Following a solid start to the season with victory at 2018 Champions North Middlesex in week one, it was imperative for the Ealing boys to start well against a Hampstead XI bowled out cheaply the previous Saturday.
Following extensive debate on what warm-ups are most effective in relation to power output, good old Captain Neil lost the toss on the flattest deck any of the youthful side had ever seen at Corfton Road and the Ealing boys were asked to field. Given the near perfect batting conditions, it was up to new ball pairing Fell and Rowley to romp through the fragile Hampstead top order. Capitalising on a lack of line and length control from both openers, the Hampstead batsmen were able to race off to a good start.
However, an early breakthrough from Rowley and a superb run out from Dewhurst pegged the visitors back. With two wickets apiece for Rajanasir and Henri, accompanied by 3 for Dewhurst (who managed to turn one) and an economical exhibition of seam bowling from Marshall, the E-men limited Hampstead to 118 all out. Tea came, and with it, a sense of “it’s a road, we should knock this off easily”.
But cricket is a humbling game. And the lack of application from the opening bowlers was mirrored in the performance of Ealing’s top order.
A couple of loose shots and questionable decisions and the boys were struggling at 33-3. Regular wickets fell, but with typically classy and dog-ed innings from Tattersall (22) and Marshall (17), Ealing inched closer to a small target. At 81-8, all seemed lost. However, ignoring the at times abominable chat from the visitors, Rowley (15*) and Fell (17) chipped away at the required total.
Following a couple of (un)surprising shots from Fell, one too many attempts at the clip over the mid-wicket fence left the lads 9 down, still needing 10 to win. Up steps Oscar Dewhurst. Following two delicious boundaries from Rowley, the task of the final runs was up to the number 11. Beaumont-Dark, Hampstead’s version of a left arm-spinner into the attack. Dewhurst throws the kitchen sink at the first ball. And misses.
Three more dots follow, all defensive shots Rahul Dravid would’ve been proud of. The fifth ball, short, wide, cut through 2nd slip, they run one, they come back for the second, the balcony goes wild, Ealing win.
A true nail biter, and an all round performance with the lads, with all XI contributing in some form, bat, ball or field. 2 from 2, we go to make it 3 in a top of the table clash at Highgate next week.