NEWSOld Citizens Cricket Club v Mayfield Cricket Club, 25th May 2024Old Citizens Cricket Club v Mayfield Cricket Club, 25th May 2024

Thursday, 6/13/2024

On Saturday 25th May the weather finally allowed the Old Citizens Cricket Club 2024 season to get under way as we hosted Mayfield at the Metropolitan sports ground at Bushey. We had five players making their debut for us - Aditya, Sharujan, Ahmad, Urshan, and Chirag.

Richard Hillman, our skipper, won the toss and chose to bowl in a 40 over game. Asif and Chirag shared the new ball and Asif nearly took a wicket in his first over but a catch at extra cover couldn't be pouched. A combination of some tight bowling, a slow pitch and large boundaries made scoring quickly difficult and we were able to assert some early pressure. Asif struck in his third over with a straightforward LBW dismissal and in the following over the other opener played on to give Chirag his first wicket for the club. Mayfield had crawled to 22-2 in the first ten overs.

Aditya and Sharujan came into the attack and they nearly dismissed the Mayfield captain but I could only get my finger tips to the ball. Mayfield made a bit of a recovery although their number four bat never looked totally comfortable. He fell to an outstanding catch by Chirag to give Aditya his first wicket. The batsman mishit a pull and it looked as though Chirag had misjudged the flight of the ball but he stuck out his right hand and managed to hold on to the ball. With their captain now looking more assured and the new batsman prepared to play some shots they put on a partnership of 58 in 10 overs without trouble before Richard Millett bowled the number five for 21. He was replaced by Nic Kamlsh, and we thought he had dismissed the number six who had edged to ball to me, but the umpire was unmoved. As often seems to happen he made the most of his reprieve and promptly hit two balls to the square leg boundary. Their captain went past 50 but the number six dominated their partnership as Mayfield reached 150 in the 31st over. Both established batsmen were then dismissed in quick succession. Ahmad bowled the captain for a well compiled 69 and Nic then clipped the off stump of the other batsman with a wonderful leg cutter. He struck again in the same over to bowl the number seven. The Mayfield tail wagged even as wickets continued to fall. Urshan ran out the non-striker when he went for a non-existent run and the next ball took a caught and bowled. Mayfield were all out for a competitive 194.

After a slightly delayed but welcome tea Osman and Ahmed opened our innings, and the captain opened the bowling. He struggled to avoid bowling no balls, and bowled five in thefirst two overs. Ahmad got off the mark with a languid pull over midwicket for six. However, he was then bowled behind his legs by the Mayfield captain. Aditya was then unlucky to clip a catch to mid on as we fell to 17-2. Similarly to our opponents we fought back as Urshan led a mini recovery. He favoured the leg side and had reached 17 when he skied the ball high in the air and was well held at cover. The other opening bowler bowled his full eight overs on the trot and finished with the good figures of 2-21. Throughout this Osman was determined not to get out, and he and Sharujan took us to 75 after 15 overs. Perhaps his patience finally ran out because he was caught at mid off for14. Asif joined Sharujan and for once started in a very circumspect manner as he only hit 8 off his first 23 balls faced, although he hit a massive six over long on. We were also helped with a steady flow of extras. Sharujan reached a deserved half century but was then caught at mid off leaving us on 152-5 with 11 overs to go. James joined Asif who had accelerated by hitting six and four 4s. James played two lovely cover drives for four as we kept the target run rate to around four an over. When James was caught for 12, we required 21 off the final 5 overs.

By now Mayfield had all their fielders on the boundary when Asif was on strike and this did the job as he was restricted to hitting singles, and I got off to a sticky start. With 15 required from 16 balls Asif was caught behind for 48. Richard Millett came to the crease and we brought the target down to 10 runs off 10 balls when Birdseed played on. Chirag scored a single off the second ball and I hit a four over mid wicket which meant we had to score 5 in the last over to win. The last over started with a wide and Chirag scored a single. I then hit a 2 to level the scores and hit the next ball to the cover boundary and we crept over the line with 3 balls to spare and eight wickets down.

It was good to get the season off to a winning target and Mayfield were gracious in defeat.

Richard Hillman