Belmont successfully ventured into the world of mid-week T20s for the first time against a Highgate Shul CC.
After losing the toss on a ropey, slow wicket at Hampstead Heath extension, Belmont were unsurprisingly put into bat. A testing opening spell from the Highgate bowlers brought quick rewards, as Steven Altmann-Richer was caught for 3 by Renshaw off his own bowling.
That brought no. 3 Adam Jacobs to the crease to partner Elliott Mayer. Having started well, Highgate seemed to be thrown by the left-hand/right-hand combination, sending down a number of wides and short balls. Mayer and Jacobs greedily capitalised on this, but also played some quality classical strokes whilst rapidly compiling a partnership of 65.
Unusually, Jacobs was the more aggressive of the pair, until he was caught and bowled off a David Kaplan slower ball for 25.
A rusty Simon Taylor came and went for 4, bringing together the father/son partnership of Elliott and Phil Mayer. Elliott retired soon after for 33, a fine knock considering the conditions, making way for Blasebalk, although not before he was almost run out by his father.
Blasebalk and an unusually subdued Phil steadily accumulated until the latter was out, plum lbw. That enabled Phil Peters to provide some late fireworks. His highly entertaining knock included a 6 off his first ball and a quality reverse sweep off the spinner for 4 before he was bowled in the 19th over for a breezy 16 after walking across his stumps.
Tilley and Blasebalk played out the last balls of the innings as Belmont closed on a decent total of 131-5.
In reply, Jacobs and Attar opened the bowling for Belmont. Attar made the initial breakthrough in his first over by dismissing Highgate's no. 1, but pitched his four remaining balls too short. As a result, Taylor was brought on to tighten the run rate, and his nagging accuracy soon started to pay dividends.
Tilley, in the meantime, replaced Jacobs and secured a wicket of his own to leave Highgate in trouble two down. Nonetheless, their momentum was restored by next man in, former Belmont player Daniel Geey. Although aware of his abilities, there was little Belmont could do in the face of his onslaught. After dispatching Tilley for four on his first ball, he proceeded to hit Simon Taylor out of the attack. Greg Mayer was also treated with disdain and before long, much to BECC's relief, he retired after passing 30. No other subsequent Highgate batsman, however, carried the same level of threat and with Greg settling nicely into his rhythm, runs became hard to come by.
The increasing pressure finally bore fruit as wickets started to tumble- first Noam Attar's bullet arm was responsible for a smart run out and then Mayer took two quick wickets, including that of Kaplan, who was bowled first ball. Jack Mendel, introduced into the attack shortly after Geey's retirement, also got in on the act, finally taking a deserved wicket after his drought during a very good two-over spell.
Nevertheless, Attar had the final word with his second spell. Switching to spin, he turned the ball menacingly and cleaned the Highgate tail up (reluctantly bowling the Rabbi, batting at 10, in the process), before effecting another run-out. That occured as the returning Geey attempted a quick single that was never there. Highgate, in the end, were all out for 88, with Attar claiming four wickets. After a difficult season, at long last Belmont appear to be building some momentum.