Majestic Mayer puts Chigwell to the sword
Adam Jacobs praised his Belmont & Edgware team for a "fantastic effort" as they won a high-scoring encounter against Chigwell Synagogue.
After Chigwell were only able to muster eight players, Belmont lent them three - Phil Mayer, Matt Wetton and Jack Mendel - to ensure that the game went ahead.
In warm, sunny conditions, Belmont skipper Jacobs won the toss and opted to bowl. Joe Saleh bowled with great pace, but was unable to consistently find the correct lines to trouble the batsmen.
Indeed stand-in Chigwell batsman Phil Mayer harnessed the lightning quick outfield well by flicking stylishly several times to the fine-leg boundary. From the other end, Jacobs caused trouble with his movement and accuracy and was unfortunate to see a number of edges drop short.
Realising that the dusty surface would be more conducive to spin, Jacobs soon replaced Saleh with Noam Attar. That decision was vindicated when in his first over Attar claimed the wicket of Mayer who walked after nicking faintly to wicketkeeper Michael Blasebalk.
Having made the initial breakthrough, the bowlers lost their discipline which enabled Lloyd Dudderidge and Rose to put on a partnership that frustrated BECC. That was ended after a mix-up between the batsmen enabled Benjamin Feigenbaum, making his debut for the club alongside his brother Sam, to run out the stranded Dudderidge after some smart work by Blasebalk.
However, that only allowed no. 4 Khan and Rose to continue making hay. Rose, in particular, clubbed anything short to the leg-side boundary until Attar, returning for a second spell, bowling pace, induced a drive which the batsman inside edged onto his stumps for 69.
From there, Belmont, who had kept Jacobs, Tilley and Saleh in reserve, pegged Chigwell back skilfully with a series of quick dismissals. Sam Feigenbaum earned his first wicket for BECC after the no. 5 was caught brilliantly by Attar at cover.
Jacobs and Saleh then restricted Chigwell at the death by taking another three quick wickets, including that of Wetton, who was well stumped by Blasebalk, despite the wicketkeeper initially fumbling the ball.
Chigwell finished on a seemingly competitive 218-7 off 35 overs, with Khan completing the innings with a dot ball which left him one short of his half century.
In reply, Belmont were given an excellent platform by Altmann-Richer and Elliott Mayer. They put on a rapid 59 before the former was bowled on 29 by Stuart Kaye. No. 3 Blasebalk kept the momentum up, however, and scored a quickfire 17, before being trapped plum LBW by Chigwell's leg-spinner, Khan.
Just prior to that, Elliott Mayer had eased to a chanceless 50 - playing an array of shots around the ground. Jacobs was next to the crease and he and Mayer continued the assault on the opposition's bowling. They regularly found the boundary rope whilst putting on 97, before Mayer was bowled by Alex Katseph for an outstanding 91 with the score on 215-3.
Whilst Elliott will have been disappointed to have been dismissed with the target so close, he will have been delighted to continue his rich vein of form from last year. That left Jacobs to score the winning runs, which he duly did, by depositing Danny Myers over the infield for a four to finish on 38 not out.
Jacobs commented: "This was a fantastic effort by the team. Our spirits never dropped in the field, even when Chigwell looked like they might be on for a large total and we dragged them back with some disciplined death bowling.
"To chase such an imposing target with over seven overs to spare must be regarded as a highlight of recent years."