A great day in the Sun as told by John Moore
Mad Dogs vs Staten Island (League, May 27)
On a beautiful early summer's day Staten Island elected to bat and the Dogs opened with Moore and Coates. Both bowled steadily, Moore swinging it off a short run and getting Nanandananam (9) to edge a cut to Lawrence to slip from one that bounced and left the batsman.
Then having Sharma badly dropped at short midwicket. Coates removed the veteran Modeste (4), top edging straight to keeper Palmer, but conceded a few boundaries to the aggressive Khan. The opening bowlers were replaced by Simon, Boyke's grandson, on his Dogs debut, and Harrison. However, the latter conceded 15 runs from his first over and immediately pulled a groin muscle (according to some versions, the sequence of events was reversed........).
Quirk replaced his fellow spinner, and soon removed Sharma (10) courtesy of a well judged running catch at mid off by Simon. Mughal was then bounced by Simon, retaliated by smashing the next ball for 6 to get off the mark, then was immediately retaliated on by having his middle stump uprooted next ball. All very machismo........ Khan and Shafi Sacroolar then went after the bowling with some powerful hits as Quirk, Simon and then Lawrence took some stick, but also stuck to their tasks and kept the Dogs, just, in the game.
Fortunately, soon after reaching a classy 50, Khan pulled Lawrence in the air to deep midwicket where Quirk took a very nice catch, toppling forward like a dying oak to cling on by his ankles. Habib and Shafi then batted very well together, as two old veterans can, hitting hard and pushing the score up. The recalled Simon then got Habib (34), hooking to deep square where Thornton took an important catch very coolly. Ilyas took over Habib's hitting role while Shafi ticked the score along sensibly at the other end, until Lawrence had Ilyas well caught by Simon for 26.
Sensing bunnies approaching the crease, Harrison's torn groin miraculously healed, allowing him to bowl a single, sprightly steady but sadly wicketless over. The innings was then wrapped up by Coates, who persuaded Shafi (32) to steer a wide half volley straight to Harrison at point, the batsman departing saying "shit ball" to which the bowler made the obvious retort of "shit shot" immediately before yorking Morrison for 0 first ball, leaving Ganesh on 6 not out. The final total of 207 all out from 32.2 overs was challenging, but not out of reach, thanks to some decent bowling from a fairly makeshift bowling attack.
Lawrence and Palmer responded with an outstanding opening stand of 95 in 15.2 overs, scored at almost exactly the asking rate of just below 6 an over. Some of the SI bowling was steady, some, by Mughal, quite fast but ill directed, allowing wides to contribute very usefully. But both batsmen picked off the runs very comfortably, Lawrence scoring the quicker, Palmer playing the anchor role.
The stand looked like reaching 100, when Lawrence was run out by a sharp direct hit by the keeper who ran to field a legbye and threw down the stumps. Lawrence carried on walking, although it was very close and he might not have been given out. An unusual end to another excellent knock, 44 from 48 balls (4 x 4, 1 x 6).
Coates came in to play some powerful shots and also some sensible singles, adding another 41 in 7.3 overs, again, spot on the asking rate, before Shafi bowled with him with an excellent slower ball that beat the batsman nicely, out for 23 (22 balls, 2 x 4). Thornton took over the mantle of cudgeller, surviving a critical early chance to the opposition skipper at midwicket to play some terrific, yet sensible shots. Palmer's important knock came to an end at 149 in the 26th over (again, spot on the asking rate of 6) when he skied a pull off Ilyas to be well caught by Ganesh at short cover for 47 (78 balls, 4 x 4, 1 x 6). Thornton and Quirk took the score up to 172 after 29 overs (right on 6 an over.....) when Thornton nicked one to the keeper from the very last ball of Shafi's outstanding spell, out for 24 (19 balls, 1 x 4, 1 x 6).
Kimberley then joined Quirk, and the scoring rate slowed fractionally but enough for Quirk to try a big shot, which he missed to be bowled by Habib for 12 (16 balls, 1 x 4) with the score on 185 from 31.4 overs. With 22 wanted from 20 balls, the asking rate was still almost exactly what it had been all afternoon, but Kimberley and Choudhari find it hard, not surprisingly, to score at that speed immediately after getting to the wicket, so a few finger nails started to be chewed on around the scorers table.
But a leg bye here, a bye there, a stubbed single, a push, a nick, a scamper or two, and the runs still came. Three from over 32, 5 from the 33rd. But now it was 16 needed from 2, getting harder.......
Fortunately, Choudhari wound himself and deposited a big six over long on in the penultimate over, from which 9 runs came, leaving 7 to get from the last over. Mughal bowled, Kimberley swung and the ball flew over midwicket for 4. A play and miss, then a pushed and scampered 2 and the scores were level with 3 balls to go. Another dot ball and then...... Muglai delivered yet another wide, providing a bathetic ending to a superb run chase. Kimberley ended with 13 not out from 20 balls, Choudhari with 10 not out from 7 balls.
The Mad Dogs had beaten Staten Island by 5 wickets but with only 2 balls to spare, chasing down a decent total of 207 in a close, hard fought game.
The final score was 208 for 5 from 34.4 overs. A really good team effort.