Corporate 6 a-side challenge
Coutts 80-0 beat British Land 76-2 by six wickets
Crunch time had arrived for our competition, and with four teams all playing their final round-robin games of the tournament the opening matches were as pivotal as ever. British Land got off to a great start in their innings, as Adam and Nick mixed some fierce boundaries with clever running to reach 28 without loss off four overs. The Coutts bowling was tight however, with very few wides and no balls ensuring that there were no free runs. On 47-0 off six overs, the innings was well set but British Land knew they needed to accelerate, with the unfortunate consequence that Nick (18) was bowled attempting an audacious reverse sweep. Adam retired on 26 in the seventh over, but the eighth went for just three runs as Coutts continued to turn the screw. Kalyan (6) departed trying to hit out as his fierce drive was pouched by Craig off his own bowling. Paul (8*) and Charlie (10*) scrambled some vital runs off the final ten balls to reach 76, an impressive performance from Coutts but certainly something to bowl at.
Coutts raced out to 14-0 off the first over as they looked to set an early platform, but once again the bowling and fielding was tight and runs were tough to come by. A boundary to end the fourth over on 29-0 eased some of the pressure, and both Anek and Craig began to hit their stride, scoring 13 off the fifth over and 11 off the sixth to leave themselves with 24 needed at a run a ball. Both men soon retired – Craig courtesy of a crunching four – to bring Ajeet and Owen to the crease, but with 11 needed off three overs the game was all but over. Owen, apparently in a rush, ended the game with a fierce six down the ground as Coutts completed a near flawless performance against an unfortunate British Land side.
Barclays 123-3 beat Lords Taverners 104 all out by 19 runs
This heavyweight clash between two of last year’s finalists saw a balanced start as Barclays scored eight off the first over but then saw Barney depart as he cut into the wall but was caught on the rebound. Joe and Vasi rebuilt with some brilliant running between the wickets, picking the gaps and setting off without hesitation. On 46-1 after five overs the innings was well set, and although Taverners bowling was very tight (just three extras all innings!) the scoreboard kept ticking over. Joe retired for a brilliant 28* and a tight over from Ed yielding just four seemed to halt the momentum as Barclays sat on 62-1 after seven. Rez battered a six to ease the pressure but Vasi was then run out for 23 after some brilliant boundary fielding. New man Arun wasted no time at all, launching his first ball for six as the eighth over went for 24. More good hit and run tactics pushed the score beyond 100 entering the final over, and although Rez (21) was caught off the wall, Krishna (9*) helped scramble some late runs along with Arun (26*) as Barclays set a formidable total of 123.
Seemingly determined to confuse the scorer, the Taverners opened with John Simpson and Johnny B, saving Johnny I for later too! The Middlesex man got off to a flyer, hitting a crunching six as the first over went for 16. Johnny was run out next over for 6 however, unable to get back at the non-striker’s end to leave his side 23-1 off two. Phil and John played fluently, picking up runs in the gaps just as Barclays had done earlier, although the fielding team inexplicably missed both a dropped catch and run out on the same play – four runs the result! John retired amid the chaos, but his partner Phil was trapped in front by Joe for 20 to bring two new men to the crease. James and Ed pushed the score up to 68-2 off six overs – ahead of Barclays at this stage. Barclays turned the screw at this point, with some brilliant death bowling from Joe and Vasi building pressure before James (22) was run out trying to force the issue. Another tight over from Barney meant that the Taverners were 99-3 entering the final over – an unlikely 25 to win. A first ball run out saw to Ed (19) before Johnny I played and missed and was then stumped in bizarre circumstances to all but end the game. The returning John S did his best to add some gloss but was run out on the final ball to complete an impressive victory for Barclays.
Barclays 137-4 beat British Land 64 all out by 73 runs
Batting first once again, Barclays got off to another storming start as a first over six pushed them out to 19-0. Barney was in no mood to stick around, bashing consecutive fours down the ground as a follow-up and retiring in only the second over as Barclays reached 36-0 off two! Joe and Arun picked up constant threes with consummate ease as the total raced up before Owen produced quite possibly the catch of the tournament to arrest the momentum. Arun (12) hammered one back down the ground but Owen, off his own bowling, dived to his right, feet horizontal with his head to pluck a spectacular one-handed snag and leave Barclays 60-1. Joe retired with a boundary to leave Vasi and Krishna together, but the latter departed for just two to another caught-and-bowled, albeit a more regulation one. Vasi (30*) and Riz (21) continued the assault with brilliant hitting and running, and when the latter was stumped Barney (30*) and Joe (31) returned to haul the total up to an imposing 137.
The British Land run chase got off to a disastrous start when Tom cut the very first ball into the wall and was caught! Ed decided attack was the best form of attack in the second over, hammering a six but then succumbing to a boundary catch attempting to repeat the trick. 11-2 off two overs. Kalyan was run out in the next over without scoring as the run chase started to collapse and David nicked behind to leave his side four down and in serious trouble. Nick and Adam rebuilt, the latter battering a six as his side reached 29-4 off five overs. Barclays kept it tight but British Land avoided the silly run outs and some lusty hitting from Adam gave their score a sheen of respectability. Nick’s resistance eventually ended for 5 when he was caught off the wall, but last man standing Adam continued to chance his arm with considerable success, eventually racking up 41 before Riz sneaked one through his defences. 64 all out, a great knock saving the innings really but take nothing away from another clinical Barclays win.
Coutts 143-3 beat Lords Taverners 135 all out by eight runs
Coutts followed up their opening game win by putting together a remarkable innings against the Taverners. Openers Anek and Craig got off to a solid start, first nudging and nurdling singles and threes and later expanding with some fierce boundaries. Both retired within five overs, and after a minor lost ball in the netting incident, Kunal and Owen continued the assault. A couple of huge sixes were complimented by brilliant running as the Taverners were unable to exert control in the field, and on 100-0 after seven overs a mammoth total was on the cards. Both batsmen once again retired, before JD was run out via the ceiling to give Taverners the first wicket: 123-1. Some manic late innings running saw Anek (27) come and go and Ajeet (14) stranded out of his crease but 35*from the returning Craig and 31* courtesy of Kunal ensured a huge total of 143.
The Taverners knew they needed an explosive start to their innings to have any chance and that was exactly what they got courtesy of John and James. The latter bashed two sixes to end the second over as his side raced to 33-0 off two overs. Both men raced to 25 and retired within the next ten balls, before Johnny B was run out for 7 by a fine direct hit. Ed and Phil were batting capably however, and on 73-1 after 5 overs, the impossible suddenly looked less daunting. Some more good running brought 15 runs off the 6th, but Phil was stumped for 14 as Coutts made a crucial breakthrough. Ed and Gordon kept the score ticking over, but on 104-2 off eight overs it was going to require a grandstand finish. A big six was a great start, but the next ball saw disaster strike as Ed was run out for 21 before James (28) followed him having just returned to the crease. Needing 27 off the final over, Gordon was run out to leave John Simpson as the last man standing, and though the left-hander hammered back-to-back sixes to leave 11 required off 2 it was not to be as Coutts closed out the win, grabbing a run out for good measure on the final ball. A great knock from John (47) but the Taverners left themselves too much to do in the end.
Lords Taverners 55-1 beat British Land 53 all out by five wickets
With both teams looking to salvage their day with a victory, British Land started their innings tentatively, scoring just seven off the first two overs before a six eased the pressure. Charlie was removed in the fourth inning, caught off the ceiling before David, who had batted well for 17, was run out by the keeper from a very tight angle. New man Nick looked to up the run rate but was caught off the ceiling before Kalyan (8) fell to the very same fate, this time a brilliant catch to save six runs doing the trick. On 34-4 the innings was in trouble, and things went from bad to worse when Paul was run out for 9 on a nice throw from the wicket keeper. Adam (15) was left as the last man standing and he did well to plunder some vital runs including a majestic straight six, but his resistance was ended in the 8th over when he chipped one to the man at mid-wicket.
No doubt thrilled they were finally chasing an attainable score, the Taverners looked to start quickly but were checked early by a brilliant run out which saw to Ed and leave them 7-1. Phil and Johnny I held their nerve to score comfortably around the wicket, although British Land did shell two tough catch chances in a row to give them a reprieve. Phil’s well-struck six was no doubt salt in the wound as the Taverners began to edge towards the total. An expensive third over meant they were just 11 runs off victory, and although Phil (26*) retired, Johnny (13*) and John (3) held their nerve to finish the job with a few well-placed threes. A comfortable win for the Taverners in the end, but take nothing away from the efforts of British Land.
Barclays 108 all out beat Coutts 33 all out by 75 runs
The final game of the day set the two unbeaten teams against each other, with Coutts hoping to complete a perfect six-for-six in the round robin tournament. Barclays’ innings got off to a disastrous start when Barney was run out without scoring but Joe and Arun scored freely as the impressive line-up got to work again. Picking the gaps for easy runs pushed them up to 33-1 off three overs, although Joe’s brilliant day at the crease came to an end when he was unluckily run out on a ball smashed back to the bowler for 20. Perhaps lonely without his partner, Arun (19) followed him in similar fashion after a miscommunication to give Coutts an opening. Vasi and Krishna slammed the door however, picking up ten an over with ease thanks to great manoeuvring of the ball and good running. To their credit, Coutts kept it very tight in the field and the pressure eventually told, as Krishna (13) played all around a straight one before Vasi (21) was stumped looking to push the score on. On 97-5 it appeared Barclays would be held under 100 but last man standing Riz (9) plundered a few vital runs to take them up to 108 before holing out.
Coutts had batted brilliantly all day and would have fancied their chances with this chase, but they lost Craig early when a full toss caught him off guard to bowl him for 3. Kunal was unfortunate to be run out just two balls later when a throw to his end was adjudged to have beaten him and Coutts found themselves 12-2. Anek (12) was looking dangerous, but he too fell cheaply when a loose shot was caught off the wall. Coutts entered full-blown collapse mode two balls later when a thick edge was pouched off the wall and although JD got his account up and running with a six he was left last man standing soon after when Ajeet was run out without scoring. On 26-5, Barclays smelled blood and although JD added a few more consolation runs the contest was ended when Joe made a spectacular one-handed catch on the boundary. 33 all out: an exclamation point on a ruthless display from Barclays.
The penultimate day of round robin games had some exciting finals implications as two further teams reached the magic five-win plateau. Possibly the highest standard of cricket I’ve seen at the competition yet as we had some magic with bat and ball, well played to all involved.
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