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Karkhanis heroics not enough for Bessborough

Rohan Karkhanis took seven wickets but ended up on the losing side
Rohan Karkhanis took seven wickets but ended up on the losing side
©Bessborough CC
Sherrick Chavda scored a half-century and took five wickets for the 2nd XI
Sherrick Chavda scored a half-century and took five wickets for the 2nd XI
©Bessborough CC
Praekash Balendra rescued a win for the 4th XI
Praekash Balendra rescued a win for the 4th XI
©Bessborough CC

Bessborough’s first team are now very much embroiled in a relegation scrap after a devastating six-run defeat in a low-scoring Middlesex County Cricket League match away to bottom side North London

It was all looking good for Bessborough at tea following a brilliant spell of bowling from skipper Rohan Karkhanis (pictured) who grabbed a career-best seven for 43 with his wily spin as North London were dismissed for 138 in 47 overs. Fellow spinner Kibreeth Rameez, making his debut for the 1s after impressing for the 2s, ably supported his new captain with three for 20 in 13 miserly overs.

It’s fair to say the reply didn’t go to plan. Bessborough’s much vaunted batting line-up failed for the second week running and were quickly on the ropes at 80 for eight. Of the top order only overseas player Jigar Shah with 38 compiled any sort of meaningful innings.

Having already performed miracles with ball earlier in the day Karkhanis nearly pulled off another one with the bat. He and number 10 Jay Chavda added 51 runs for the ninth wicket to get to within seven runs of the win before Chavda was caught by Sam Bardon off Edward Greally (3-44) for 26.

Last man Sharuban Kanthasamy (0) could only last two balls as he was bowled by Rosh Tennakoon (3-17), leaving Karkhanis stranded on 21 not out and his side beaten by six runs.

Bessborough’s winless streak stretches to six games and they now only have a narrow three point lead over North London. Next week the side face second-placed South Hampstead at Headstone Manor.

How the 1s could have done with their vice-captain Sherrick Chavda (pictured) who starred for a strong second XI in a winning draw at home to North London.

Chavda, who was on something of a lean spell for the 1s and in any case could only play at home, scored 57 and picked up a five-fer as the side narrowly missed out on 10 points but for the elusive final North London wicket.

Batting first on the Headstone Manor road, Bessborough piled on 254 for nine declared in 52 overs with Adil Parker (36), Andy Carr (47) and Gihan Pallage (57 not out) all making contributions alongside Chavda. Former first team skipper Danny Hawes made 20 in a cameo performance before he heads back to the Philippines this week.

North London’s reply got off to a solid start as they reached 185 for five but spinners Chavda (5-60) and Nitin Modha (4-78) rattled through the middle order to give them eight overs at last pair Joe Burke (seven not out) and Geoff Jones (0 not out) who dug in to deny Bessborough the win.

The resurgent 2s leapfrog Harrow at the bottom the MCCL table and will look to continue their improved form away to South Hampstead next weekend.

The third XI destroyed table-toppers Osterley 4s with a comprehensive eight-wicket away win. Stephen Kimsey produced a fine spell of seam bowling to rip through the heart of Osterley’s line-up, claiming four for 48 in 17 overs.

Young spinner Ajan Sivakumar mopped up the tail in his first senior outing of the season with three for nine as Osterley were all out for 102 in 33 overs.

Bessborough lost a couple of early wickets but opener Vidoosha Jayawardena once again demonstrated his prodigious talent as the teenager scored a classy unbeaten 64.

Sanil Shah scored a confidence building 25 not out in support as Bessborough reached the target in only 22 overs. The performance was even more remarkable considering the side was missing the club’s leading run scorer James Wheeler following the birth of his new daughter.

The 3s have picked up 34 points out of a possible 40 in the last four games and while the latest result didn’t see them shift from fifth place in Division 2 of the Middlesex 1987 Cricket League they have closed the gap to leaders Osterley to 13 points.

The promotion charge continues next week at home to relegation threatened Teddington 4s, a side they beat by 58 runs in the reverse fixture in May.

Praekash Balendra (pictured) was the hero of the day for the 4th XI as he guided the team to a dramatic last-over win against Wembley in Division 5 of the Middlesex 1987 Cricket League.

A vastly improved Wembley side from the first game of the season had earlier posted 214 for nine declared from 47 overs with number seven Kunj Thakkar (31) and number eight Vishvas Maniya (84 not out) rescuing their team when it looked they might struggle to reach much more than 100.

Pick of the Borough bowlers were Ravi Vyas (2-34), Jamie Young (2-63) and Sunil Baria (2-20) who were let down somewhat by another erratic fielding performance.

Bessborough’s response got off to a shaky start as captain and makeshift opener Richard Ward (0) was caught behind in the second over. Ward was soon followed on the touchlines by William Gill (15), Simon Heaney (14) and Richard Willson (13) but Balendra and Young (38) steadied the ship by putting on 75 for the fifth wicket to get the side up to 142 for five.

Balendra judged the run chase expertly and took control of partnerships of 17 and 26 with Bharat Vyas (10) and Sunil Baria (7) respectively. With five overs remaining Bessborough required another 25 runs with two wickets remaining.

New partner Ravi Vyas (8 not out) showed no fear as he not only got the strike back to Balendra when needed but chipped in with some useful runs of his own and it was he who scored the winning runs with the second ball of the last over. Balendra remained unbeaten on 92, his best for the club and the highest score by any 4s player this season.

Praekash’s performance was all the more important as anything other than a win would almost certainly have ended the side’s chances of promotion. Instead, this victory from the jaws of defeat helped the side rise to fifth place in the league and they will have a chance to narrow the 17-point gap to leaders North Middlesex when they visit them next Saturday.

On Sunday, Bessborough beat local rivals Stanmore in a rain-affected Lords Chess Valley Sunday League game.

Stanmore scored 279 for five from their full 45 overs with Pazman Agha riding his luck with a number of dropped chances on his way to 103. Spinners Thanuka Jayawardena (3-52) and Mitesh Vyas (2-41) were the most effective of Bessborough’s bowlers.

A heavy downpour at tea restricted Bessborough to 25 overs and a revised target of 156 to surpass Stanmore’s run rate of 6.20. First teamer Rishi Patel found some form with his club best of 79 not out, while Adil Parker (27) and new player Bhavin Kakkad (24) also helped Bessborough to reach the winning line in the final over with four balls to spare.

It was chalk and cheese for the Barbarians last week as they first suffered a heavy defeat at Watford Town on Tuesday evening before beating RAF Northolt comfortably the following night at Headstone Manor.

An all-round poor performance from the Barbarians saw them defeated by Watford Town for the first time in their history on Tuesday evening in Hertfordshire. Despite losing the toss, the early signs were good for the Barbarians after Sharuban Kanthasamy (2-7) clean bowled Sandeep Shah (1) and Grant van Quickleberg (0) in consecutive deliveries.

The Watford Town batsmen regrouped with opening batsman Gulf Riaz anchoring the innings with 44 as they finished on 144 for seven from their 20 overs.

The Barbarians played some sloppy cricket in the final 10 overs in the field with numerous drop catches and poor ground fielding aiding their hosts.

The Barbarians reply struggled almost from ball one as the Watford Town bowlers hit good areas on a slow and sluggish pitch. Some poor strokes and good bowling saw the Barbarians slump to 31 for six with four of the top seven batsman being dismissed without scoring.

With a victory out of the equation, Sammy Hawes (23) and William Gill (30) put on a partnership of 38 to save the Barbarians from the embarrassment of being bowled out for less than 50.

The pair were eventually dismissed in quick succession as the Barbarians were bowled out for 84 in under 19 overs.

The following night couldn’t have been more different as the Barbarians did something the Luftwaffe couldn’t and beat the RAF at Headstone Manor.

On a balmy summer’s evening, captain James Wheeler won the toss and elected to bat on another terrific looking wicket. With his side needing a win, Wheeler opened the batting for the first time this season alongside the returning Danny Hawes.

Wheeler took full advantage of the field restrictions by striking boundaries all around the ground, including a huge six off medium pacer Tony Watts (1-33). The opening pair put on 48 during the field restrictions before Hawes, playing his first game since 2013, was dismissed for a brisk 13.

The destructive Andy Carr joined Wheeler at the crease as the pair continued to put pressure on the RAF. Wheeler was the main aggressor as he passed 600 runs for the season and reached his fifth half century of the summer.

After some more lusty blows he was finally dismissed for a well-made 63 and left the Barbarians in a strong position of 104 for two in the 13th over.

Sammy Hawes (13 not out) was the new batsman and his mission was to get Carr back on strike with well-placed singles. Carr then showed the RAF all of his stroke play as he smashed the bowling all over Headstone Manor.

His full repertoire of shots came out with his powerful drives combined with delicate flicks as he scored a quite brilliant 82. Carr was caught off the final ball of the innings as the Barbarians finished on 183 for three.

The RAF came out all guns blazing with a few early boundaries keeping them up with the initial run-rate. With the ball disappearing to all parts, all-rounder Richard Clarke (2-17) was introduced and his off spin bowling tied up the RAF batting as he picked up the key wickets or opening batsman Ben Murray (24) and Lee Brown (20).

These wickets slowed the RAF chase and a steady stream of wickets effectively ended the game halfway through the innings. Hemmen Jutla (1-19) and Simon Heaney (1-18) both bowled good spells while expert death bowler Ian Ridley (3-5) saw the game out picking up three quick wickets.

The Barbarians eventually clinched victory by 69 runs while our opponents stayed and enjoyed a few drinks while talking of a return game next summer.

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