Match Data vs Hetairoi on 2023-06-25 at Winchmore Hill (Season 2023)

Report by Dills

Connect 4, a classic board game where you line up four counters and you win, or in Salix’s case represents our fourth consecutive loss of the season. However, unlike last week’s defeat, this was much more of competitive game and had skipper Raj hailing the boys how proud he was of the team’s effort this week.

On another incredibly hot summers day, a planned 1:30 start was pushed back to after 2pm due to a combination of failing public transport, bad traffic and in Arsey’s case the consequence of two days of heavy drinking.

The skipper lost the toss and we were put in the field. As always at Winchmore Hill we were greeted with a beautiful and true wicket, plus an outfield that was lightening quick; anything that beat the infield was four. It was always going to be a difficult pitch to get wickets on but opening pair Syed & Raj bowled with real zip and beat the bat with regularity. The fielding was sharp and after 5 overs, the score had only reached 14-0. However, the opening batting father & son duo started to find their rhythm, taking advantage of the favourable batting conditions and one particularly short boundary to accelerate the score to 101-0 after 16 overs. It was looking precarious, the scoring accelerating plus the heat was taking its toll on the fielders; so Skip turned to his spinners, Elvis & myself. After being sledged by my own wife last week, I had something to prove and took a wicket in my first over. This was a start of wickets falling regularly; bowling 14 overs consecutively we took a combined 5fer. Elvis bowled with his usual guile, changes of pace and general wizardry; whilst I was able to get the non-turning leg breaks to cause havoc. We were back in the game, and with Krutik & Syed bowling the death overs with great control we restricted Hetairoi to 235. A really strong fightback from Salix, whilst a big score it was looking at one point that it was going to be a score well over 250+.

The mid-innings break included a surprise tea, after Chairman Tim told us to bring our own teas most of lads decided to the honourable thing and eat two teas. A strong batting line-up gave us hope of chasing down the score. Skip & Daveski opened the batting and started well, with the first 5 overs bringing 24 runs. As we tried to accelerate the score, Daveski hit one towards mid-off, the fielder was blinded by the sun and couldn’t quite take the catch, but was able to react quickly and throw the ball to the keepers-end and run Daveski out attempting a very tight (read, skipper stitched Daveski up!) second run. Raj continued to bat aggressively, with the benefit of being dropped 5 times during his innings it looked like he was destined to lead Salix to victory. However the change bowlers brought both control & wickets, firstly Raj was given LBW, and despite Delilah playing some beautiful looking shots, most of them found the fielders as Hetairoi’s ground fielding was excellent. The run-rate was slowing down and pressure building. After Delilah was bowled trying to puncture the pressure, Salix needed 150 more runs in 15 overs. Arsey & CK let loose, and started finding the boundary with more regularity. CK in particular found the middle of his bat, and scored a delightful 45 runs with the highlight a one huge 6 over mid-on, followed by two sumptuous boundaries. However wickets fell regularly as we tried to keep up with the required run rate, and unfortunately we fell to defeat.

The skip shared some thoughts of wisdom at the end, if you give it your best, and play with fire & energy then there is nothing more can be asked of you – and today everyone did that. This was a really good performance with everyone contributing to the performance, and if we play like that more often the win will come soon. This isn’t quite Bazball, more Rajball.

Two final mentions, William Ball in the oppo had a brilliant allround performance, scoring 53 runs opening the batting, and then bowled 7 overs, 2 for 15 with 4 maidens. The game was played in really good spirit and look forward to playing them again next season.

And finally (if you’ve got this far well done), the reason you’re not reading a much more intelligent, witty and concise match report is because the brilliant Ollie Ferrari got married this weekend. We all wish Cam & Ollie a lifetime of happiness, and look forward to seeing Ollie’s return to the cricket field post his honeymoon.