141 which was never going to be a problem thanks to Stu Skinners 69*.
The runs have now started flowing and the stats are taking shape – Adam tops the averages (321 runs @80) but Avi thanks to his century now tops the run scoring with 476 at a shade under 40 with form graph pointing in the upward direction. Vijay’s emergence as a batsman is now clear with 241 runs @40 – scored at a strike rate of 128.
Behind those three, Winch, Aman and Stu are all averaging in the low 30s with 5 half centuries between them.
June saw 2 century partnerships between and Avi & Winch (opening the innings to set up the big score against Southwark Park) and Vijay & Aman’s scintillating 7th wicket stand against Northfields.
Finally a 6 hitting contest is emerging between Adam (8), Vijay (6) and Preet (4).
Bowling & Fielding
The bowling stats are a real contest. Clive Lawrence still tops the averages (11.53!) but with the warmer weather Avi’s leg spin has shot him to the top of the wickets column with 19, followed by Adam 18 and Clive, Aman and Samin (by far the most economical bowler) on 17 each. Preet has 15 and Ben H (consistently doing the mid innings workhorse job in addition to the odd hat-trick) has worked his way into the reckoning with 13.
In the fielding, Deano unsurprisingly leads the way on dismissals with 8 catches and 3 stumpings. For the outfielders Adam leads with 9 (with a number of sharp slip/gully catches) followed by Gopal with 7 including a couple of stunners.
We are exactly half way through the season with the best half to come!