2nds come through tough challenge to stay top of the tree
By Paul Blackwell
Chipperfield tougher than their bottom place suggests
Looking for a fifth win in 6 games, to extend their lead at the top of the table, the 2nd XI faced a Chipperfield team who had lost all 5 initial games. In the last 20 years, this would have been a tough fixture for Ricky, but now the tables were turned with Ricky back on the rise and Chipperfield's star on the wane. With Saj Mahmood and overseas player Robinson in the team, Chipps had plenty of bowling firepower but their batting had been fragile in previous games so it was no surprise when Ricky asked Chipperfield to have a bat.
Max Woollett and Nic Cousins rode their luck for the first 20 overs, without losing their wicket, but the bowling of Ricky was tight and they never really got away. The first wicket fell at 71/1 but it had taken 21 overs. Once he had the first wicket, Azhar then set about working his way through the batting line up, taking the first 4 in figures of 4-33. He has been a good replacement for Faizen. Waqas and Usman also went for less than 4 an over. Whilst wickets were at a premium on a slow pitch, the Chipperfield batsmen never exerted any pressure and a final score of 189 in 43 overs was decent but not a concern. Perhaps the most exciting moment of the game though, was when a huge tree decided to snap and fall on the boundary. An amazing experience.
Paul and Sohail both departed early and when Aamir batted like a man with a train to catch and was out for a single, Ricky were once again behind the 8 ball on 17-3. Much like last week. Bobby played sensibly, scoring at one an over and keeping his wicket intact. He doesnt realy like these slow wickets, but when he went with the score on 60/4 after 20 overs, the game was in the balance. But in came Usman Pervaiz Rai whose sensible approach to batting and consummate stroke play was the perfect counter-balance to Asghar Ali Shah's power-hitting. Asghar hit 3 successive 6's on the leg side to bring up his 50 and accelerate the Ricky scoring perfectly. However he went to the pacey Robinson (what luxury Chipperfield have to be able to recruit not one, but two, overseas players every year) to a fine nick behind and then Waheed was out lbw to the same bowler in his last over. But that was Chipperfields last throw of the dice as their two main bowlers were now finished.
With 47 runs still to get Adeel Khan kept a cool head and supported Usman, who now took control of each over hitting a boundary every time. The extras also piled up as the Chipperfield spare bowlers couldnt control their lines and the target was reached with overs to spare.
If Ricky can get the top 4 firing again, then winning games should be even easier. And the bowlers will have more luck in games to come, that much is sure. Ricky are now 40 points clear of 3rd place and are already becoming the team to beat.