A typical opening day game ends in defeat to Ickenham
Naeem reaches a personal best and first 50 for the club
The day began bright and sunny. Which unfortunately wasn't the skippers demeanor as one player didn't turn up at all (Meraj) and one turned up 15 minutes after the start. So after a casual stroll to the middle and a win of the toss, the Captain had no choice but to bat with only 9 players at the ground. Billy and Ken volunteered to open the batting and the rest of the team were mixed up to try and give everyone a go.
The opening bowlers, both teenagers, could certainly deliver the ball at pace and with deviation. The keeper, a larger than life character, found it easier to stand up to the wicket against all bowlers though which made it doubly hard for the batsmen to move their feet. Ken was unlucky to feather a bottom edge to the keeper and Billy drove at a ball without really getting his weight into the shot and it lobbed tamely to mid-on. Raunak was stumped and so was Adeel (the keeper was seriously quick with his hands) and when Harvey pulled a boundary and then got bowled two balls later, half the team were out contributing 8 runs between them. The Captains advice at the start, that there were "240 balls in the innings so don't waste them" had fallen on deaf ears. It was a Ricky collapse like so many before them. The only saving grace was that with the keeper standing up anything down leg side was byes and so the score was 38/5
Brett had remained at the other end throughout the carnage but was then dismissed lbw for 14. He looked good throughout though and will be in the runs this season for sure. Meanwhile Paul had come to the crease, but after Brett had gone, Jon followed soon afterwards after pulling a full toss to midwicket. The litany of curious ways to get out was ongoing. It was 57/7 and only Paul and Naeem remained at the crease with Hanuman still to bat. It looked like being a short day! However Paul and particularly Naeem, batted sensibly, (despite Naeem being reprieved when on 0 as he was caught off a no-ball). Some decent singles and punishing the odd loose ball, took the score over 100 and then to the 50 partnership. At 141 with 5 overs to go, Paul swiped across the line and was bowled for 33. Hanu and Naeem continued to push the ball around and when Hanu was out with the score on 150, the Ickenham skipper kindly agreed for us to carry on giving Raunak a little more practice in the middle. Naeem finished on 57 not out and though Ricky scored 165, we reverted back to the fall of the 9th wicket and settled on 150.
Raunak and Hanu were given the new ball and a remarkable wicket fell in the first over. The batsman glanced the ball down the leg side where a diving keeper stopped it. The batsman then lost his footing attempting a run and fell in the middle of the wicket. A run out occured and the red-faced batsman made his way back to the pavilion. Then Raunak bowled a beautiful leg-swing yorker to dismiss Ganesh and Ickenham were 4-2. However this only served to bring together their two best batsman and despite the combined efforts of all the bowlers AB (44) and Samir (68) couldnt be removed. Samir, a 15 year old County Batsman, certainly showed huge promise in playing anything loose outside off stump though point and backward point. Adeel Usman came on to bowl and got both AB and Mehbob (0) in consecutive overs, and Raunak also got another beautiful yorker in the dismiss the number 6, but the captain Chris Lawton (20) then joined Samir to coast past the required total with 5 wickets in hand. With a handful of youngsters still to bat, Ricky were probably only a wicket or two away from winning, but the chance to dismiss Samir never came.
At the end of the day it was a wonderfully friendly game played in a good spirit and hopefully the ring-rustiness of some of the players will have been freed.