Ali Asghar the hero in 6 wicket win over Old Owens
By Paul Blackwell
Ricky stay top after 5 games
On a very windy day, Ricky took on the might of a combined Old Owens and Henlow XI for the right to go top of the table. A position Ricky had held for the first 4 weeks. Old Owens had drafted in 3 players from other clubs to assist them in the game, so clearly they were taking it just as seriously.
The opening left handed had a curious approach to anything pitching on leg stump, which was to just stand still and so it was, on the 3rd appeal, that he was given out LBW. The other opening bat, Changlani, was caught well by Waheed at point and Ricky were into the middle order. The danger man Bell was dropped twice by Paul and it looked like he was going to make a big score when Waqqas got him to push at a ball which Brett hung onto. The other batsman carried on hitting anything to leg, so it was a pity that 5 good Ricky balls would usually have a bad one in amongst it. 250-270 looked on the cards. However Azhar got one to pop that Sohail caught in the gully and then Danial bowled the next man. Still the other opening bat, Noman, carried on regardless and he eventually got to a well-deserved 100. However, in doing so he took at least 130 balls and Ricky did amazingly well to not concede a boundary in the last 5 overs. Hanuman bowled well at the beginning and the end and it was an all-round good performance in the field that kept Old Owens down to 225.
After a tea which included chips (!!) the opening pair went out to bat, but Paul was caught off the very first ball, in the covers. Waqar went for 4 and Sohail cheaply as well, and at 11/3, Ricky were deep in trouble. But then a miracle happened. Bobby and Ali Asghar did the most sensible of things and played the next 25 overs by hitting the bad ball, running hard and keeping the strike rotating. It was so textbook it was brilliant to see. Ali Asghar reached a 50 first and then Bobby lost his patience and was out for 48. But he was back in form and Ricky were now 130/4. Waheed came to the wicket as the last specialist batsman, but again he supported Ali Asghar wonderfully. Now this was the Ricky batting we like to see. Quick running and then, when the field crept in, some huge maximums over the ropes. Ali went to his ton with a fantastic 4 and then reached 112* with Waheed on 37* as the game was won with overs to spare.
Of course Ali's first team century was a joy to behold. But just as good was the professional way the 3 batsmen, Waheed, Bobby and Ali, managed the chase to perfection. Ricky are now 20 points clear of 2nd place and nobody will fancy taking on the boys in green and gold.