|Ed. Academical 2nd XI||199|
With their inspirational Captain, Andrew (The Doc) Rawlins, missing in action the teams 100% winning streak was left in the allegedly capable hands of a captaincy committee consisting of Samsheer (Sammy) Abdullah, Steve Greenwood and Dave (Woodsy) Woods.
Despite missing some key regulars the general mood was upbeat and team spirit lifted by the arrival of the new team kit and the return of Accies stalwarts Lester Knibb and Dan Pring. Following an in-depth examination of the wicket and lengthy discussions regarding the weather and the teams strengths/weaknesses the consensus was that today would be a good day to bowl first. The continuing Accies tradition of loosing the toss fell to Woodsy, then the unthinkable happened…..he won the toss! Unfortunately, having missed out on the afore mentioned lengthy discussions, he decided to send us in to bat! Steve quickly shrugged this mishap off and rallied the troops with a rousing pre=match speech.
The day was wet and blustery, the opposition were Village but hopefully the standard of cricket would be far from it as Steve and Woodsy took to the middle for the start of play. The pair set off to a promising start as Steve found the middle with a flurry of early shots and Woodsy attempted to shake off his recent bad form with a return to the ‘Gandalf’ style of blocking that had proved so effective for him last season. Despite this good start the now regular event soon happened and Woodsy for the second time on the Inverleith track mistimed a straight forward shot straight into the safe hands of Dixon for a duck.
This saw the ever dependable David (Blackie) Black enter the fray. Steve was next to fall when he was bowled by a delivery that moved in the proverbial country mile, ending what had been an almost certain big score prematurely on 33.
Lester teamed up with Blackie and the eternally youthful duo put together a valuable partnership, both frustrating and punishing the bowling attack before a sharp catch at square leg saw the end of Lester and Blackie was bowled around his legs while sweeping.
Danesh Kumar set about playing himself in well until miss fortune saw him warm the same set of hands that Woodsy had found earlier in the innings. The fall of the 5th wicket saw Sammy and Akhil Aneja united at the crease with 85 runs on the board at the halfway stage. Both men swiftly set about steadying the Accies ship with a combination of calm, sensible batting and some fine shot selection. The pair batted excellently, taking turns to force the field back with thunderous boundaries then find the resulting gaps to dash some rapid singles. These tactics saw the score race along and the resolve of the opposition begin to waver under the onslaught, until one quick single too many saw Akhil left just short of his ground as the bails tumbled.
Deepak Kalbhor joined Sammy and began exactly where Akhil had left off. As we saw for much of last season the pairs speed between the wickets and love for the more than occasional gigantic shots saw the score continue to rise rapidly. Deepak yet again managed to punctuate his innings with a trademark 6 before becoming the second victim of opening bowler G.Barie. Accies impressive display of running between the wickets continued as Sammy was joined by the returning Krishnamoorthy Kirubakaradoss. The pair pushed the score up to what was now a very competitive total before Krishna was bowled with only a couple of overs remaining.
With the score on 199 and the overs rapidly running out, license to loosen the shoulders was given to all remaining batsmen. Dave Thew went to the crease with that intent firmly in mind but was unlucky to be caught behind when going after the bowling attack. This left last man Dan Pring in exactly the batting position he liked, 2 overs left and permission to give it to the bowlers!
Unfortunately his chance was cut short as at the start of the next over Sammy went for another mighty shot only to find the man in the deep, ending what was a spectacular display on a very impressive 62! Even the now falling rain couldn’t dampen Accies spirits after this performance, a target of 200 on a tricky batting wicket was better than we or our opposition would have expected.
With the weather closing in and the rain falling freely there was a quick turn around and another inspiring team talk from Steve before Accies took the field in search of our 4th straight win. Conditions were tricky, the strong wind that had hampered Preston Villages bowlers in the first innings was still blowing in earnest and the rain was quickly to turn the ball into a squidgy mess, roughly resembling a red bar of soap. This was a game that few players on either side expected to reach the end, however with two 100% streaks and a lot of pride at stake there was no way less than the required 20 overs would be played.
Sammy stepped forward and took charge of the on field activities, and leading by example he opened up proceedings with a maiden over. Opening from the other end Deepak was not to be outdone by Sammy’s great start and bagged the first wicket, clean bowling opener Wickstead with the score still on 0. Both bowlers kept the pressure on with some good tight bowling that kept the batsmen on their toes and the score low.
With the team 1 bowler light on previous weeks Accies needed someone to step up to the mark and that someone was Akhil. After a slightly wayward start he found his line and produced a series of virtually unplayable deliveries that all but tied the batsmen in knots and created several good chances. His efforts were rewarded when Danesh pulled off a fine catch in the deep as the batsmen tried to up the run rate.
Lester and Dan also joined the attack, both bowling tidily and keeping the runs down. The next wicket came when a crafty delivery from Lester tempted the batsman too much and some sharp work behind the stumps from Blackie saw S.Dixon stranded out of his crease.
Accies celebrations however could not begin yet as Preston Village battled back with some fine batting and a steady, free scoring partnership between Burton (60) and Nisbet (33) saw them get firmly back into the game before both me were caught behind off Dan and Sammy respectively.
The game was at a critical stage for both teams, Preston Village needed a couple of big overs to get back on top of the required run rate and Accies needed some tidy bowling to prevent exactly that. Accies were working hard in the field but with the difficult conditions underfoot and slippery ball there were definitely runs to be had and Preston Village went for them!
The threat of a Village revival was finally broken when some good accurate bowling from Sammy and Deepak, returning at the death, saw the fall of 3 late wickets, all bowled as the batsmen went for big shots.
As the 45th over came to a close the scoreboard read 182, leaving Preston Village just 18 runs short of their target in what turned out to be a truly nail biting and enjoyable game of cricket that not even the days less then pleasant weather could spoil.
A good win for Accies, 62 with the bat and 3 wickets…..Happy Birthday Sammy!