Belmont & Edgware 1st were unable to build on last week’s memorable cup victory as MAL ran out victors by eight wickets to confirm promotion from Middlesex Sunday League Division Three.
The match started rather more successfully than it ended for BECC who were decimated by injury and lack of availability. Captain Ashley Connick won the toss, a rare occurrence in recent months. Although wanting to bowl, having only seven players at the designated start time necessitated a bat.
With the order rejigged slightly, Connick and Goodman opened up, with Connick soon departing after one sweetly struck boundary, with David Kaplan lifting the dreaded finger in response to a strong appeal. Dan Abrahams and a Warren Averbukh followed soon after, before Jonny Kay joined Goodman in BECC’s best partnership of the day. The introduction of the leg-spinner Grant Traub however, who bowled superbly throughout, saw Goodman fall to his first ball, for a decent score of 27, bringing Evans to the crease.
This was when things went badly wrong. With Kay batting nicely, he drove through the covers and with Evans charging back for a second, was left a yard short, a needless run-out. Evans however was looking comfortable, until attempting to launch the ball back over the bowler's head, nearly took it off. The first thought was that it was going to kill either the ducking bowler, or Averbuch umpiring behind.
In an instant, the bowler stuck out a hand and took a quite ridiculous reflex catch. His comment at the end of the match that he had lost all feeling in his hand, was of little consolation.
Blasebalk, still looking for his 1000th run for the club, along with Mayer and debutant Gleskin followed soon after and after a sweetly struck boundary from Kaplan, he was last man out for four, leaving the innings closed on 83.
Although this was a small total, confidence was boosted by memories of last week’s performance in Manchester when BECC successfully defended a comparable score. These positive thoughts were only compounded by the superb start by both the opening bowlers, Connick and Averbukh and the support that the fielders gave him. Goodman, Abrahams and Gleskin in particular fielded superbly, whilst the ball appeared to be following Reid around wherever he went (even when he was off the pitch).
Averbuch, in surely his finest spell of the year, quickly accounted for the opener and was unlucky not to get at least one more wicket, whilst Connick, reverting back to his ‘pace’ bowling, kept things extremely tight, beating the bat on a number of occasions, giving nothing away and having several confident appeals turned down by the umpire.
Goodman continued where Connick left off, bowling with good pace and frequently troubling the batsmen. With the run-rate barely registering, Evans came on and promptly proceeded to undo most of the good work the other bowlers had done, by bowling short down the leg-side.
With Kaplan replacing Averbukh after a brilliant spell of 8-0-27-1 which was even better than the figures suggest, order was restored. Evans then picked up the wicket of Corin with a slower ball, superbly held on the boundary by Connick, but the second wicket partnership had taken the game out of our reach. With Landau reaching a well-played half-century, MAL won by 8 wickets, with 15.5 overs to spare.