Corporate 6 a-side challenge
Simmons & Simmons 103/3 beat Alix Partners 102/4 by three wickets
Simmons & Simmons got their tournament underway with an early wicket, removing Gawith (1) LBW in the first over behind the fiery bowling of Kunal. Rowley (18) and Colley (29*) steadied the ship well, picking up three’s to all parts of the wicket. S&S remained tight in the field however, and picked up the wicket the strangling bowling deserved when Peter made a nice catch off the wall. Colley’s retirement brought Maskell to the crease to join Imison (28*) but he soon departed when Mike held a great grab stretching forward to restrict Alix to 80-3 after eight overs. Some good hitting from the two retirees as well as a handy cameo by Bowen (13) gave them a very respectable 102 to defend.
After seeing off the first over for five runs without loss, Gerrard and Kunal proceeded to utterly obliterate Alix bowling, scoring 37 runs off the next 10 balls and triggering what is likely to be two of the quickest retirements the tournament will see. On 60-0 after four overs, they were racing to victory but to Alix credit the team stepped up from here, dismissing Boyd (3) through a catch of two nets and Peter (0) the very next ball via run out. In the very next over, the returning Kunal (29) departed via run out to give Alix a chance given S&S were a man short, but Gerrard and Mike batted with intelligence to secure the win in the final over.
Barclays 121-5 beat Sticky Wicket 120-5 by one wicket
In one of the tournaments highest scoring games yet, it was Sticky Wicket who initially announced themselves in style, racking up 37-0 through the first three overs and seeing both openers eventually retire. Barclays got the breakthrough they were looking for though, as Mark was run out on a wide (you see something new every day at this tournament) to leave his side 53-1. Gordon (11) played well before being smartly pouched off the wall by Barney but at 73-2 just after half way a monster score looked possible. From here, the lower order imploded as Barclays picked up three run outs in a matter of deliveries, two great direct hits from mid-on and one rather suicidal miscommunication from the non-striker. It was now last man standing with an over and a half left, but Tommy batted calmly to ensure all deliveries were faced and carry the team up from 100 to 120 by the close.
Chasing a big total, Barclays got off to a flyer themselves, as an abundance of threes saw them on 39-0 after 3 and keeping pace with the required rate. Joe departed one short of a retirement when a fine leg glance was wonderfully caught behind off Gordon, and a running mix-up in the following over saw Arun depart for just 4. Still ahead of the rate, Barclays could afford to relax a little but disaster struck in the 5th when a second run out was followed the very next ball by a brilliant reflex catch at point to put Barclays four wickets down. Kartik helped steady the ship with an important contribution of 17, whilst Barney – still in after opening the batting – managed an all-run 6 as he edged his side towards the line. Kartik (17) was clean bowled with just under three overs left and 22 still required, but Barney held his nerve wonderfully in a match-winning knock of 64*to pick up the win in the final over.
Barclays 154-1 beat Alix Partners 135-5 by 19 runs
Having survived a close scare in game one, Barclays came out all guns blazing in this match-up, hammering the highest score of the tournament in a remarkable team effort that saw them score at least nine runs in every single over. The obliteration of Alix bowling attack was particularly harsh given they only gave up three extras – an impressive total for the indoor league – as every single batsman racked up at least 20 and Barney was the only man to lose his wicket, holing out as he attempted to launch a six. When the damage was said and done, Barclays had scored 154 runs and looked on course for a huge victory.
To their credit, Alix didn’t back down from the challenge, and though they looked in serious danger of a triple-figure loss at 19-2 after a run out and a fine catch on the boundary, they grew into the game. Gawith and Imison put on a fine partnership, with clever running mixed with brutal boundaries and they retired on back to back balls with the run chase back on target at 64-2. Bowen departed for just 4 when he missed a straight one from Kartik, whilst Maskell was run out by the keeper to bring the two retirees back to the crease. Imison (35) had batted wonderfully but was stranded in the 9th over when a ball hit back to the bowler saw him backing up too aggressively. With the game effectively over (38 needed off six balls), Gawith (64*) finished in style, hammering the final two balls for six and seeing his side up to an impressive total of 135, but ultimately it wasn’t quite enough.
Sticky Wicket 94-3 beat Simmons & Simmons 92-4 by two wickets
Simmons & Simmons batted first as they looked to make it two wins from two but they lost a first-over wicket when Boyd (3) top-edged to the keeper off the wall. Kunal (11) and Peter (32) kept the scoreboard ticking over, but the former departed via the run out to leave his side 32-2 after three overs. From there, Peter and Gerrard (35*) found top gear with a few lusty blows down the ground supplementing clever running, although Sticky Wicket bowled and fielded tightly to ensure the run rate never got out of hand. When Peter retired, the new man Mike was quickly removed for a duck, bowled round his legs by the impressive Zahid. With the two settled players at the crease, batting out the overs was the priority and although Peter was removed in the final over they were able to do so to set Sticky Wicket a challenging total.
After safely navigating the first over for 10 without loss, Zahid announced the start of the chase with a first ball six in the second over, although his partner Mike (4) was run out three balls later when a direct hit from the leg-side saw him well short. Joined by another Mike, Zahid continued to accumulate well as the team rattled along at 10 an over, well on their way to victory. Mike G (13) can consider himself unfortunate that a full-blooded drive that nearly decapitated the bowler was brilliantly held at long on to leave them 42-2, but new man Mark got straight into the action with some well-run three’s. A direct hit at the bowlers end saw Zahid removed after a nerveless knock of 23, but playing with just five this left little room for error for final partners Mark and Tommy. However, the pair played with class, seeing off the final 20 runs with some impressive running and brutal down-the-ground hitting to secure a first win for Sticky Wicket.
Sticky Wicket 103-5 beat Alix Partners 97-1 by six runs
The final round of the evening’s action pitted the winless Alix Partners against Sticky Wicket, and it was the latter that got off to a strong start as openers Brockman (18) and Rovell (15) picked up 2’s and 3’s with some astute running. On 31-0 after three overs the team looked set for a formidable total, although Rovell departed in the fourth over after playing all round a straight one and seeing the stumps demolished. His partner Brockman, perhaps in a show of solidarity with his opening partner, departed himself in the following over after a fine outfield catch off a tricky side-wall bounce. Gordon (19) looked in great nick as he picked up runs all around the wicket, and with his side on 56-2 they looked primed for an acceleration. As with earlier in the innings however, Alix responded with a wicket, another catch off the wall as Gordon’s pummelled drive brought him nothing. A miscommunication saw the departure of Vermeulen (5), but the final pairing of Price and Rafique (15 and 25* respectively) batted with poise to see out the overs and score 103, although Alix may regret a couple of dropped catches and missed run out opportunities.
Sticky Wicket backed up the strong batting performance by flying out of the blocks with the ball, restricting Alix to just 14-0 off the first three overs and immediately placing the chasing side behind the eight ball. Some aggressive running between the wickets got the run chase kick-started and even in the fifth over it was clear we were in for a close finish. Colley (23) had batted maturely but departed in the sixth over when he was caught off the side netting and when the following over went for just four it looked like the required rate was getting away from Alix. Gawith (27*) and Imison (26*) started to accelerate however, with a big six highlighting the former’s innings before he retired. At 74-1 after eight they were up against it but not out of it, although some inspired death bowling left them with 22 needed in the final over. New man Rowley (8*) batted well, but it was too little too late as Alix fell seven runs short to hand Sticky Wicket their second win.
Simmons & Simmons 76-1 beat Barclays 75 all out by four wickets
The final game of the competition saw the unbeaten Barclays side go up against Simmons & Simmons who were looking to bounce back from the Sticky Wicket loss. Batting first, Barclays scored 16 off the first over but it was an uphill battle from there. Barney departed via a direct hit run out at the keepers end before Arun followed him back to the dugout via a spectacular piece of fielding to catch him out of his crease. Opener Joe then saw a jaffa rifle through the gate to wipe out the stumps and leave his side in arrears at 29-3. Karthik and Krishna (8) survived a few close run out calls to rebuild before the latter was caught on the boundary… by his team-mate! Acting as a sub fielder, Barney held a fine catch. When Peter picked up his second wicket in the following over, Barclays were 48-5 and struggling to reach the half century mark. A mature innings from Karthik ensured they at least had something to defend but when he perished for 35 there remained three overs to go.
Simmons & Simmons knew that the run rate was unlikely to be a factor and so accumulated calmly, to start off, although a fine piece of keeping work saw opener Kunal stumped for 12 in the fourth over. Gerrard (25*) and Mike (27*) steadied the ship however, taking the attack to Barclays with some brutal hitting including a six that screamed through the bowlers hands. On 56-1 after six, it would take a minor miracle to drag Barclays back into the game but even with the two set batsmen back in the shed after retirements they were unable to turn it around, as Peter and Boyd pushed the ball into the gaps to secure the victory with an over and a half to spare. A clinical all-round performance to finish off the day’s play.
Another thrilling evening of action from Lord’s where no team went unbeaten and every game was competitive. Some more stunning individual performances – two scores of 64! – as well as our highest team total yet: 154 by Barclays. Best of luck to all teams in the rest of the tournament!
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