July 23 2014 Latest news:
Wednesday, June 18, 2014
Matchplay progress – a view from the middle
The Oakfield Parkonians under-16 team have just completed a clean-sweep of their Matchplay 2014 group – four wins from four games – and entry into the second round proper of a competition that ultimately ends with a final at the County Ground, Chelmsford, in August.
I was fortunate to umpire two of the games, so had a privileged view of proceedings from the middle. Both games followed a similar pattern – the opposition batted first, and accumulated steadily, only to see the totals chased down with time to spare.
The first group game was played at Mopsie’s, home of Basildon & Pitsea. The home team’s innings was held together by skipper Sonny Downes, who batted through for an unbeaten 89*. After 20 overs Basildon & Pitsea were on 73-2, but were unable to capitalise on the start and closed on 201-5. In reply, a fierce onslaught with the bat from Dhruv Patel saw Parks home in a rush of fours and one pulled six. Dhruv finished on 96*, denied the opportunity of trying to complete his ton by a call of wide by the umpire...
The final group game saw 10-man High Roding establish a promising foundation to their innings, led by their skipper Stephen Heywood with 79. Only two wickets were lost in the first thirty overs, but with three run outs Parks hit back to restrict the home team to 206.
The High Roding opening bowlers both had experience of playing senior cricket, and it showed in the way they restricted the early scoring – Parks crawled to 10 by the sixth over, but in doing so Arun Kalley and Abdul Usman blunted the opening attack to leave the stage to brothers Paran and Paresh Kalley (61). A century partnership, combining clean hitting with clever running, took Parks to within 8 runs of victory, Paran finishing unbeaten on 91*.
Observations from the middle:
The batting looks very powerful – Paran Kalley has 200 runs in three innings, averaging 100 exactly; Dhruv Patel with 126 runs from two innings, and still to be dismissed. And the middle order, all scoring runs in senior cricket this season, have barely been called on.
Still to be worked on – the team conceded 200 runs or more in three games, and struggled to take early wickets. Perhaps of greater concern is that the bowlers contributed 166 extras (half of them in wides) in just four games, or 23% of the total runs conceded.
Something for the coaches and team managers to consider!