We converged at Mitcham Cricket Green excited to be playing at the oldest cricket club in the world, with cricket being played there since 1685. We were due for a 12:30pm start, but both sides had a few late stragglers. The scene was set for a fantastic day with what looked like a fast outfield and a wicket that would offer something for both the bowlers and batsmen.
Skipper Ovens won the toss and without hesitation elected to bat. Cricket’s cutest couple Iskander Eaton and Tom Lane strode out to the middle to get us underway, with Iskander taking the first ball and getting off the mark in true Issy style with a lovely glide through backward point for two runs. Iskander kept the scoreboard ticking over while Tom was more patient (for once) taking 12 balls to get off the mark and helping get his eye in.
The bowling from one end was very tight, meanwhile the opposition skipper opened from the other end which helped take the pressure off as there were more loose balls than good which ensured we were going at 4 an over early on. Both Tom and Iskander looked motivated to outscore one other to ensure they wouldn’t be down for the weekly house chores. Iskander was out in the 10th over with the score on 41, which he contributed 27 runs.
Chris Ovens joined Tom at the crease and was able to take some time to play himself in while Tom continued to play shots all around the ground continuing to keep the scoreboard ticking over.
At the halfway point we were 101-2, although it felt like we were not getting a lot of value for our shots as a lot of balls were pulling up short of the boundary. Suri was out for 20 in the 23rd over trying to push the run rate and Tom continued to anchor down the innings to ensure the rate was ticking along at five an over. It was at this point our middle order needed to stand up however a credit to Mitchem’s change bowlers as they bowled in good areas which restricted the scoring rate in the middle overs when we should have been pushing on.
Some would say Tom had more lives than a cat, when the cricket gods are on your side you need to grab them with both hands, to his credit he did. Tom played shots all around the ground, in particular, the shot of the day was his lofted drive which cleared long-on’s head and one bounce for four, the fielder was a captain’s nightmare not being able to stay on the boundary like he was
asked. Tom also managed to put few balls onto the road which caused local traffic jams in downtown Mitcham and was finally out for a well-made 67.
With a cameo from Olli Lonsdale of 18 not out down the bottom of the order, this saw us reach 195 all out at the start of the 39th over.
Olli Lonsdale and Joe Hockings got us underway with the ball with Olli bowling consecutive maidens before getting the early breakthrough in the 5th over and the score on 14. We knew we would need to take early wickets to be in with a chance as the outfield became quicker and anything loose Mitcham were quick to jump on and dispatch to the boundary.
Olli bowled an exceptional spell of quick bowling to the point the opposition batsmen didn’t want to face him, this saw him pick up his second wicket in his 6th over and bowled 8 straight which saw him finish with 2-18, and incredible opening spell of bowling.
Unfortunately, we dropped early catches which saw Mitcham accelerate and put us under pressure in the field. With a bowling change of Chris Lifford and Hector, although we built pressure, we weren’t able to take the chances that would come our way in the key moments.
At drinks, Mitcham were 96-2. Although they were well and truly behind the rate at the 10 over mark, they clawed their way back into the game. With a motivational captain’s speech during the drinks break, we knew we would have to fight tooth and nail to win this game, which Niraj did to start his first over bowling a maiden and the introduction of myself at the other end keeping it tight. Niraj picked up a wicket in his 3rd over which saw Leo Connolly take a great catch at cover, I picked up a wicket in the next over which saw both their danger men back in the sheds, if there was ever a tremble this was the time.
Niraj was getting great flight and turn and they didn’t really know how to play him, this saw very good glove work by Suri who took his first stumping for the year.
With Mitcham being 144-5 in the 30th over we knew we would need to bowl them out to be in with a chance, unfortunately, we fell short and Mitcham got the runs 6-down in the 37th over.
It was a great location for cricket, at a picturesque ground, and would be great to be able to visit the pavilion there at some point and check out the rich history this club has to offer.