Cricket: Orsett and Thurrock 3rds wilt in duel in the sun

Oakfield Parkonians 274

Orsett & Thurrock 3rd XI 240/8

By The Venerable Michael Parker

CRICKET did not come home on a sweltering day in the Essex and London border as OAT fell to their second defeat in as many matches at Redbridge Sports Centre.

The toss was lost by skipper Owen but he wasn’t too fussed as he couldn’t decide what to do in a match that was scheduled to be punctuated by the England v Sweden World Cup quarter final.

As it turned out OAT were asked to field under blue skies and on a golden sun bleached outfield. Due to the football a lot of availability issues were affecting the various clubs in the league but this seemed to work in Oakfield’s favour as they had a couple of first team and a few second team players that were “home only” providing the OAT bowlers with a stern test.

It seemed to start well with swingers Packer and Umfreville both claiming wickets at the start of the innings. Packer had Sehmi caught by Tom Haden for 4 and Rafiq LBW for a duck while Umfreville removed Shah via the hands of Flain for 15.

Things looked to be going well for OAT then Oakfield started to get back into the game with a huge partnership. Vijayanathan and Patel put the OAT bowlers to the sword as well as the fielders and they turned the game firmly in the hosts favour. In fairness these were two fine batsman and they gave the game away when asking about the 30 yard circle and field placements, rules that only apply in 1st XI cricket!

Owen turned to Michael Parker and Dave “Welsh” Harries to stem the run rate. Vijayanathan had just passed his well made century and his long stay was finally ended when Harries rearranged his stumps for him as the wicket intact is apparently bad feng shui!

This bought Holland to the crease and Harries wasn’t too pleased about the umpire repairing the stumps so promptly rearranged them again to get the positive energy flowing again. Balakumba survived the hat trick ball and Harries had to put up with the wickets being intact again ruining the chi or qi to give it the correct spelling.

Patel the other half of the big partnership was still at the crease and approaching his century but he took a quick single too many as he was run out on 81. Balakumba was another Harries victim as he was caught for 25 by Haden and then Singh wasn’t on song as Harries trapped him in front of all three for 8. Parker finally got in on the act as he had Iqbal caught for a duck by Haden again before Harries completed his handful of five wickets by bowling Thokeria for 2 to given the hosts an impressive 274 all out.

The tea break was scheduled for 2 hours so everybody could watch the football so thanks must go to Oakfield Parkonians and their staff for accommodating this and their hospitality and with the game successfully negotiated by England the players returned to the still hot conditions to play the second innings.

OAT opened with Haden and Greg Mendham and the batting order was shuffled a little although this has nothing to do with the skipper and vice captain putting themselves down the order so they could fully enjoy the football!

Mendham was the first to depart after he was caught out on 13 and Lewis Markham followed soon after for 1 after Iqbal caught and bowled him. This bought Welsh Dave Harries to the crease, still buzzing about England’s performance (he genuinely was!) and along with Haden they started to make a contest of this game and got the visitors within the run rate.

Haden survived a massive scare when he was caught on the boundary but before he had total control of the ball he threw it in celebration but the ball went backwards over the rope and the umpire signalled a 6. They say you learn something new everyday and I’m guessing that won’t be hapoagain soon! Haden cashed in on this reprieve and got to 75 before he was caught off the bowling of Shah.

Harries completed a fine individual day as he was finally out for 45 but OAT still faced a stern chase. Bilal Big Al Qureshi walked in at 5 and got a decent start before he went for 17. Klaus Smith made another decent start but he also failed to capitalise and was stumped for 21 while trying to up the run rate. Skipper Owen went for 5 before Jamie Flain performed a little cameo to blast his way to 20 before Thokeria removed him. The not out batsman were Parker (18) and Umfreville (0) but OAT just failed to keep up with the rate and lost another excellent game of cricket on a day where football and cricket were the winner!

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