Denham’s 1st XI confirmed their second place finish on Saturday with a 5 wicket win at home to third place Wraysbury 2nd XI. Needing just 4 points to be sure of second spot, Denham achieved this in the first innings as they bowled the visitors out for just 97. Superbly economical bowling from all of the attack meant Nicholas was able to take advantage with 5-15 and Mahmood was able to break the Denham record for most wickets in a league season with 41.
Denham were able to pass their target for the loss of 5 wickets to complete their victory with Wasim scoring his 500th run of the season.
The 2nd XI, assured of safety being a comfortable 41 points ahead of Winchmore Hill 2nd XI went in the knowledge that any abject performance would be enough to be guarantee of Division 3 cricket in 2014. Sure as anything with the toss won, skipper Dave Tang set about attaining his last remaining goal of the 2013 season: topping the run scoring charts. Seeking credible assistance from the team he had so admirably marshalled throughout the season, the skipper found the barrel empty save the efforts and experience of the team stalwart Phil Bashworth. Phil nobly batted out the overs with his skipper, who looked to bat sensibly with all 52 overs at his disposal to eke every possible run out of the Winchmore bowling. In doing so, Tang scratched up his maiden league ton, albeit against a bowling attack predominantly made up of Colts. The final Denham total of 167 all out after 51.3 overs featured Tang's 121 and 15 extras, the rest of the order failing to get into double figures. Special mention has to go to Phil Bashworth whose experience enabled the total and his captain's debut ton by way of his watchful batting. With little to play for, Denham abused new man Magner by making him bowl 15 overs on the trot, his Denham potential outlined by his tidy return of 15-5-34-0. The game whittled away from Denham in the final third of the Winchmore innings, but this did not deter the loudest changing room of the season at the end of the game, the 2nd XI knowing that they had somehow survived being promoted from Division 4 despite finishing fourth!
Skipper Tang completed an emphatic second season at the helm, dragging his team along with him as he amassed a total of 723 runs at 65.73, a new Division 3 record aggregate. Other notable performances without which the 2nd XI would not have been playing Div 3 cricket next season include Jeff Simpson, whose initial batting prowess metamorphosed into steady toenail-less bowling, amassing 274 runs at 22.83 as well as 21 wickets at an average of 24; Hemen Mehta and Ambrose Treacy both contributing with bat and ball.
The 1st XI blew their chance of the Division 2 title after losing to Pinkneys Green. On winning the toss Denham decided to bowl and restricted the home side to 157/9 from their 52 overs. Mahmood, Shepard and the Vore all bowled very tightly, but it was Nicholas who despite bowling terribly, was the main wicket taker with 5 wickets.
On a deteriorating pitch, Denham made a solid start of 40 for the first wicket. However they soon found themselves 60/4. A recovery was made by Maynard and Shokat to take the score to 110/4 but when they both went in quick sucession, followed by Metha and Shepard, it looked increasingly unlikely Denham would reach their paltry target. When Mahmood was finally bowled by Dhillon Denham had fallen 10 runs short.
The pain was heightened by news that league leaders Winchmore Hill had also lost, but had gained enough points to not take the title race into the last day.
The 2nd XI fared little better against Holyport, who came to the Lane looking to avenge their defeat in the reverse fixture a few weeks back. Losing the toss, Holyport were positive in their intent and chose to bat. The Denham bowling was worn down by Holyport opener Edwards who watchfully and carefully batted through the innings to finish on 109* while at the other end the Denham bowling was taken apart by the powerful belligerence of Kelvin Baillie who also finished on 109. Holyport batted out their 52 overs for 290 for the loss of 5 wickets. Denham's batting reverted to form in reply, with skipper Tang offering the only resistance with 85. Last wicket pairing Rees and Simpson saw out almost the innings for yet another famous blockout, only for a rush of blood causing Simpson to try to launch Damirchi over the top, succeeding only in finding the top edge. Denham bowled out on 184 with two deliveries to go! 6 points
Sadly for the 1st XI their hotly anticipated game of first plays second in Div 2 failed to get away from the runway as rain prevented any play at all.
Unfortunately for Englefield, their position in the far west of the Division 3 meant that they were spared any rain and as such, a late call down for 1st XI captain Faisal Mahmood bolstered the bowling options of the 2nd XI as they travelled a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away to Englefield in search of any points that would ply the pressure on relegation rivals Winchmore Hill. Knowing that Winchmore were going to forfeit their next game against Penn & Tylers, any points would put more distance between the two teams.
Skipper Tang crucially won the toss and of course chose to bowl on a grey day, the wicket offering something early for the bowlers. The introduction of Mahmood into the attack brought immediate dividends, with Englefield skipper Peter Hicks - second in the run scoring aggregates caught at mid wicket to an athletic catch by Rulach. Ongoing bowling pressure by Tang and Denham debutant Magner further frustrated the batting side. Englefield were never really allowed to get away as the Denham bowling and fielding kept the Englefield total to 237 for 7 off of 52 overs, Hale scoring 88 and McFail 54.
Tea came and went, and Denham prepared for the chase. The most solid opening partnership of the season saw Payne and Tobin put on 98 for the first wicket. Failing to apply captain's orders to start to attack the batting, Payne fell for a noble 31, his pad unsurprisingly white. The swift fall of Prem Mehta brought skipper Tang into the crease with the score on 117-2 and just under half of the innings left to bat out. Initially scratchy, Tang threw off the shackles of having to recurrently keep the Denham innings together to take the attack to the Englefield bowling for a change. Besides McFail and Robertson, Englefield could only call upon veteran Rob White to reliably supplement the overs column. Remembering previous games where he had developed a taste for White's off breaks, Tang set about relieving the scoring pressure from Tobin who by now was showing signs of fatigue by launching the bowler for a series of maximums leading to his withdrawl from the attack. Tobin then took to Englefield skipper Hicks' bowling, himself launching the bowler for a series of maximums as the pair sought to relieve the scoreboard pressure on the victory target. With Englefield running out of bowling options Denham knocked off the runs with 46.4 overs bowled, claiming a famous victory at the league leaders. Tobin finished with a 'I thought I'd never get another one' 107* and Tang a belligerent 61*: 25 points and safety!
Another won toss meant that the 1st XI were able to put White Waltham 2XI into bat on a fine day for cricket. The White Waltham top three acquitted themselves well taking the score to 133-2 before Mark Shepherd entered the attack. The fall of opener Andy Parnham to the spin of Sohail Anwar sparked a collapse in the batting order, White Waltham 168-5 to finishing on 204 all out on after 50 overs, Shepherd outstanding with 5-53, Mahmood 3-37. The 1st XI batting made short work of their target, flailing the opposition bowling to all quarters, Malik and Rai putting on an admirable partnership before the former fell for 55. Rai (83*) finished the innings with Anwar (28*), knocking off the runs with only 39.3 overs bowled, earning the 1st a bowling maximum of 25 points
The 2nd XI meanwhile had the last of their run of the top teams in the league at the Lane, hosting Pinkneys Green, having played two and lost two against their bogey team. Losing the toss again the 2nd XI were put into bat, their frail batting order once more exposed to the new ball first up. The Pinkney's opening bowlers once again displayed their mastery of the new cherry, restricting Denham to 152-9 off their 52 overs, skipper Dave Tang top scoring with 41. Tea was not enough to stem the flow of the game unfortunately for the 2nd XI, with the Pinkney's batsmen having no real scoreboard pressure put on them from the off. The game was lost in the 40th over for the loss of 7 wickets, 6 points.
Denham 1st XI produced a comfortable win against Hurley on Saturday to reduce the gap to top side Winchmore Hill to 31 points. After winning the toss and bowling first captain Faisal Mahmood removed the two dangermen Ridgeway and Akhtar cheaply. The Vore then bowled Simoes (who scored a century the previous week) with a scuttler leaving the home side in trouble. Denham carried on taking regular wickets and finally bowled Hurley out for 135.
Malik went early in reply, but Nicholas and Wasim took the score up to 80 at a run a ball before Nicholas was adjudged caught behind for 25. Wasim continued the onslaught along with Rai and Denham passed their target for the loss of 4 wickets in less than 27 overs. 25 points to add to the title charge!
Having kept out the intentions of Englefield, Denham 2nd XI now had to deal with the menace of the team second in their league, Penn and Tyler's Green 2nd XI. Faithfully losing the toss, Denham were invited to bowl on a wicket that had only been rolled that morning. It proved enough for P&T batsman Royce, who effortlessly scored 140 not out in a chanceless innings that lasted from the first ball to the declaration on 246-8 from 48 overs. It has to be mentioned that the 2nd XI never really let their fielding effort slip away from them and acquitted themselves well.
After another hastily prepared tea, Denham got word that the Penn innings would be opened by 'spinner' Morris and the old ball. Incensed by the no balling of his elbow spin, Hemen Mehta demanded to open, a request that was accepted by skipper Tang who willingly partnered him at the top of the order in an attempt to negate whatever tricks the old ball would throw up. Sure enough, the old ball was seen off after 8 overs, bringing Penn 1st XI bowler Larter (complaining of a painful little finger hence he had to play 2nd XI cricket) on at one end with the left arm over of Graham at the other with the new ball. Mehta took well to the bowling of the latter, freely goading the bowler with big agricultural swipes at anything outside off stump, drawing more and more venom and menace out of the bowler until eventually after a succession of boundaries off the bat the bowler was withdrawn. The was as far as the Mehta cameo lasted however as he was caught and bowled off the bowling of Larter for 36 very entertaining runs. Once more the Denham batting showed its true colours with batsmen just about getting in and then not captialising. The fall of Treacy once more to a pull shot with the score on 128-8 united Simpson and Rees at the crease with at least 20 overs to go. Penn and Tylers threw the kitchen sink at the pair in an attempt to get their 30 point haul to close the gap on table toppers Englefield. The Denham pair had other ideas however and held on for another typical Denham blockout, much to the rage of some of the Penn players who clearly had not been to the Way and Tillard recently in search of 30 points. Simpson finished unbeaten on 21 with a veritable bruise on his left shoulder for his efforts; Denham earning a meagre 6 points in their attempt to hold off relegation.
Beer can chicken, a Denham favourite
The 1st XI fell an agonising two wickets away from a sixth win on the trot away at Chalfont. Batting first Denham made 213 all out with Sohail Anwar, promoted to number four in Bobby Rai’s absence, top scoring with an excellent 65. Mark Shepard was undefeated on 42.
Chalfont started well in reply but 15 overs on the bounce from Nicholas for just 28 runs and 2 wickets pulled them back and made the run chase too much for them. However the bowlers didn’t have enough left in the tank to prise out the last two wickets so Denham had to settle for 14 points.
The 2nd XI hosted top of the table Englefield hoping to prise away as many points as possible from the champions elect. Fielding a Middlesex U17 player, Englefield won the toss and opted to bat. The Denham effort began well with tight experienced bowling from Simpson somewhat let down by Grover's second game of the season, evidently still trying to bowl his way back to form. An early run out by H Mehta sparked a steady flow of wickets, one Mehta over yielding three wickets, separated by one ball short of a hattrick. The Englefield innings was teetering on 100-6 when the Englefield number 8 was dropped early in his innings. He went on to amass 60 runs before being LBW to Simpson. The damage was done however, and Englefield finished on 209 all out after 45 overs.
In reply, the only Denham batsman offering any form of resistance was Tobin, whose 46 was the highlight of the top-middle order who all perished to poor shots or to the threat of rapid bowling by Andrew Turner, the county player fielded by Englefield. All looked lost at 115-8 as all of the top order batsmen had perished yet a timely cameo by the fully plastered Hemen Mehta featuring at number 10 saved the Denham innings. Refusing to be intimidated by the brutish arrogance of Turner, Mehta took to the attack, smashing Turner in front of the wicket on off and leg with gay abandon. He was ably assisted by Ashworth who stoically guided deliveries to the boundary like it was yesteryear. Denham once more limped home, finishing on 172-9 off 55 overs with 8 credible points to their name.
The thunderstorm that saved the Denham 2XI bowling effort.
The 1st XI continued their astonishing run of victories with a fantastic and exciting win away at Wraysbury. Asked to bat, Denham were only able to reach 197 all out from 45 overs on a pitch that was harder to bat on than it initially looked. Ikky Shokat with 54 was the only batsman to really ever look comfortable.
After a frankly disappointing tea (dry sandwiches, cheap pizza, under-cooked chips and strange deep fried veggie things) it was not surprising that Denham’s bowling effort began in a somewhat lacklustre fashion. Wraysbury raced to 100/1 with plenty of time to knock off the remaining runs. Heavy rain, certain to end proceedings once it started, had been forecast and looked ominous, which seemed Denham’s best chance of salvaging anything from the game. But it was at that point the game changed. Shepard picked up a wicket. Soon after as an appeal for LBW was turned down, Shokat, noticing the batsman paying more attention to the umpire’s decision than whether or not he was in his crease, took a shy at the stumps from gulley, hit, and ran the batsman out.
From this point on Denham ran through the Wraysbury middle and lower order with Shepard taking four wickets and Nicholas two. However it was now Wraysbury that were looking to the heavens for salvation. The rain began with the home side 8 wickets down and it looked unlikely the game would reach a conclusion. But Shepard removed the Wraysbury skipper to complete a five-for and in the following over captain Mahmood, back into the attack, had the number 11 LBW to complete the win. As the skies opened the Denham players celebrated, Mr and Mrs Nicholas rushed to their cars for cover as the thunder and lightning began.
Back at the Lane, the 2nd XI looked to perform better against a Taplow 2nd XI they had capitulated to at the beginning of the season. On a hot dry day, the wicket looking flat as a pancake, the toss was won by Denham who chose to bat. It seemed an awful decision (and justifies the captain's decision to lose the toss each week) as Denham raced to 19-4 with a mixture of horrendous shot selection and good Taplow bowling. Skipper Tang stood fast, justifying his decision (?!) as wickets continued to tumble around him. Mild solace was strangely found in Bhagodia who mustered a flash of concentration to trundle to 23 before he was caught and bowled off the bowling of Mehmood who in the innings took 4 catches. A partnership of 74 between 2nd XI stalwarts Tang and Simpson ensued before Tang's innings was brought to another premature end in the deep on 98. Will he ever learn? Simpson willingly continued the late innning onslaught as Denham somehow reached a total of 229 for 9 off their 52 overs, Parkinson finishing with figures of 6-42.
Trying to suffocate Taplow after tea, the old ball was used to good effect with Hemen Mehta bowling his 15 overs for 31 runs, getting two wickets in the process. Skipper Tang also made an appearance in the wickets column, returning figures of 8-1-30-3. As the Taplow innings reached its median, the new ball was called for under cloudy skies and handed to Treacy and the returning Grover. Taplow bats Street and Andrew at 6 and 7 respectively took to the new ball with intent, costing Grover 50 wicketless runs off of only 6 overs. Treacy managed two wickets but by now the Taplow innings had significant momentum and were within striking distance of reaching their target.
Alas the heavens opened to save Denham once more, the Denham skipper's meteorological knowledge ensuring that he always knew that there was a back up plan should his schemes not come to fruition. The Taplow bats walked off under significantly dark skies, the umpires barely able to see the ball with the score on 198 for 7 off 43 overs, meaning they only needed another 31 runs off their 5 remaining overs, the most likely scenario. 13 points apiece thanks to the rain.
The 1st XI travelled to Coleshill on Saturday in search of what may be an unprecedented 4th win on the trot. After winning the toss and much umming and ahhing Denham decided to field first. It was hard going for both the bowlers and fielders on one of those days where the catches didn’t quite go to hand and the ball bobbled around the outfield. The Coleshill captain Spencer scored a fine century and allowed the home side to post a challenging 260 from their 52 overs.
Denham’s reply started badly as they slumped to 50/4. Dave Maynard (42) and Prem Metha (31) steadied the ship with a crucial partnership before Metha was run out and Maynard chipped the following ball to midwicket.
With Denham requiring almost 8 an over from the last 20 overs and only four wickets remaining, a successful run chase looked unlikely and Denham’s best hope was to go for the draw and stop 3rd placed Coleshill get too many points. However this was obviously not in the minds of Shokat (37) and Anwar (27) who began hammering the ball to all parts. When Anwar was caught on the boundary the dangerous Shepard came in and continued the onslaught. It came down to 19 from 4 overs when Shokat was finally caught at short third man bringing in skipper Mahmood at number 10. With only the Vore (not known for his batting prowess) left in the hutch a careful decision had to be made as whether to continue the chase. But a couple of decent overs left Denham needing 4 to win from the last 14 balls. Then Mahmood was plumb LBW meaning the incoming Vore needed to block the final ball of the over to give Shepard the strike in the penultimate over. Some fool’s gold was tossed up and the Vore successfully kept out the full toss and the Denham faithful breathed a sigh of relief. However soon after, hearts were in mouths again when a single was taken off the second ball of the next over, leaving four balls for the Vore to see off. Some leg side dross, a full toss and a half tracker were seen off giving Shepard the strike in the final over with 3 runs required for an unlikely victory. All of Coleshill’s fielders were on the boundary trying to save the 2, but Shepard expertly picked a gap to allow a quick 2 to be taken. Victory looked certain when a full toss was served up next ball. Shepard swung it into the leg side (now with all the fielders up on the single), but a top edge sent it dangerously near to the mid wicket fielder. However a full length dive and an outstretched hand were not enough to take the catch and the batsmen scampered the winning run cueing pandemonium to break loose amongst the Denham team and supporters! 25 juicy points!!!!!! Four wins on the bounce for the 1st XI putting them comfortably into 2nd place.
Holyport 2nd XI troubled neither the scorers nor the tea ladies as they failed to put a side together. Bonus 25 points for Denham 2nd XI, thank you Holyport! Next week, the 1st XI travel away to Wraysbury 2nd XI while the 2nd XI host Taplow 2nds
On another scorcher of a Saturday afternoon the 1st XI looked to continue their winning ways at home to Chalfont 2nd XI while the 2nd XI looked to pick up the pieces of their disastrous defeat against Pinkney's away at Holyport 2nd XI with 9 regulars and 2 'others' (Josh, son of Jeff; Phil, brother of Dave).
Denham 1st XI consolidated their position of 2nd place in Division 2 at the weekend with a win over Chalfont St Giles.
Opting to field first in scorching conditions, Denham looked to have made a poor choice as Chalfont raced to 40 without loss. The Vore, who had struggled in his first few overs then had Patel caught at slip to get a well needed breakthrough. Three more quick wickets followed and Chalfont were reeling at 60/4. However 50s from Gorton and Hardy along with a few tough dropped chances, allowed Chalfont to get back in the game and post a challenging 226/9 from their 52 overs. The Vore produced fine figures of 3-46 from his fifteen overs and Mahmood picked up wickets at the end of the innings to finish with 4-41.
Chalfont opened with spin from each end and picked up the early wicket of Malik. Nicholas and Wasim then took the score steadily up to 100 before Nicholas was caught for 60. Wasim had been struggling with his timing up to this point but now started to find some shots as Denham picked up the run rate in search of their target. With Anwar and Shokat falling cheaply it was Shepard (55*) who came in and really got the scoreboard moving launching the ball to all parts of the ground. When Wasim eventually fell for 66, Denham had brought the rate required back down from 6.5 an over to around 5 and victory was in sight. It still needed a sensible knock from skipper Mahmood to take Denham over the line with a couple of overs to spare.
Thanks go to M and to Ali who helped out and made up the numbers at the last minute. This was crucial on such a hot day. 24 points added to the title charge!!!
Taking a rag-tag team to Holyport, the Denham cause was not helped by Ray Rulach 'stuck in traffic', arriving at the ground some two hours late! Bets are being taken on the true nature of the delay......
A miraculous toss win by the Denham skipper led to him inserting Holyport. 10 men walked on to the pitch, one a colt and another who had played no cricket in 15 years. The unfamiliar opening bowling partnership of Akbari and Simpson yielded early results with Holyport openers Pajwani (17) and Edwards (20) removed without too much fuss. Special mention has to go to Simpson who bowled his full allocation of 15 overs in the searing heat and a large toe nail that subsequently went on to fall off after the game. Hats off, sir! Regular Holyport wickets fell on the way to a total of 202 for 9 dec off 48 overs, Morgan Rees and Phil Ashworth both weighing in with three wickets apiece.
A sumptuous tea was had and with meagre batting resources and Simpson's toe nail hanging by a thread, preventing him from taking a meaningful part in the batting, skipper Dave Tang was forced to rejig his batting order, partnering warhorse Colin Tobin with Atwal in an attempt to see off the shine. The plan worked and for at least 15 overs no Denham wickets fell. The loss of Atwal (12) brought in the skipper to the crease. The quick fall of Tobin (15) and Rees (0) soon after brought Rulach to the crease, uniting 2nd XI skipper present and past in the middle. Biding his time to get in Rulach scratched around for a good few overs as he attempted to get his eye in while Tang took the attack to the Holyport bowlers, remembering his howler from the week before. Both players looked increasingly assured, the main threat being dehydration on a bakingly hot afternoon. No further Denham wickets fell thankfully, and the total was reached in 46.3 overs for the loss of 4 wickets, Tang finishing agonisingly close to his debut league ton on 98* and Rulach in the end finishing with a well crafted 49*. 24 points to help stave off relegation! Next games (after a week off) - see if the 1st XI can continue their winning ways agsinst Coleshill 1st XI and if the 2nds can build on their win against Holyport at the Lane!
On a glorious Saturday afternoon both 1st and 2nd XI featured at home and away respectively to Pinkney's Green.
The 1st XI won a nail-biter at home to Pinkneys Green on Saturday to move up to 2nd place in Division 2. The visitors batted first and looked comfortable at 95/2, but when Nicholas (4-58) removed the dangerous Dhillon followed by the following two batsman in the same over, it appeared that Denham would then bowl Pinkneys Green for a fairly paltry total. However a lacklustre fielding performance and a fight back from the lower order meant Denham still had to chase 216 for victory. Curlylewis being the top scorer with 100 not out after being dropped twice.
In reply Malik went early to the spin of Snape. Wasim and Nicholas rebuilt the innings and saw off the openers before Nicholas departed for 24 caught at square leg and the score on 58/2. A fifty partnership between Rai (24) and Wasim (42) followed but then both were out in quick succession and the chase looked less likely with the score on 123/4. Maynard looked good until he pulled a hamstring and had to retire hurt but Shokat took the attack to Pinkneys Green and kept Denham in the hunt. Shepard and Anwar both came and went, so it was down to Shokat and captain Mahmood to chase down the remaining runs at a rate of 7-8 an over. Some excellent running and cool batting took Denham over the line with 8 balls to spare. 25 points in the bag, another victory!!
At Pinkney's, the 2XI loss the toss against a 10 man Pinkney's 2nd XI and were put into bat. Against a superb bowling attack (Editor: Not an excuse!!!!) both openers did not have a chance to bed themselves in, getting out cheaply. A mini repair was effected by Prem Mehta (21) and Tang before the former nicked behind off the off breaks of Nadeem Asif (15-1-45-2). Tang was ably assisted by the returning Rulach (33) before he holed out for 72 at long on, much to his disgust. Some good hitting by Sadiq (28*) and Treacy (37) helped the score along to 228 for 6 off of 52 overs.
Bereft of bowling options, on a track getting easier and easier for the batsmen, Pinkney's had little trouble knocking off the runs, the hard hitting Asif (78) punishing inconsistent bowling by Denham, whose efforts in the field never came to the fore on this particular day. 6 points
Denham 1st XI produced a fantastic bowling display to fight back and win their game at home to Coleshill on Saturday. Yes, you’ve guessed it, after losing another toss, Denham were asked to bat in a slightly reduced game and looked fine until the dismissal of Nicholas for 21 sparked a Denham collapse. Dom Spencer was the pick of the bowling with 5-29. Although some hard hitting at the end of the innings from Shepard (40*) brought some respectability to the scoreboard, 128 all out never looked enough.
However Mrs Nicholas’s famous flapjacks must have put some fight into the Denham stomachs to go with the delightful combination of oats and syrup the always provide, as Denham produced a superb reply. After seeing the dangerous Coleshill captain Spencer edge between 1st and 2nd slip in the first over, The Vore produced the perfect out swinger to see him caught behind soon after. Cue raucous celebrations around Cheapside Lane. The Coleshill wickets continued to tumble thanks to a beautiful spell of bowling from skipper Faisal Mahmood who took 4-31 in 14 uninterrupted overs leaving Coleshill 65-6. However the next two Coleshill batsmen batted well and looked to be taking the game back out of Denham’s reach as they closed in on 100. Nicholas then took 2 wickets in 2 balls to swing the game back in favour of the home side. Coleshill refused to give in and still looked in the game until Shepard produced two nicks behind which keeper Richards gladly snapped up to give Denham the win. Denham move to 3rd with 27 points in Division 2 and with 3rd place likely to be handed promotion, are well in the mix.
The 2ndXI travelled to Winchmore Hill where they admired the wet ground and gloomy coppice. And promptly returned to the Lane to watch the 1st XI win! 5 rain points.
Providing John Kettley and Michael Fish do not conspire to spell doom for weekend cricketers, its Denham vs Pinkney's Green, 1st XI at home, 2nd XI away...watch this space!
Both teams managed only a meagre amount of cricket this week, unworthy of words.
After a sustained week of warm weather, all was set for an enthralling weekend's cricket as the 1st XI travelled to road like conditions at Great Kingshill 1st XI and the 2nd XI hosted Winchmore Hill 2nd XI at the Lane.
Winning the toss finally, captain Faisal Mahmood put Great Kingshill in and were rewarded by the quick fall of opener Young for 6. Three more Kingshill wickets fell before opener Mackenzie-Crook (106) and Rowe (74) piled on the runs in a large stand. A quickfire 31 from Mikuremda helped the Kingshill innings along to a very healthy 287-8 dec off of 51 overs. Mahmood 3-68, Sheppard 3-76.
A sumptuous tea consumed, Denham set about their task without usual opener Nicholas, who was away at the Rulach (Editor: has he been seen since?!) wedding. Openers Malik and Wasim built steadily before a subcontinental themed run out ensued, Wasim trudging back to the pavillion for 22. Steady scoring by Denham without any Denhamesque collapses meant that by their allotted 49 overs, Denham were closing in on their target for 5 wickets, notable scorers Maynard (54), Rai (43) and Shepard (42) sharing a worthy partnership by the close of the innings. 9 points for a good effort.
Back at the Lane, the 2XI were hosting a Winchmore Hill side that featured superstar Dave Pearce who had only the week before destroyed the Taplow 2XI innings with 9-27 (including a hat-trick). Winchmore spared no time in spreading word among the Denham ranks, 'You've never seen anything like him before' their umpires muttered as Denham lost the toss and interestingly were asked to field, Winchmore perhaps sensing a maximum was to be had at the Lane. They obviously hadn't read any scripts.
Stubborn early resistance by veteran Draycott blunted the early losses of captain Slade and A Pearce. Little brother Dave however had grand ambitions. Stroking the ball about the Way and Tillard he chancelessly reached a century before being caught and bowled by guest star Jameil Shaikh for 110. Fellow 1st XI (from the previous season) player Massey also joined in on the act, helping himself to 91 well hit runs with Winchmore posting 264-4 off 46 overs declared.
Tea was taken, in the knowledge that the sandwiches had not been overloaded with smoked salmon and cream cheese as had been the case the previous week, the invisible tea lady falling foul of a Sainsbury's offer.
The Denham reply was started with the early loss of Tobin, falling foul of a ball that lifted from the bowling of the diminutive yet express Dave Pearce. Jeff Simpson had other ideas however and took a liking to anything straight or wide in his quick fire 60. Siddique fell cheaply to one that kept low for 6 which brought captain Tang to the crease. Duly dropped on 0 by the wicket kepper off the bowling of canny operator Simon Anderson, Tang slowly built his innings on no less than four dropped chances by Winchmore Hill. The reply was up to speed in terms of run rate with Shaikh (19) and H Mehta (11) keeping the innings ticking along but the cheap fall of Treacy (5) signalled the end of what would have been a spectacular chase, given the stellar talent available to Winchmore. In a game that turned into a tale of two batsmen, the field would spread for Tang whilst would half heartedly encroach on Schembri who took it upon himself to keep out the remaining Winchmore overs, much to derision by the opposition. In the end Denham fell just short on 246, the skipper rueing perhaps his missed opportunity for a century finishing on 86 not out and also a glorious victory.
Nonetheless, 7 points for the 2XI.
Looking to win an unprecedented third successive victory to put them top of the table, Denham 1st XI travelled to the coppice of Winchmore Hill looking to carry on their recent impressive form.
A fifth consecutive toss was lost and Denham were asked to bat. Openers Malik and Nicholas put on a 50+ partnership, Malik falling just short of his half century for 48. Nicholas stood as a flurry of wickets fell around him, Wasim, Rai and Shokat all being run out. Denham eventually finished on 195 for 9 off 52 overs, Nicholas finishing on 84.
In reply, Winchmore Hill seemed to have no such problem with communication as veteran Simon Dudderidge set a solid foundation with fellow opener S Ahmed, carrying his bat for 77 as Winchmore comfortably reached their target for the loss of 1 wicket with over 20 overs to spare. A miserly 4 points scrounged this week.
Back at Cheapside Lane, Denham 2nd XI were up against Hurley 2nd XI in a must win game. Inserted after another failed toss, Denham started magnificently with the majestic Stuart Payne and sublime Jeff Simpson laying on a 97 run opening partnership, only to be undone by a drinks break as Simpson edged behind with Payne soon following LBW for a top scoring 41. A ball later and skipper Tang was walking back to the pavillion, defeated by a ball that kept low and cut in, sailing through the empty space between bat and pad for a diamond duck. Ambrose Treacy (39) continued the good fight with Bhagodia (16) finally getting into double figures and the returning Hemen Mehta (20) weighing in with some well timed drives; the Denham innings finishing on 192 for 9 off 52 overs. Hurley bowler Dave Walton returning handsome figures of 6-49.
The Denham bowling openers started tightly enough, both Paras Mehta and Kishan Akbari troubling the batsmen with delivery that sent gully and point sprawling several times for what could be best described as quarter to half chances. The introduction of sniper Jeff Simpson induced the fall of two Hurley wickets ainger (33) quickly followed by Arshad (0) caught behind. Powerful hitting by Yasir Ali was brought to a premature end when he returned a bullet to Treacy for 16, surely a game changing wicket. Hurley skipper Mike Walton looked to take the fight to any wayward Denham bowling but both cancelled each other out as Denham failed to totally remove each of the hurley wickets as Hurley finished on 129 for 8. 15 ground out points for Denham 2nd XI.
Next: 1st XI away against Great Kingshill, 2nd XI at home to Winchmore Hill 2nds.
The 1st XI produced a comfortable victory over White Waltham’s 2nd XI on Saturday taking them up to 3rd place in Division 2.
Asked to bat first after captain Faisal Mahmood lost his fourth consecutive toss, Denham started well reaching 40 and seeing off the opening bowlers, before James Nicholas was caught behind for 32. The other opener Waqar Malik soon followed for 12 but this brought Denham’s two in-form batsmen Bobby Rai and Mohammed Wasim to the crease. Both continued their excellent early season form and made fifties in a 140 run partnership. The middle order stuttered a little towards the end of the innings whilst trying to up the scoring rate but there was enough big hitting to allow Denham to declare after 50 overs on 237/6.
After a slow but steady start to the White Waltham reply and just as Faisal was about to remove himself from the attack, a ferocious spell of bowling taking all six of the first six wickets left the visitors reeling at 27/6, finishing with figures of 6-10. There was then resistance from the White Waltham opener Parham who made 51 and also their captain Allen, but when Mark Shepard got one to nip back and had Allen LBW the game looked to be done and dusted. However Salmon batting at 10 played positively and took the game into the 35th over, at which point Malik was brought into the attack to try to tempt the batsmen into a false shot with his part-time off spin. It worked straight away as Salmon disrespected some fools gold and heaved the full toss down Nicholas’s throat on the boundary. Nicholas was then able to take the final wicket in the next over as White Waltham were dismissed for 93 to give Denham the full 30 points.
The 2nd XI meanwhile took a strong-on-paper side to Taplow. Losing the toss they were put into bat and effectively surrendered their innings. Limited resistance by Tang (20), topped up by byes (20) and wides (13) helped Denham limp to 109-9 off 45 overs. The Taplow top order demonstrated that with careful batting, runs could easily be scored on the well prepared wicket. With the fall of only 1 wicket (caught behind off Jeff Simpson) Taplow reached their target in 35 overs. 1 point, leaving the 2nd XI in 6th place above Winchmore and Hurley who have both yet to register a win.
Next: 1st XI away to Winchmore Hill 1XI, 2nd XI must win home game vs Hurley 2XI
Denham Sunday XI reversed their disappointing result in last week’s season’s opener with a comprehensive victory against Chesham Bois in the rain.
Our normal leader Sir Stuart Payne (editor: 'A dog ran into me and made my knee click'....not the first time you've used your leg to fend something off hey Stu?) was a late withdrawal through injury, but veteran “coach” Gareth Rees was persuaded to play when it was pointed out that there were no bar facilities on site. Skipper Dave Tang won the toss and sensibly asked Chesham to bat on an already damp surface. Opening bowlers Joe O’Hara and Morgan Rees kept things tight on a difficult wicket, aided by some decent fielding, especially from “Coach” and the reliable Pete Schembri and Alex Marman. Morgan was pleased with his 8 over spell of 2 for 15.
The introduction of the slow bowlers as the rain descended brought the demise of our opponents, much to the bemusement of our South African signing Roland Frolich, who is more used to playing Rugby in 25 degree heat than frolicking on the cricket field on a cool, wet Sunday. Although Gurpreet Gharkal tempted the batsmen he remained wicketless, so it was the (very) slow left arm spin of Harish Bhatt that brought the Chesham collapse. Starting from a score of 48 for 2, Harish bowled 7 overs and took 6 for 22, four bowled and two caught at the wicket, for which Alan Coulson received two hugs, two cracked ribs and even a gentle kiss when claiming his fifth wicket. Dave Tang finished the innings with 2 wickets in 2 balls and Chesham were all out for 94 runs.
After Tea and still in the rain, Denham set about their task with the pitch now very wet. Despite the early loss of Roland and Pete, Sohail Anwar and Tang batted sensibly scoring mainly 4s and singles and although Tang was out at the end for 28, Sohail remained undefeated on 44. Denham scored 98 for 3 in 21 overs to win the match.
Man of the Match, definitely Harish Bhatt. Will he ever bowl as well again?
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