MonthPlayedWonLost Cancelled


After a pretty dismal April due to overcast weather and an outfield too long for quality batting to be rewarded, the first part of May was a continuation of the same as sunny weather failed to materialise and the new contractor struggled to get on top of an overgrown and damp outfield – resulting in batting sides struggling to score at Marble Hill Park.

The month started with Switch Hitters skittled for 72 on Bank holiday Monday for an easy win, and the following coronation bank holiday weekend saw a Saturday rain off, a close Sunday loss by 17 runs against Karnataka Challengers (where Adrian Merry’s 38* so nearly got us home) and 7 wicket demolition of Wimbledon Corinthians who were bowled out for 111.

Two more low scoring matches followed the weekend of 13th/14th – firstly with a thumping  of an understrength Yarl who were rolled for 82 in an innings where all 11 Crossbats bowled,  Bart took a catch of the season contender and then blazed 46 from 38 balls (on a properly mowed outfield this would have been a score well past 60). The following day Christchurch were bowled out for 111  but this was anything but a thumping as a seemingly easy chase turned into a nail biting 2 wicket win for Crossbats in a match where one of our new recruits Preet Kanaiya announced himself  – taking 3-5 at the end of the Christchurch innings before making a crucial unbeaten 38* opening the innings (including 2 sixes), retiring with cramp and returning later at 92-8 to see us home with Mayank Parekh.

If the long grass and overcast conditions has had one benefit  it was to produce a string of close matches in the first 2 months of the season; however everyone was missing a big total and a cover drive hit along the ground to the boundary.

The darkness before the dawn came mid month away to Willow Leather – a depressing trek to NW London (much grumbling from your reporter, returning to the corner of London where he was brought up but now resenting the journey and traffic from leafy SW London) – a wicket with daisies growing on a length and an opposition score that despite 3 wickets from Ben Humphrey always looked 30 too high (and indeed a scorebook that resembled a piece of impressionist art) followed by a depressing batting display by Crossbats including Adam Skinner finally dismissed in the 9th week of the season.   

And still, nine weeks in, only one fifty by a Crossbat, only a couple by the opposition and only two Crossbat team scores over 150 – not exactly bazz-ball.

And then it happened.  Sunday 21st May we turned up to MHP to play Park Hill, and the grass was mowed – and mowed beautifully, and the sun was shining.  A long build up of batting frustration was released in an explosion of scoring as the Crossbats top 3 took us to a score of 230-2 off 35 overs.  Duncan Ross smashed the seasons best score of 86 (off 98 balls) in a seasons best opening partnership of 143 with Aman Panesar (62 off 74 balls) and then Avi Dubey – frustrated all season at seeing an array of beautiful cricket shots stopped by a clump of grass dismembered the Park Hill attack with 58 off of 28 balls (5x4s & 2x6s).  Lead by 4-21 from Clive Lawrence (hiding quietly behind the facade of a knackered old fast bowler but picking up wickets in every match he plays) a thumping 124 run win was secured.

Just to show that it was no fluke Crossbats rounded out the month with two more wins.   Another 200+ score against Mitcham (anchored by an excellent 76 by Stu Skinner) with a 100+ run winning margin secured by a bowling and fielding performance amongst the best you will see.

Fittingly the month finished with the Marble Hill cup retained against Yarl and over £400 raised for charity – 4-25 from Vijay Srikanth and 3-23 from Alan Carter restricting Yarl to 187 and then another finisher special from Adam Skinner (59* off 52 balls, 8×4 1×6) seeing us home.


With only one score over fifty in the first eight weeks of the season but five in the following two weeks it seems like Crossbats have now hit their groove in the batting – and hopefully the first century is just around the corner – Duncan Ross’s fabulous 86 the closest that we have come so far.

Only twice dismissed, Adam Skinner not surprisingly tops the batting averages averaging over 100 as he and Avi Dubey lead the run scoring.  With the preponderance of low totals until recently the only real stand out partnership is the 143 run opening stand between Duncan Ross and Aman Panesar against Park Hill.

Bowling & Fielding

On the flip side the conditions have played into the hands of bowlers – 7 bowlers taking their wickets at 15 or less, and Clive Lawrence stays atop the averages, with 13 wickets for the season so far (at under 10 runs per wicket!) and two 4 wicket hauls.

Adam Skinner and Samin Khan are a whisker behind and by far the most economical bowlers (both deserving of a big haul which will surely come at some point if they keep bowling like they are) – ably supported by Aman Panesar, Preet Kanaiya and Avi Dubey who are all into double figures for the season.

On the fielding side Deano Sayers has been consistently excellent behind the stumps and now has 7 catches and 2 stumpings, and of the outfielders Gopal Balakrishnan, Mark McAlpine and Alan Carter all on 4 catches.

Finally, Champagne moment of the month was Adam Skinner’s fielding change moving Mark McAlpine to fly-slip bringing an immediate wicket against Mitcham, immortalised on film by Ben Humphrey.

It now feels like the real season has now begun and the best news: there is still 4 months ahead of us!

John Reardon