In a scene befitting Lemony Snickett, Rickmansworth 2nd XI's chances of success yesterday were hampered from the start by player drop outs and the promotion of Brett to the 1st XI (to again cover a drop out). With a player running late, Sohail press-ganged Groundsman Chris into fielding, which he happily did in his red trousers and coat! Worse still was to come when Waheed fell to the ground with back spasms after just 2 overs, the outcome of which was that he took no further part in the game. However he did stay and score and support the team. Unlike some who batted later and then left without umpiring or helping out. Unacceptable when you only have 9 players!
Back to matters on the pitch, OMCC only lost 2 games last season and were promoted and it sowed why, when Pillai and Tummala put on 117 for the first wicket in 19 overs. Without Brett and Harvey and limited choices for bowlers, Ricky did stick to their lines, but Pillai in particular was very strong both sides of the wicket and punished anything lose. There was nothing Sohail could do to stem the flow of runs. Davis replaced Tummala (41) and he also scored 54 as the 200 came up for the loss of just one wicket. No catches were dropped - it was just that the wide open spaces and decent track meant that runs were very easy to come by. In the last 5 overs there was a spark of revival and Ali Ratansi got some wickets and the runs slowed a little. But 241 in 35 overs was still an exceptional total.
Needing 7 an over Paul and Vijay started steadily enough, taking 28 off the first 7 overs, but in trying to up the rate, Paul was bowled by the impressive Khan for 15. Bobby was undone by a slower delivery which looped to first slip and Ricky were 33/2. Vijay was next to go, scoring 14 off 15 overs. It was an impressive holding display, but he found it hard to penetrate the field when the OMCC bowlers were sticking to an off side line. 48/3 after 12 and Ricky were now stuck at 4 an over, needing 7 an over from the start. Adeel and Asghar tried to up the tempo, but they also both struggled against the medium pace bowlers. Asghar went for a well worked 24 and he is in some form for the league games to come. Sohail was out slogging, which was the only way at that point and Adeel and Faizan both followed shortly afterwards to leave Ricky on 87 for 7 with 14 overs left. Finally Daniel was bowled by another impressive OMCC debutant and it was game over.
A chastening loss that showed some Ricky fighting spirit, but also highlighted the need to ensure that players play their part in not dropping out on Saturday mornings! It spoils the game for everyone. Let's hope it is just an aberration before the League season begins and we can properly set our sights on some winning performances.