Datchworth do the double over Rickmansworth
By Paul Blackwell
RCC 197/10 v DCC 198/4
Having noticed Rickmansworth's winning streak of 6 chases and 6 wins in a row it was no surprise when Datchworth won the toss and put Ricky into bat. They also tried to force Ricky to accept a non-qualified umpire, one of their own players, to Umpire the whole game but this kind offer was declined. It was clear this was a game, played between 2nd and 3rd place, that would be fiercely contested.
Unfortunately the pitch itself wasn't up to as good a standard as the players on it, and from the first over the lack of bounce was really telling. More worrying was that Ricky didnt get their usual start, generally posting 50 or more before the first wicket, with Paul getting a ball that jumped off a length to take the glove to the keeper and Adeel getting a roller that pinned him back LBW. 28/2 and only 5 overs gone. What then followed was an extraordinary passage of play where Raz batted for 12 overs without playing a scoring shot. Extraordinary patience, which showed how intent he was on keeping his wicket intact. Bobby however, did keep scoring and Ricky reached 76/2 before Raz was bowled when he decided to open up. And his concerns were declared right when Basit was lucky not to be out stumped first ball and then edged to the keeper 2nd ball for a duck. 76/2 became 76/4. Ronesh was in next and scored freely before trying to heave a straight ball and was bowled leg stump. 96/5 and all Ricky's hopes of a 250 score had all but vanished. Indeed despite being out in the 3rd over of the game, Paul was still the 2nd highest score, after Bobby, and we were now in the 26th!
Waheed has been a revelation this year and he once again played some lovely shots, getting off the mark with a 6 and a late cut 4, taking the score to 121 before the wicket once again played it's part as Bobby got a ball that rolled along the ground after pitching leaving him in front of all 3 for a well made 59. It would have been 100, how well he had batted, and unfortunately with it went all hopes of a good score. "One for the Green" as the bowler put it - referring to the name of the pitch which is Datchworth Green. Kamran and Waheed continued to fire the team to a good score before Kammy was bowled by another ball that hit the bottom of the bat and rolled onto the stumps. One more for the Green! Rizzy looked comfortable before throwing his wicket away (his words) and when Waheed was out Ricky were 162 for 9. What follwed was some cleaver play by Faizan and Waseem as they nudged and nurdled, and also used up overs, getting byes and wides along the way, to enable Ricky to post 197. But still 2 overs were left in the bank and to bat 50 overs when batting first is something Ricky have to get sorted.
With the skippers words of "just bowl straight and let the wicket do the work" ringing in their ears the Ricky bowlers took to the field. But without real pace, and the ball not turning, it was a pity that Ricky didnt quite manage to do just that. Rizzy did get a ball to jag back and keep low to bowl opening bat Nash, and Ronesh turned a ball enough to get the other opener out lbw but that was all Ricky could muster in the first 20 overs. Knowing the wicket as they do, the Datchworth batsmen leapt into anything from the spinners, being very aggressive on Adeel and Kamran. Waheed took a good catch in the 2nd half and Waseem was given an LBW with just 2 runs to win, but in truth Datchworth would have been able to chase down 260+ if needed, such was their dominance over a disappointing Ricky 2nd XI bowling attack.
Ricky slip down to 4th place behind a Radlett team that have not lost since being defeated by Ricky in mid June. But the table remains tight and if Ricky can win vital games against Radlett and St Margaretsbury coming up, then promotion remains in our own hands. But to do so, Ricky 2nds will need to have some help from other players in the club, bearing in mind that only 2 games remain before 1st XI players cannot be dropped to the 2nd XI.