Stevenage game ends painfully
By Paul Blackwell
Raz saves the day
The Ricky 2nd XI were delighted to welcome Shammi back to the team and Sohail from the 1st XI, as well as speedster Tom Watson to help bolster the bowling. What wasnt so pleasant was a pitch with long grass on the outfield and a wicket that was certain to play slow and low and after all the recent rain.
Batting first was the most sensible option and Paul started in his steady fashion. Sohail looked in decent touch before missing an inswinger from the Stevenage skipper, who was making the ball talk. In fact, 4 balls later he then did for Shammi with a little away cutter that took a fine edge and was pouched by the keeper. The slow and steady start now meant we were 30/2 after 14 overs, when Raz came to the crease. What followed was an exceptional innings by the skipper as he ignored the loss of Paul and Rishi over the next 20 overs to establish a decent score.
Nobody else seemed able to stay for long, but Raz kept building little partnerships and hitting anything lose into the long grass. That we reached 165+ was simply down to what will probably be recognised as one of the best innings Raz has played. It was worth 80/90 on any normal day and Ricky's total was a decent one on that track.
The 2nd innings started with an explosion as Tom bowled a world-class delivery that climbed to the throat of the opening bat and he spooned a catch up for the keeper. Waseem then bowled a jaffa at the other end to take the top of off stump of the other bat (who was their top scorere to date) and it was 2-2. The slow bowlers were soon introduced and Faizan bowled impeccable lines and so did Ronesh. Both got important wickets and the Ricky catching was the best it could ever be. Shammi came on and bowled wonderfully well to take out 3 batsmen including a great catch at mid wicket by Raz. Rishi took a marvellous catch as well and Ricky then needed just one wicket to win with Stevenage 106/9.
What followed was something that was unique in this writers 30 years playing Cricket. The Stevenage skipper suddenly jumped two paces forwards, literally, and across his stumps just as Rishi was about to deliver. Startled, Rishi let go of the ball too late and it headed straight for his chest where he managed to get a bat on it and hit it straight into his own face. The manouvre was even stranger as he wasnt wearing a helmet, so quite why he chose to come so far down the wicket only he will know. The resultant clash of ball and face was enough to leave him on the ground for 5 minutes before medical aid advised that the game couldnt progress. Ricky were the winners
All those present wish the Stevenage captain well and hope to see him in the return fixture.
Ricky climb back into the middle of the table and will hope for an upturn in fortune after what was a good performance with bat and ball until the unfortunate final denouement.