Belmont & Edgware put in a good performance in a two-wicket friendly defeat against Southgate Adelaide.
BECC returned to the Walker Ground to play Southgate Adelaide for the first time since 2010, aware that they were up against historically strong opposition.
Having been tipped off by the club groundsman that over 550 runs had been scored in 80 overs the previous day, BECC captain Jacobs won an important toss and opted to bat first. Phil and Elliott Mayer came to the crease first, eager to resume their successful father-son opening partnership. Unfortunately, this wasn’t to be, as both were out early - Phil caught after attempting to pull a short ball that got unexpectedly big on him and Elliott bowled by a corker of a delivery.
This brought nos. 3 and 4, Altmann-Richer and Jacobs to the crease, with Belmont teetering at 16-2. Both quickly realised that they could trust the pitch and after playing themselves in, began to unfurl a series of classy strokes. Altmann-Richer played a responsible anchor role and was good enough to stylishly put away the bad ball, whilst Jacobs, the more aggressive of the pair, took the attack to Southgate’s bowlers and exploited a short boundary on one side of the pitch.
They built a lengthy partnership, with the left-hand, right-hand combination thoroughly frustrating the home side. Indeed, at one point, in an attempt to stem the flow of runs, Southgate’s wily left-arm spinner resorted to setting a completely leg-side field to Jacobs and bowling darts into his leg stump, although this ploy did not prevent the pair from successfully rotating the strike.
Sufficiently concerned with the mounting total, Southgate brought on their ex-Middlesex juniors quickie to try and break the partnership. He succeeded in unnerving Jacobs by hitting him on the helmet after the batsman ducked into a bouncer that didn’t quite get up. In contrast, Altmann-Richer continued serenely on his way and looked entirely comfortable.
Southgate finally dismissed Jacobs after he nicked the quickie behind to the wicket-keeper, but not before he had weighed in with 76 runs against a strong attack. In total, Altmann-Richer and Jacobs put on 128 for the third wicket.
Aizen was the next batsman in at 5 and having grown up on fast South African wickets, also looked at ease against the pace. He smashed a few cover drives to the boundary before being dismissed for a quick-fire 21. Prior to that, Altmann-Richer had fallen, correctly adjudged lbw for a fine 41 when attempting to sweep across the line.
Four wickets quickly tumbled after as batsmen attempted to hit out with time running out. Nonetheless, Mendel and Attar did well to survive the last couple of overs and with the help of a few extras, Belmont hauled themselves to a competitive total of 206-9.
BECC’s bowling effort got off to a dream start as left-armer Aizen removed Adelaide’s opening batsmen early with cleverly flighted deliveries. The aforementioned Middlesex junior quickie came into bat at no. 3, at which point it emerged that he was brilliant all-rounder, timing the ball crisply on the off-side from start of his innings. However, before he could take the game away from Belmont, Jacobs managed to nip one back into his pads. The batsman was at least two yards out of his crease and the ball had hit him above the knee-roll on a bouncy surface. Nonetheless, the vociferous appeal that followed was obviously convincing and the young umpire was persuaded to raise his finger, much to the disgust of the rest of Adelaide’s team. Young umpire was relieved from his post shortly after ...
After all of this drama, it was time for Mitchell “Golden-Arm” Mayer, to take centre-stage. He took his second four-wicket haul in two weeks with a great spell against some high quality batsmen. Highlights of this include a phenomenal caught and bowled after the ball had been smashed back over his head and the dismissal, next ball, of a batsman who had scored a 200 against BECC two years ago.
After Mayer’s burst, Belmont were now on the brink of a famous victory and had Adelaide rocking at 120-7. Unfortunately, they couldn’t quite see the job through. Attar bowled his off-spin with skill and accuracy and Mendel picked up a further wicket whilst demonstrating his usual heart and commitment.
However, a number of dropped catches cost the team dear and Southgate managed to craft strong ninth and tenth-wicket partnerships to see them home with seven and a half overs to spare.
BECC were clearly underdogs in this game, yet pushed a superior side all the way. They set a competitive total and almost managed to defend it. This performance bodes well for the future and is proof of our continuing development and improvement as a team.