BECC 'present' win 40th anniversary match
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Belmont and Edgware's present side played a select team of past players in a special game to commemorate the club's 40th anniversary.
Although this was very much a friendly - with a rule introduced to prevent players from being dismissed for ducks - this was a competitive fixture with the older 'Select XI' keen to show the (generally) younger current squad that they still knew their way around a cricket field.
Present team's stand-in skipper Adam Jacobs won the toss and in damp, overcast conditions elected to field. Taking the first over, opening bowler Joe Saleh immediately found a good length and troubled batsmen Leboff and Cliff Horowitz with his hostility and movement off the surface.
Aizen, the left-arm spinner, unexpectedly took the new ball from the other end, as Jacobs aimed to utilise the slow and turning Old Lyonians pitch as quickly as possible. The ploy worked as, in his first over, Aizen took the wicket of club legend and fellow South African Horowitz who squirted a widish delivery to the point area but cannot have anticipated Steven Altmann-Richer taking a magnificent full-length diving catch to his right, inches away from the turf.
That brought no. 3 Jonny Feigenbaum to the crease and he soon took the attack to the BECC openers. The batsman looked in good nick and played a number of attractive attacking strokes. Nevertheless, before he could convert his good start, he became a victim of the dead Old Lyonians deck when he top-edged an Aizen half delivery to wicket-keeper Michael Blasebalk after an attempted paddle round the corner.
Jeremy Freeman was bowled shortly afterwards, this time by a delivery of genuine quality from Aizen, after the ball dipped and turned away from him.
Aizen's three wickets had put the Select XI in a spot of bother but no. 5, Phil Ellis, managed to arrest the slide by hitting out. In response, Jacobs brought himself on to put the squeeze back on the Select XI. The tactic was effective, as Jacobs’ medium pace seamers proved hard to get away and he went for just 1 run off his next three overs.
Meanwhile, off-spinner Noam Attar replaced Aizen and was extracting considerable turn to trouble the batsmen. Eventually Ellis, clearly concerned about the dwindling run rate, decided to retaliate and Attar felt the full force of this when he was smashed out of the ground for a massive six. The no. 5 began to look increasingly dangerous but before he could wreak some serious damage, Jacobs induced him to drive uppishly straight down Attar's throat at cover.
Following Ellis' dismissal, Attar was disappointed to discover that he could not claim the scalp of next batsman Tobe, whom he bowled on 0. However, after this shaky start, Tobe settled at the crease and exploited the occasional loose delivery from new bowler, Mendel, to hit some hefty blows on the leg-side.
Any attempted fightback though, was snuffed out by David Kay, who was making his first appearance for the club for three years. His slow bowling accounted for three Select XI players as he dismissed Tobe, Leboff, who had anchored the innings well and Pearl.
Attar returned to finally take the scalp of Greenston before Aizen’s second spell brought him the further wicket of Stuart Davis, who attempted to smash the bowler over the top but could not clear mid-off. Kay and Aizen finished with figures of 3-14 and 4-21 respectively.
That left a final pairing of club chairman, Mark Ableson and Cliff Horowitz, whom BECC had allowed to bat again after his early dismissal. Jacobs did not spare his chairman any mercy as he brought Saleh back on to mop up the final wicket. Nonetheless, despite a few hairy moments, Ableson showed grit and a solid defensive technique to keep the young left armer out. It was left to Jacobs, therefore, to close the innings by bowling Horowitz. He had conceded just four runs in 5.2 overs as the Select XI were all out for 114 off 33 overs.
After a special tea and the obligatory photos, the current team started their chase. Select XI opening bowler Stuart Davis showed that he had lost none of his pace and looked dangerous from the off. He claimed an early breakthrough by having Blasebalk caught, after the batsman had previously been reprieved on a duck off the same bowler.
No. 3 Altmann-Richer and remaining opener Harvey Samuels forged a decent partnership which was supplemented by a few extras from a rusty Select XI. That was cut short when Samuels was bowled by Freeman after getting tangled up during an attempted square drive.
At this point, the Select XI still harboured hopes of pulling off an unlikely victory. However, a measured stand between next batsman Jacobs and Altmann-Richer broke the back of the run chase and largely removed this possibility. By the time Altmann-Richer was bowled by Ellis for a well-made 24, Belmont were in a commanding position.
Jacobs and no. 5 Jason Mann further solidified the run chase by putting on 35 before the latter was bowled by a full ball from Feigenbaum which nipped away. With only 30 left to get, the scene was now set for Aizen to finish off the game. This he did with aplomb, smashing a maximum and several boundaries on his way to a quick fire 25 to complete a strong all-round performance. Jacobs finished on an unbeaten 29, although he had batted much longer for his runs.
In the end, Belmont’s present team won comfortably with just under 10 overs to spare.
A BECC spokesman said: "This game was a wonderful way to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the club with many enjoying the nostalgia of the occasion. Amidst demands by numerous Select XI players for a more regular fixture, perhaps some may wish to rediscover former glories and occasionally turn out for the present day side."