Saturday August 26th – Cockfosters II 122 for 5 beat Old Camdenians 121 all out by 5 wickets
Cockfosters travelled to Old Camdenians for a relegation ’60 pointer’ knowing that a defeat would almost certainly result in relegation from Division 6A. With skipper Shag laid low with shingles, it was a big relief for all when Tom Simmons won his first toss of the season and elected to bowl first on a pitch that in the previous week had delivered 15 wickets for just 140 runs.
Old Camdenians lost three early wickets, one to John Worley and two to Alex Callan, to find themselves at 30-3 after 4.5 overs. A fourth-wicket partnership of 30 threatened to frustrate Cockfosters before John Worley managed to prise the Camdenians skipper out in his 10th and final over, with a wide long-hop that was drilled to Andy Stokes at extra cover. John finished with figures of 2-34 from his 10 overs. A flurry of wickets followed (three for Assad Shabbir and one for Ben Howell) to leave the opposition at 93-8. At this point the bowlers temporarily lost control and conceded a few too many runs. Alex Callan returned to take the final two wickets (and finish with excellent figures of 7.5 overs 4-11), the opposition eventually bowled out for 121 from 34.5 overs.
In response, Tom Simmons and Dan Stead faced some fairly hostile bowling from one end but managed to make an opening stand of 33 before Tom fell. Three quick wickets of Ben Howell, Andy Stokes and Dan Stead followed before Pumpkin and Adam Pigden provided stability. Pumpkin was making light work of it at the other end, dispatching three 6’s in quick succession over the bowler’s head. When Pumpkin fell for 28 at 88-5, the pessimists among us sensed another infamous Cockfosters collapse. 16 year old Will Herbert came to the crease in a tense situation but immediately settled the nerves of those watching with some assured shots whilst Adam had settled after a couple of early scares. Progress was pretty serene from this point onwards, with Adam finishing on 15 not out and Will ending with 24 not out.
On a tough pitch, it was great to see Will Herbert and Pumpkin in particular bat so effectively. Will looked completely untroubled which is a testament to his ability, especially given the difficult circumstances when he arrived at the crease. On the bowling side, Alex Callan bowled superbly and rightly picked up the MOTM award – but credit to John, Ben and Assad too for making the most of the advantageous conditions to put us in driving seat. Safety is not yet assured, so a good performance and fourth win in a row is required next week.
Saturday August 19th – Cockfosters II 208 for 9 beat Redbourn II 207 all out by 1 wicket
Cockfosters came into the game knowing that only a win would do to ensure survival. Shag won the toss and elected to bowl against top-half Redbourn.
It looked to have been a flawed decision as the opposition openers started comfortably, ticking along at 3 runs an over with little fuss. The introduction of Matt ‘Keef’ Taylor, with the score at 50-0 was the catalyst for a mini-collapse. Matt took two wickets in an over to reduce Redbourn to 56-2. Will Herbert shortly followed with a wicket to further swing the advantage Cockfosters’ way. However, a large partnership developed between numbers 4 and 5, both of whom went on to score half-centuries before a run-out from the main man Matt Taylor left the score at 160-4. Ravi Solanki took his opportunity to bowl at the new batsman and picked up the number 6 very cheaply. Wickets continued to fall from this moment as the slow bowling pair of Ravi and Andy Stokes exerted some pressure. Ravi finishing with 3-42 and Andy 2-39 from their 10 over spells. It was left to opening bowler Alex Callan to return and take the wicket of the number 4 to finish the innings, Redbourn ending on 207 all out from 46.1 overs.
Cockfosters enjoyed three decent partnerships at the top of the order, particularly between Ben and Andy Stokes who added 64 for the third wicket before Ben Howell played one shot too many as he was bowled for an excellent half-century. The wicket of Ben looked to be pivotal as regular wickets fell after his dismissal. In fact, only one batsman outside of the top 4 reached double figures. When the 9th wicket fell and Ravi Solanki walked to the middle with 15 still to win, even the most optimistic of Cockfosters’ followers thought the game was gone. What followed was almost unbelievable. Ravi and Assad Shabbir batted carefully, waiting for the poor deliveries and punishing them when they arrived. Ravi’s straight drive for 4 will live long in the memory. As will the moment where Assad knocked the ball straight at a fielder, with one run to win, and proceeded to set off for the riskiest of singles. The batsmen paused, mid-wicket to further heighten the tension. The fielder fumbled and Ravi, running at the speed of light after a mid-wicket side-step, made his ground safely. Cockfosters had won, and nobody could quite believe it!
The victory keeps the 2’s in the fight for safety with a big game at bottom-of-the-table Old Camdenians to come next Saturday.
MOTM – The in-form Ben Howell for his 50.
Saturday August 12 – Cockfosters II 149 for 8 beat Welwyn Garden City III 133 all out by 16 runs
Having been asked to bat again, Cockfosters started reasonably solidly. Both openers departed when in double figures and Andy Stokes made a very quickfire 30 from number 3 before playing one shot too many and holing out to square leg. This brought captain marvel, Shag Edwards to the crease who batted in the responsible manner you would expect from a skipper. He led by example and ensured the full 50 overs were batted. Given the number of extras afforded by the bowling side, those overs of crease occupation proved to be crucial. Shag was ably supported by the lower order to marshal the side to 149-8 from 50 overs. Shag finished on 25 not out and extras (top scorer on the day) finished on 42.
In response, Welwyn lost wickets at regular intervals which meant they were always going to struggle to reach the 150 required to win the game. John Worley and Simon Hutchins bowled very well up front with figures of 2-31 and 1-30 respectively. Whenever a Welwyn batsman looked as if they were getting set, Cockfosters produced a bit of quality to remove them. The introduction of Alex Callan as second change bowler proved decisive. He ripped through the Welwyn middle-order, finishing with 4-22. Ravi Solanki returned to the attack to take the final wicket, trapping the number 11 LBW. He finished with 2-27 and Assad finished with 1-18. Dan Stead and Dan Rollo both pulled off spectacular catches to remove batsmen at key times.
A crucial win in the 2s quest to avoid the drop – it was a great team performance, led by Shag with the bat and Alex with the ball.
MOTM – Alex Callan for ripping through the opposition’s middle order.
Saturday August 5 – Bovingdon 120 for 3 beat Cockfosters II 119 all out by 7 wickets
A very disappointing day for Cockfosters who lost a crucial game against a side also fighting to avoid the drop. Wickets fell all too regularly in the Cockfosters innings, the only resistance provided by opener Tom Simmons (30), Dan Rollo (31) and Assad Shabbir (14). The conditions for batting weren’t ideal, but it was certainly not a 119 all out wicket.
It always looked like the score was going to be light and so it proved. John Worley bowled as economically as ever up front taking 1-12 from 10 overs. Given the size of the target, the bowlers found it difficult to exert pressure. A wicket each for Matt Taylor and Assad were the only other bright spots of the game. Well done to Bovingdon for winning with only 9 men. However, it was a very disappointing day for the 2s.
Saturday July 29 – Cockfosters II v Old Finchleians – No Result
Cockfosters again left frustrated as the game was rained off at tea, having bowled the opposition out for 78.
Saturday July 22 – Cockfosters II v Old Albanians – No Result
Cockfosters, still on a high from their scalp a weekend previously, were left frustrated by the weather, as the game was rained off with league leaders, Old Albanians, in trouble at 45-3.
Saturday July 15 – Cockfosters II 201 for 8 beat London Colney 163 all out
Stand-in skipper Tom Simmons lost the toss yet again and Cockfosters were inserted by promotion chasing London Colney.
Dan Stead departed relatively early to bring Ben Howell to the crease. Ben and Dom Sweeting batted resiliently in tough conditions to set the foundations for a decent score. Ben departed for 18 with the score on 72 which prompted a flurry of middle order wickets including Dom Sweeting for an excellent 47. Dan Rollo fresh from a stint of playing in the 1s came in at 7 and supported Harry White superbly. The two of them dominated a strong bowling attack and took the score from 117-5 to 196-6 when Dan eventually fell for 29. Harry White, sensing the innings was drawing to a close and having reached 50 started playing some innovative sweeps and paddles. He played one shot too many and departed for an important 55 leaving Assad Shabbir and Alex Callan to drag the score over the 200 mark and set a strong total in tricky conditions.
Colney lost a couple of relatively cheap wickets (one apiece to John Worley and Alex Callan to leave themselves at 35-2 but then built two solid partnerships of 39 and 59 (broken by Ben Howell and Assad Shabbir) to get into a strong position of 133-4. At this point it looked like a draw was most likely, with an outside chance of a result for either side. Alex and Assad returned to the attack for one last throw of the dice. In his first over back Alex took two wickets and then a wicket apiece in his next two overs, finishing with 5-35 from 14 overs in what was a brilliant spell of unplayable bowling. It was left to Assad to take the final wicket (finishing with 3-38) in order to seal an improbable victory against a very strong Colney side.
MOTM – Alex Callan for his match-winning 5fer.
Saturday July 8 – Rickmansworth 273 all out drew with Cockfosters 176 for 5
Stand-in skipper Tom Simmons lost the toss yet again on a hot day meaning the 2s were in the field. An early wicket fell to John Worley who as usual bowled with superb control during his spell. However, after the initial wicket, the opposition batsmen built a really strong partnership, with the opener in particular making Cockfosters toil, eventually scoring a hundred.
It’s fair to say the batsmen benefited from some indifferent bowling, the main threat looking like run-outs, of which there were four, three courtesy of Chris Holmes! Cockfosters eventually took all opposition wickets for 273.
It was very hard work in the heat and tempers flared in the middle. Credit to Geoff Williams for doing both ends as umpire and managing some difficult behaviour on the field.
After the antics in the first innings, Cockfosters were determined not to give the opposition 30 points, but with the big target a draw always looked more likely. Dan Stead opened and batted superbly whilst wickets at the other end fell at regular intervals. Only when Tom Simmons joined him at 46-4 did a partnership develop. Dan and Tom batted with control, keeping the opposition out and slowly quietening them down. When Tom departed for 37 suddenly the noise started again. But between Will Herbert and Dan any hopes for the opposition of taking the points drifted away. Dan ended up on a magnificent 70 not out from 48 overs and Will finished on 19 not out.
It was very satisfying to take more points from the game than the opposition and it was also pleasing that the batsmen bailed the bowlers out on a poor day, when too often the batsmen have let the bowlers down.
Saturday July 1 – Northwood II 184 for 9 beat Cockfosters 146 all out by 38 runs
The 2s travelled to Northwood in reasonable spirits after a couple of encouraging performances on the bounce. Stand-in skipper Tom Simmons lost the toss and was asked to bowl first on a warm day with a reasonable looking pitch.
Assad Shabbir and John Worley bowled superbly up front, keeping the run rate down. The pressure eventually told when the opening batsmen took an ill-advised single to point, where in-form youngster Chris Holmes pounced to throw the stumps down with just one to aim at. A couple of quick wickets followed, one apiece for Assad and John, meaning the hosts were 30-3. The remaining opener and the number 5 then built a bit of a partnership before John struck again, bowling the aggressive number 5 for 35 runs. John finished with superb figures of 15 overs 2-38.
At the fall of the 4th wicket, Ravi Solanki entered the attack to replace Assad and continued his form from previous weeks. He bowled superbly with youngster Will Herbert to restrict the opposition further. Will removed the opener and Ravi quickly followed to remove the number 6.
A small partnership then developed but the score never got away from Cockfosters with Will and Ravi bowling with control. Will finished his first spell of the season with figures of 7 overs 1-13. Assad came back to replace Will and bowled his usual fast and full spell which tail-enders find so difficult. He picked up three further wickets to finish with figures of 12 overs 4-43. Ravi Solanki, arguably the pick of the bowlers finished with figures of 15 overs 1-52. The last wicket evaded Cockfosters but the visitors finished on 184-9, a total that felt very gettable.
Cockfosters got off to the worst possible start in response, losing openers Tom Simmons and Harry White cheaply. Again, Chris Holmes and Andy Stokes batted excellently and built a solid partnership to lay the foundation for the chase. When Andy Stokes fell for 31, the 2s familiar batting frailties returned and a succession of wickets were lost. Only Assad offered any kind of resistance alongside Chris. Chris scored his 4th 50 of the season but fell shortly afterwards. With Chris’ wicket any hopes Cockfosters had of winning the game disappeared.
It was another disappointing performance from the batsmen who didn’t back their bowlers. A second win of the season still proving elusive for the 2s.
Saturday June 24 – Old Camdenians 239 all out drew with Cockfosters 209 for 6
After a much improved performance the week before, the 2’s were looking to build on that momentum and grab their second win of the season. Captain Shag won the toss and elected to bowl first, a decision that looked to be inspired when Old Camdenians fell to 28-3 after great opening spells from Alex Callan and Assad Shabbir.
Saturday June 17 – Cockfosters 218 all out drew with Redbourn II 185 for 8
We arrived at Redbourn and Shag proceeded to win the toss, electing to bat first. Harry White – who has been asking to open all year – was given his chance alongside regular opener Dan Stead due to Tom Simmons’ absence. Unfortunately it wasn’t his day with the bat and he departed quite swiftly for 0. This brought Chris Holmes to the crease and he was soon joined by Andy Stokes after Dan was caught at 1st slip at the second attempt.
Chris started off by playing some lovely shots until he got a leading edge and was duly caught. Rich Jones was the new man in and he and Stokesy began the repair job (you are only ever 1 wicket away from a collapse in this side…) with both playing some lovely shots, with Rich finally using a bat that wasn’t older than him and getting rewarded for it. Rich played a loose shot to get out and this brought Shag to the crease. He helped Andy get to 100 (for 2 – dropped on 0 and 38) but then Andy decided the heat was too much and got out. Dom Williams and Alex Callan came and went and then Shag decided that since he wasn’t going to score the most runs in the innings (not enough overs for him to get 101!) he might as well be the top wicket taker for Redbourn and managed to run out the last 3 batsmen (Assad Shabbir, John Worley and Ravi Solanki), although Shag himself blamed Assad for that dismissal. The innings ended on 218, with Shag literally running out of partners on 29*.
After a lovely tea we took the field and it felt like the temperature had risen significantly. John Worley and Alex Callan shared the new ball but came across 2 openers looking to score runs quickly. Pretty soon Shag turned to Andy Stokes and Ravi Solanki, neither being able to make a breakthrough and the side looking worried as the partnership passed 50 and was nearing 100. After the first drinks break Shag decided to mix things up again by introducing Chris Holmes and Assad Shabbir into the attack. While Chris went for a few, Assad was bowling his best spell for Cockfosters taking 2 in 2 balls to remove one opener and the number 3. Chris was removed from the attack and Harry White came on to bowl his gentle off breaks and he was unlucky to have the other opener dropped on 70-odd (he proceeded to make 100) by Dom Williams.
Meanwhile at the other end Assad was bowling a good line and length and kept on taking wickets. After the 2nd drinks break Assad (who had troubled every batsmen that faced him) continued to bowl at one end whilst Alex Callan came back into the attack at the other to pick up 2 quick wickets. This brought the Redbourn 9 and 10 together and they proceed to shut up shop and play for the draw. Assad bowled out with figures of 6 for 39 and Alex Calaen can be happy with his second spell which brought him 2 wickets
All in all it was a great turnaround after last week and good to see more players enjoying playing than previously. I would say there were 2 points in the game where we could have folded, firstly after Chris Holmes got out and secondly when Redbourn got off to a flying start. However we stuck with it and managed to come away with a good draw. Old Camdenians visit Chalk Lane next week and we will be looking to take another step forward this season and come away with 30 points.
This reporter’s MOM: Assad Shabbir, with Andy Stokes being a close second.
Saturday May 6th – Rickmansworth 200 all out lost to Cockfosters 203 for 2 by 8 wickets – report from Tom Simmons
The 2’s began the season at The Lane, against recently relegated Rickmansworth, with a strong looking side on paper. The skipper lost the toss and Rickmansworth elected to bat first – not a huge disappointment as Shag rather fancied chasing anyway.
Veteran John Worley and debutant Assad Shabir opened the bowling – the skipper’s words that the whole side could be dropped next week still ringing in their ears. A steady start from the opening batsmen was brought to an end after the first bowling change – Nikhil Patel taking the first wicket of the season in an otherwise forgettable over. Three wickets from Ben Howell soon followed before the batsmen settled and a useful partnership that threatened to take the game away from Fosters developed. At drinks Andy ‘Doris’ Stokes swapped the gloves with Chris Holmes and soon began to exert some pressure with the ball in partnership with Ravi Solanki from the other end. Wickets fell at regular intervals – Doris taking a couple and Ravi ending up with three wickets including the crucial wicket of the Rickmansworth youngster who was hitting the ball to all corners of the ground. Assad came back to take the final wicket and leave the opposition 200 all out from 42.3 overs.
With the way the pitch had played, 200 was probably a little under par and Shag left the field delighted with the end result and confident that with some sensible batting, the first victory of the season was in sight.
Tom Simmons and Dan Stead got off to an unspectacular but solid start, seeing off the new ball and laying the foundation for the other batsmen to come. When Tom departed for 22, Cockfosters were around 60-1. Youngster Chris Holmes came to the crease and took his time to settle in whilst Dan began to start playing his shots. Dan then fell for a well-made 38 at which point Chris started to kick on, allowing the new man Doris to take his time to get going. As Doris settled you could see the opposition fielders’ heads drop as he inevitably upped his scoring rate. The two Fosters batsmen barely give them a sniff and in the end hauled in the target very comfortably. Chris ended up 62 not out and Andy hit the winning runs whilst also bringing up his 50.
The skipper was delighted with the all-round performance, particularly with the value that the batsmen placed on their wickets. A great start to the season and a superb man of the match performance from Chris Holmes who, along with Doris Stokes, bowled, kept wicket and scored a 50.
Bring on next week!