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Bessborough fall short on emotional day

A minute's silence was held in memory of Nathan Theebaraj
A minute's silence was held in memory of Nathan Theebaraj
©Bessborough CC
Ian Barrie made 108 for the first XI
Ian Barrie made 108 for the first XI
©Bessborough CC

On an emotional day for the club when players and members paid respect to former third team captain, cricket chairman, youth coach and benefactor Nathan Theebaraj, who sadly lost his battle with illness on Thursday, the four Bessborough sides did their best to honour his memory with some positive cricket.

The first team scored their highest runs total since August 2013 in their Middlesex County Cricket League away match at Kenton but unfortunately it wasn’t quite enough to claim all 10 points.

Kenton posted a strong total of 269 for nine declared after 50 overs. All four Bessborough bowlers took some punishment going at more than four runs per over but Nitin Modha was still able to pick up his now customary five-fer with five for 105 in 19 overs.

That’s four five-wicket hauls for Nitin in the season now, making him the club’s joint leading wicket taker in all formats with 27 alongside Sharuban Kanthasamy, who grabbed two for 52 on his birthday, while skipper Rohan Karkhanis (2-58) also bagged a brace of wickets to increase his number of victims to 23.

In reply, Bessborough were faltering at 50 for three but a 50-run stand between Jigar Shah (24) and Ian Barrie (pictured) got things back on track.

A blistering fifth-wicket partnership of 120 between Barrie and Sherrick Chavda (46) put Bessborough into a commanding position before Barrie’s brilliant innings of 108 was curtailed by a stunning catch by Mohammed Shafiq. Ian’s innings lasted 69 balls and included 16 fours and four sixes.

The loss of the big-hitting Barrie seemed to kill off Bessborough’s momentum. Despite only requiring 3.33 runs from the last 15 overs with five wickets in hand the run rate dropped off a cliff as the batsmen struggled to make more than one or two each over.

All the while the wickets in hand column shrank so that going into the final five overs Bessborough needed 23 runs with two wickets remaining. By the last over that equation had changed to 15 runs and one wicket so skipper Karkhanis (12 not out) and Modha (4 not out) had to settle for the losing draw and a single point.        

The second XI endured another miserable day at the office that if it weren’t for some stubborn lower order resistance would have ended much sooner.

Visitors to Headstone Manor Ickenham - who had earlier joined in a minutes silence for Nathan along with representatives from the 4th team’s opponents Southgate - put Bessborough into bat and were reaping the rewards soon enough as they skittled the home side’s top order for not very much.

At 48 for six it was left to spinner Mitesh Vyas to try and salvage the situation which he did as best he could with a confident 33 not out, supported down the order by Alex Irani (23), Eranda Jayasinghe (17) and Nandesh Patel (33) - helping the side to a defendable 161 all out from 40 overs.

Despite an injury to opener Vrushant Patel - who later came back to finish 20 not out - and an early wicket for Vyas (1-61) Ickenham were never in any danger of failing as Jash Ghandi (60) and Daniel Pope (81) finished the job off with aplomb.

Bessborough remain rooted to the bottom of the MCCL but fortunately their nearest rivals Harrow also lost on Saturday, keeping the distance between the sides to a manageable three points.

The third XI’s hopes of returning to the top tier of the Middlesex 1987 Cricket League at the first time of asking took a huge boost on Saturday as they thrashed Richmond by 132 runs at the Imperial College Sports Ground in Heathrow, meaning the side has back-to-back wins for the first time in two years.

Captain Ian Ridley once again lost the toss and was put into bat on a wicket that was a little two-paced. Ridley promoted vice-captain Sahil Hathi to open the batting alongside himself and the pair got off to a flying start with Hathi launching into a six straight over the bowler’s head. With Hathi looking good he was then clean bowled by Waqas Anjam (2-54) on 10 to leave the team on 38 for one.

The in-form James Wheeler joined his captain at the crease and the experienced pair regrouped, mixing solid defence with some excellent stroke making to put on 131.

Ridley was the first to reach his half century - his first as captain of the third XI - going on to make a very good 63 before he was unlucky to be caught down the leg-side off Anjam. Wheeler’s great form continued as he followed up last week’s hundred by top scoring with 78 and he was only dismissed while looking to raise the run rate.

With captain Ridley looking for a declaration Vinay Bhudia (43 not out) and Dinal Kadawathage (22) kept the run-rate going with some blistering stroke play before the declaration came on 270 for five off 44 overs.

Ridley and Steve Kimsey opened the bowling and despite some false shots the runs flowed freely in the first few overs. It was captain Ridley (1-27) who picked up the first wicket when he smartly caught and bowled Ravi Mantha (7) but that didn't stem the tide as runs continued to come fairly easily until Kimsey (4-51) found his mojo and produced a wonderful spell that delivered four quick wickets.

With Kimsey dismissing Richmond’s top order, spinners Bharat Vyas (1-25) and Thanuka Jayawardena (2-25) were introduced by Ridley as he searched for the knockout blow. Vyas, who was only called up on the morning of the game from the 4s, bowled a terrific spell of slow left-arm bowling and produced a fantastic delivery to dismiss the talented Omar Qavi (8).

Jayawardena also bowled a brilliant spell, bamboozling more than a couple of Richmond’s batsmen with the big prize being the dismissal of Sean Austin for 45, caught by Hathi.

Hathi was then introduced to blow away the tail with instructions of bowling fast and straight. He obeyed orders by picking up two for seven in just two overs as the victory moved closer. It was left to Jayawardena to pick up the final wicket as he had Ali Naeem caught at gully by Kadawathage.

Their promotion charge continues next week as they host a South Hampstead side that are currently hovering around the relegation zone.

The 4th XI are also still in contention for promotion following a winning draw at home to Southgate.

Having been put in the opposition gave very few chances away initially but at the same time seemed reluctant to up the scoring rate as Bessborough’s bowling attack largely kept things tight.

Southgate closed on 199 for five from the full 50 overs with Roy Marett top scoring with 65. Pick of the bowlers was Daniel Malik who reverted to spin rather than his usual seam to claim two for 22.

All-rounders Jamie Young (1-34), Aman Maan (1-28) and Sunil Baria (1-21) chipped in with some wickets too.

In reply, makeshift opener William Gill launched into Southgate’s attack from the start while his partner Simon Heaney played at his more sedate pace. The pair put on 48 before Heaney was out for 12 pulling a ball from Rishi Kent (1-51) straight to square leg. Gill followed almost immediately as he was bowled by Abi Madhaven (3-45) for a rapid 36.

Bessborough were in a little trouble when skipper Richard Ward (3) fell cheaply but a counter-attacking stand of 65 between Maan (34) and young colt Young (41) - his highest senior score and in front of his own high-spirited fan club on the sidelines - brought the team back into contention.

Wicket-keeper Richard Willson continued the chase with a quick-fire 17 before he was bowled by the evergreen Marett (3-37) and at 171 for seven the game was finally balanced.

Malik (22 not out) was dealing almost exclusively in boundaries as he looked to protect the tail but he sensibly played for the winning draw with the side nine down and 12 runs short going into the last over.

Sunday’s Lords Chess Valley Sunday League game against Stevenage was cancelled as the opposition couldn’t raise a team.

On Wednesday, the Barbarians suffered a home defeat against Bushey as they crashed to an 11-run defeat.

On a beautiful summer’s evening, Bushey opted to bat first and started strongly in the first couple of the overs. It was left to first eleven seamer Sharuban Kanthasamy (2-17) to make the breakthrough as he had the opening bat Sleeman caught behind by captain James Wheeler.

With the runs flowing it was left to spinners Nandesh Patel (3-31) and Richard Clarke (1-24) to get the Barbarians back in the game. Patel in particular bamboozled the Bushey batsmen and picked up three wickets including clean bowling Muhuseen and Mustafa.

Bushey’s wicket-keeper Sharma held the innings together as he struck 45 as the away side finished on 140 for six off their 20 overs.

The Barbarians reply started steady rather than spectacular when opener Paul Jarvis was stumped off the bowling of Singh for 11. Jarvis’ opening partner Rajan Modha who has scored more Barbarians runs than any other player this summer, top scored again with 34 before he was also stumped.

The middle order struggled, losing three wickets for no runs as they were reduced from 83-3 to 83-6. Captain James Wheeler looked to stage a fight back with a quickfire 22 but he became Harook’s final wicket as the Bushey off spinner finished with five for 17.

With wickets and overs running out, the ninth-wicket pair of Kanthasamy (13 not out) and Ian Ridley (15) staged a comeback putting on 34 in four overs to give the Barbarians an unlikely chance of victory.

Ridley was dismissed in the 18th over and when number 11 Stephen Kimsey was brilliantly run out in the next the Barbarians were 12 runs short of victory.

This week the Barbarians take on Northwood Town for the second time this season at Headstone Manor on Thursday night.

© Cricket World 2015

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