Ivanhoe’s second away game of the season saw them visit a lovely ground at Buttonhole Lane in Finchley, for match against Belmont and Edgware. The warm summer air greeted all and sundry for a somewhat early start, as mettle was to be tested on a pitch with a lovely dome at one end that threated to bring great movement and excitement to the bowlers.

The opposition had to borrow someone from another of their teams occasionally as they were only able to find 10 players on the day, took first use of the new ball. The opening bowler marked out his run, almost pushing off the sightscreen (admittedly short straight boundary)…what a way to start a Sunday afternoon; redheaded young speedster steaming in off the long run, pitch that looked uneven…fortunately the run up didn’t quite relate to the speed the ball arrived at, and the bowling could best be descried as wayward. Phil K managed to somehow get his bat onto one so wide he needed telescopic arms and was caught, Hansi got his bat stuck in his pad whilst trying to wallop it…but all around this batting with the utmost of serenity and without any degree of consternation was Bob Collins, who was joined by Ciaran who continued his majestic form. Runs flowed freely, with many a boundary struck, singles ambled before after Bob passed 50 and somehow missed a relatively straight one.  Things were on the up as a huge 6 was hit by Rich before he received the ball of the day (angled in, moved away and hit the top of off).  The situation looked precarious and there was a risk of collapsing like a house of cards. Enter Saqib, who batted with hitherto undiscovered ease and made an utterly untroubled 35. Ciaran remained 73 not out, scoring 20+ in the last over alone! The final total of 253 looked imposing but short boundaries and a fast outfield gave cause for concern.

The Belmont innings started serenely without fuss or fast scoring, when the first wicket fell (the batter who looked languid, having scored 170 the previous week) put further brakes on the scoring. Wickets fell reasonably frequently and the scoring rate dipped well below the asking rate through a combination of tight bowling and a lack of impetus from the batters. Tight bowling made scoring difficult but the batters seemed to settle for occupying the crease and enjoying facing the bowling with runs a second thought. Prasad was utterly miserly with his bowling, conceding 9 off his full quota of overs and taking a wicket, Saqib taking 1-5, Ciaran 3-29, John chipped in with 2-15 and Rich rounding it out with 2-12.

After the game, a beverage or two was enjoyed whilst watching a close finish from Belmont’s first XI losing a contentious match on the neighbouring pitch where a last ball 6 propelled the visitors to victory – the swearing and arguing over a catch on the boundary was 6 or out…highly enjoyable!

Author: Hansi B

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