Cricket: Catches win matches for Orsett and Thurrock 3rd X1

Ilford 3rd XI 68 all out
Orsett & Thurrock 3rd XI 70/2

THEY say catches win matches and it was proved so as a ruthless fielding display sent Ilford packing as OAT maintained their 100% start to the league season.

The June Ridgewell Ground in Orsett was sunny yet muggy, superb conditions for growing grass, particularly the lovely long and lush outfield and Ilford won the toss and elected to bat. Skipper Owen used his tried and tested technique of opening with the seam of young Callum Owen accompanied by an experienced old man at the other end.

Playing the veteran role this week was Andrew Packer and fresh from his stag do he was raring to go. Both bowlers were too good for their batting adversaries and the traditional noise of leather on willow soon turned to leather on wicket keeper gloves. Talking of wicket keepers, OAT finally managed to get a specialist behind the stumps. This week it was former boxer Scott Douglas who had swapped one set of gloves for another. He is such a specialist that he lives his entire life as a cricketer, nothing else can explain the fact a grown man turned up fully kitted in his whites ready to play straight from his car, rumour has it he even sleeps in them!

Both Ilford openers were called Ali and both went cheaply to Andrew Packer who had them caught in the slip cordon. Saad Ali was caught by Simmons for 0 and Asif Ali went for 2 to the hands of Kooyman. Number 3 was Jey Rooban and he was to prove top scorer of the innings with his 23 before he was caught by Churchyard of the bowling of young speedster Callum Owen. Churchyard took another catch, this time off of Brooks to remove Akram, no not that one, as the Ilford effort never really gained momentum.

Brooks also got an LBW as he snared Anirudh for 4. Today though was the Andrew Packer show as he ripped through the order. Ilyaas was LBW and Harban clean bowled as he took 7/29. His other wickets were helped by the catching prowess of Specialist Douglas (who was still in his whites at the time), Mendham and Kooyman again as Ilford stuttered to 68 all out.

OAT deep down knew the reply shouldn’t be any problem but had a few early scares as Ilford put a few chances down to highlight where this game was won and lost. Simmons one of the people reprieved went on to hit 29 before Asif Ali trapped him LBW. Scott Douglas, (still in his whites) went out as the number 3 and had 4 to his name before Saad Ali had him caught but the game was already won in reality.

This left Greg Mendham not out on 0 and last weeks hero Jack Churchyard on 21 not out before Saad Ali bowled a wide to officially win the game for OAT. The confidence in this team is growing quicker than the uncut outfield, Skipper Owen will be hoping they can maintain this as we head for silly season on the player availability front.

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