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Archive for August, 2014

The equation was simple; win this game and Munden would finish 2nd in the division and gain promotion for the second season in a row – an achievement that not even the most optimistic would have envisioned at the start of the campaign.

We knew we needed a strong side as Fyfield had showed their quality at Green End. The loss of Phippsy to a bad cold was a blow but luckily Rizwan responded to some gentle persuasion and Munden had strength in depth once again.

The players arrived at Fyfield in good time and raring to go. The pitch was undulating and the weather overcast with a blustery wind. Le Numero Uno signed off his season with another textbook toss and wisely decided to put our hosts in to bat as he suspected that the track may hold a few surprises and it would give us a chance to judge how it behaved.

The now established opening pairing of Dave B and Burly started as they have all season – right on the spot from the very first ball, tying down the batsmen and making sure that the opposition had to work hard to score their runs.

Frugal …. parsimonious ….. economical ….. miserly ….. scottish …… Simon was correct, I’ve run out of descriptors to apply to Burly’s bowling. For the second time this season he completed his 10 over spell for a mere 9 runs. He has had an epic season with the ball – but then so has Big Dave B. Dave only conceded 11 runs in his 7 overs. Dave’s best figures were against South Loughton – 10 overs, 6 maidens 4 wickets for 5 runs, an outstanding spell of bowling.

The pair have played a big part in Munden’s success this year. By the time Dave gave way to Nadir in the 15th over, Fyfield’s run rate was below 2 an over.

Ahmed’s suspicions about the pitch had been proved correct as the bounce was variable and the ball was swinging a lot, making batting difficult. We knew from the home game that Fyfield’s openers were good batters, but having struggled to score off Dave and Burly, they may have hoped that our next bowlers would make life easier. Not a bit of it, Nadir’s pace and aggression and Rizwan’s clever spin and change of pace gave the batsmen no respite.

It didn’t matter that we weren’t making inroads into Fyfield’s batting order as the run rate was low and we knew that as soon as the batsmen started taking risks, the wickets would follow. And so it proved when Nadir took two quick wickets with the score on 75 – the first clean bowled and the second snapped up by Boycie in slip.

Ashley struck a blow when he removed Fyfield’s dangerous opener caught and bowled and also securing the Catcher’s Cup for himself in the process.

The pressure continued to mount on Fyfield when there was a mix up and both batsmen arrived at the same end gifting Munden the simplest of run outs. The last wicket to fall was another superb low catch by Rizwan off Ahmed’s bowling.

Fyfield’s plan may have been to conserve wickets and launch a late onslaught on the bowling, and a couple of their promising young players did their best to set Munden a target but it was too little too late and they concluded the 45 overs on 114 for 5.

Munden’s fielding was exemplary, we were sharp and quick to the ball throughout, preventing the singles and piling the pressure on the batsmen.

Munden bowling

Burly: 10 overs, 4 maidens, 0 for 9

Dave B: 7 overs, 3 maidens, 0 for 11

Nadir: 10 overs, 1 maiden, 2 for 33

Rizwan: 10 overs, 1 maiden, 0 for 12

Ashley: 5 overs, 1 for 20

Ahmed: 3 overs, 1 for 15

The generous folks at Fyfield served up an excellent tea – probably the best away catering we’ve had this season.

Simon and Ashley opened for Munden in the knowledge that with less than 3 an over required for victory, patience and wise shot selection would see us through to victory._DSC0108

The pair applied themselves to the task perfectly. Munden eased past 50 scoring at more than 4 an over and saw off Fyfield’s opening bowlers comfortably. The change bolwers offered a bit more variation and one swinging delivery claimed Simon’s wicket LBW with the score on 56.

_DSC0141Nadir came in for Simon and settled into his usual attacking game. We had wickets in hand and a modest total to chase.

Fyfield’s young spinner was teasing the batsmen to come down the pitch after his looping deliveries. Ashley was picking up the half volleys with lofted shots into space and scoring freely when he mistimed a shot and went caught and bowled. Similarly, another tempting ball proved too much for Nadir to ignore and the bowler won that particular battle too.

Munden were 108 for 3 requiring only 7 runs for victory … the pressure was off.

With Big Dave B at the wicket and Rizwan the other end, we expected the game to be over very soon. Our hosts enjoyed one last celebration for the season as Dave was bowled by the newly introduced young quick bowler before Nihal joined Rizwan in the middle to see Munden over the line.

Munden reached 115 in the 28th over for the loss of 4 wickets.

Munden batting

Ashley 39

Simon 24

Nadir 24

Rizwan 9 not out

Dave B 3

Nihal 1 not out

Well who’d have thought it? We started the season with the aim of staying in the division, and finished in second place, gaining promotion and having accrued 13 more points than last season.

I shan’t pick out any individuals at this point, we have witnessed great performances from many players this season. It has been a team effort throughout. Everyone, and I mean everyone, who has played any part should be rightly proud of their achievement ……. congratulations and thank you to you all.

There will be plenty of time for statistical anaylsis in the coming weeks. I plan to publish some articles highlighting aspects of the season. I welcome your suggestions, but, I think if we’ve learnt anything, it should be to let our cricket do the talking, enjoy the ride, and to consider ourselves lucky to play for such a great club as Little Munden.

Thanks once again to Chris for doing the book and taking the photos – the rest of which can be viewed on the ‘Last Game’ tab at the top of the page.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Ahmed

Ashley

Boycie

Burly

Dave B

Dave M

Nadir

Nihal

Martin

Rizwan

Simon

12th man Chris

Phippsy is not well

Fyfield Sports Field

Walker Avenue

Fyfield

Essex

CM5 0RF

Please arrive by 1 pm

 

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dog evening

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Two games left and everything to play for.

Boycie and Badger were at a sunny Green End early to prepare the wicket for the last home game of the season. Our opponents Takely are the in-form side having recorded an impressive 6 wins in a row. The away game at Takeley had been of high quality and a real nail biter. In the end, the big hitting of Dave B and Boycie had won the game for Munden. This day, Dave B was away at a camp beer festival (at least that’s how I think he described it) but nevertheless, we had a strong side that welcomed Nadir back after his holiday, and the return of our old friend Rizwan who it turned out contributed far more than just making up the numbers.

Le numero uno, came duo in the toss test and the visitors elected to bat.

Nadir and Burly opened the bowling for Munden beneath blue skies and with a gusty breeze blowing obliquely across the track. Burly bowled as he has all season – with control, economy and guile. Nadir’s pace was working against him as although he frequently found the edge of the bat, the ball consistently evaded the fielders but found the boundary. After 4 lively overs, Nadir made way for the tricky spin of Rizwan in an attempt to slow Takeley’s scoring.

This happened with immediate effect. Rizwan gives the ball a real tweak. His impressive turn and varied the pace kept the batsmen guessing and resulted in several shouts for LBW that may have been successful on another day. Within 6 overs, Takeley’s run rate had decreased from 6 to under 4 an over, but by drinks, Takeley were in the 80s and Munden were still to claim their first wicket.

But all changed after the drinks break.

Ashley took over after Burly concluded a fine spell and the chances began to flow as Takeley’s batsmen became frustrated and tried to push the scoring. Rizwan claimed the top scalp of the No.1 bat clean bowled and soon after took an excellent low catch off Ashley’s bowling. Ashley then trapped the new batsman without scoring and Takeley were now looking vulnerable on 95 for 3.

Rizwan concluded a fine 10 over spell having conceded only 25 runs and made way for Ahmed. Ahmed’s gentle pace is deceptive. The batters often go after his bowling only to be undone by the flight and late dip he conjures. Takeley’s No.4 bat is a renowned big hitter and set about Munden’s bowling and the run rate increased.

It would be easy to hide as a bowler when confronted with such an onslaught, but Ahmed and Ashley stuck to the plan and placed the field accordingly.

Ahmed bowled the No.4 and 5 bats and then invited the batsman for one lofted drive too many and Ashley took a great catch in the deep. But still the incoming batsmen attacked the bowling and it appeared the visitors were on course for 200.

Ashley completed his spell and made way for Boycie senior who duly took a wicket in his second over when he bowled Takeley’s No.7. Ahmed took his 4th and Munden’s 8th wicket when a lofted shot was claimed by an excellent running catch by Phippsy at mid wicket.

Takely concluded the 45 overs having scored 205 for 8.

Munden bowling

Burly: 10 overs, 2 maidens, 0 for 23

Nadir: 4 overs, 0 for 33

Rizwan: 10 overs, 3 maidens, 1 for 25

Ashley: 10 overs, 2 maidens, 2 for 43

Ahmed: 8 overs, 4 for 44

Boycie: 3 overs, 1 for 26

Thanks to Simon and the Andrews entourage for an excellent tea featuring the best home made scones in the county.

_DSC0025-1Simon and Nadir formed Munden’s opening pairing. With a target run rate of under 4.5 an over, we just needed to conserve our wickets and build the innings patiently. The first few overs passed without event.

Nadir played his natural attacking game, hitting boundaries with his first two scoring shots. But missed when attempting a third and returned to the pavillion to be replaced by Ashley. Munden were 18 for 1.

It was apparent from Rizwan’s spell that the pitch was taking turn and batting was not as easy as it may have appeared.

Simon faced the first ball of the next over from Takeley’s spinner. The ball turned, missed the edge of the bat but deflected off Simon’s pads clipping the off stump. Munden were 18 for 2 – not the start we had envisaged.

Rizwan came in for Simon and those of us sitting in the pavilion hoped that he and Ashley could steady the boat. At this point we were behind the required rate, but that was not a problem as long as we could hold on to our wickets and bat sensibly.

At first the pair scored slowly but time was on our side and after a cautious start, the runs began to flow._DSC0054-1

We soon learned that the quiet unassuming Rizwan is a different character when he has a bat in his hand. As his confidence grew, he took a stride down the wicket to pretty much every delivery and played with style, timing and power.

_DSC0044-1Ashley too was finding his form but was undone when he chased a wide ball that went high into the deep. The fielder dropped the catch at first but somehow caught the ball between his legs as he fell to the ground. This was not the first time this season that Ashley has been dismissed in what can only be described as unlucky circumstances.

Munden were 81 for 3. It was now down to Martin to partner Rizwan and get Munden into a winning position.

Martin first contacted Munden a couple of years ago to offer his services in a 20/20 game stating that he ‘liked a good slog’ – and we know that he likes to attack the bowling. But in this innings Martin demonstrated that he is a team player as he played the perfect support role._DSC0079-1

While fifteen of Martin’s eighteen scoring shots were singles (the other three were fours), Rizwan kept hitting straight through the line and peppering the boundary with fours. I can’t remember him offering any chances to the field as his timing and shot selection kept the ball low and found the gaps in the field.

Rizwan modestly acknowledged the applause as he eased passed 50 and may have heard the encouragement from his teammates to ‘now make it a hundred’ – and that was exactly what he did. Having reached his hundred with a rapid second 50, Rizwan signed off with one last boundary to bring his total for the innings to 17 boundaries and secure an important victory at Fortress Munden.

Munden finished on 206 for 3 in the 40th over.

Munden Batting

Simon 7

Nadir 8

Ashley 41

Martin 25 not out

Rizwan 104 not out

This game was like so many this season. There were times when the opposition seemed to be in control, but we have learned that restricting the run rate, keeping it tight in the field and the luxury of having depth in batting will usually save the day.

Rizwan’s bowling, fielding and exceptional batting performance have to make him man of the match, but Martin’s contribution to their 125 run partnership was crucial and he also deserves much praise. Collectively we fielded very well and the bowlers all showed their experience and control.

Thanks to the great guys from Takeley for their part in another enthralling encounter.

Munden have now won 10 out of the last 11 games. A victory away to Fyfield next week should guarantee us promotion. The way other results have gone this weekend means that there are still 2 possible outcomes – Munden could come second, or miss out on promotion by coming third …. so we need just one more big effort.

Our home form this season has been excellent. Ahmed wanted ‘Fortress Munden’ in the title of this report to underline how important this has been to our success. I understand Nihal has also suggested ‘Junction 26’ as another term for Green End as it signifies the points total we generally achieve – as well as the junction he leaves the M25 at when coming to the ground 😛

_DSC0089-1As this was our last league home game of the season, Ahmed and his family treated us to another delicious curry evening for the post match celebration. Arif added to the feast with his superb Pukka Pakoras and Peter and Susan extended their customary hospitality and provided the liquid refreshment.

It was a very satisfying end to a great day – thank you to all concerned.

I have placed some of Chris’ photos in this match report – please click the ‘Last Game’ tab at the top of the page to see a full catalogue of his pictures taken on the day.

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Ahmed

Ashley

Boycie

Burly

Chris

Dave M

Nadir

Martin

Phippsy

Rizwan

Simon

12th man Dave P

 

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Game off

Ahmed has had a call from the Epping Foresters captain to say they can’t raise a team, therefore today’s match has been called off.

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Ahmed

Phippsy

Boycie

Burly

B.K.

Chris

Dave B

Dave I

Dave M

Martin

Rashid

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