We embarked on the beginning of the carousel of matches in the South East Cup with a short journey of 18 minutes to Richmond Cricket Ground for a double header weekend with a 50 over and T20 over match. Driving via the A316, we opted not to book a hotel and instead played golf at the Royal Mid Surrey Golf Club on the Friday with some of the lads also entertaining us in some tennis doubles match at Richmond lawn -its fair to say, cricket was not our main focus in the build up to the match.
As early morning rain converted our match to an old school 40 – 40, Richmond exploited the flat conditions and attacked opening bowlers Ashton Kenny and John Barker. Bizarrely, my part time leg spin was required in the opening powerplay and yielded 18 from 3 overs. Despite my relatively tight bowling, I was not needed again and the runs kept piling on. Harry Koch led the way with some audacious and inventive shots on his way to a huge score. Tristan Hunter (0-60 from 6) and Lars Bender (0-51 from 5) had a shocker of a time from Koch’s master knock. Barker halted the progressing threat of an opening stand beating 250 with two wickets including Jax Roy (63). However, Koch motored on and reached 200 with a stunning scoop shot ending the innings on a ominous 302-3 in 40 overs.
Whites in a white ball match – not what I selected.
Chasing an imposing 7.5 runs an over, we stumbled to 78-3 where I joined the crease alongside captain Jace Young. Young has batted fluently and continued in that merry way as I aimed to translate my 3 day early batting form into the limited overs games. I planned to score my runs at a quick rate and did so with a gorgeous cover drive for 4 off my second delivery. However, Ian Warwick struck! Warwick (3-45 from 7) had removed the set opening pair of Carter Flynn (34) and Lucas Lawson (26) and added my wicket bowling me around my legs from a conventional sweep. I played a high risk shot from my 6th ball to ease the pressure on the partnership and the team and it didn’t pay off. In hindsight my 7 from 6 was not what we needed and I had to stick around and anchor the unlikely run chase.
Following another wicket leaving us at 105-5, wicketkeeper Hayden Mildenhall came to the crease and brought some fireworks! Mildenhall and Young (81) complied a mammoth 152 run partnership which gave us a small shot at victory. However Young’s departure in the 37th over effectively ended our chances and sparked a huge collapse to 261-9. Mildenhall (112NO from 66) though thumped 27 runs from the final over to complete a sensational century in a losing cause by 14 runs. In an incredible run scoring game, we were unfortunate to end up on the losing side despite Koch’s 202NO as Mildenhall played an equally brilliant knock. I was personally disappointed with my short knock and would look to make amends in the T20 the following day.
Richmond 302-3 from 40 overs (Koch 202*, Roy 63/ Barker 2-63 Kenny 1-56)
Twickenham 288-9 from 40 overs (Mildenhall 112*, Young 81/ Deli 4-43 Warwick 3-45)
Richmond won by 14 runs MOM: Harry Koch
After scoring the winning goal in the football warm up, captain Young gave batsman Gael Dunkley his debut and elected to bat first. Lawson (7) was bowled early by Yearwood but early indications were that this pitch was a belter for batting much like the 40 over contest. Opening partner Flynn (49) fell agonisingly short of a half ton whilst Young accelerated our total alongside debutant Dunkley. Dunkley played an anchor role in the innings scoring a productive 35NO from 31, allowing captain Young to play expansively and expressively too good outcome! Twickenham scored 45 from the final 4 overs to propel us to 179-2 and give Richmond a tricky 180 run chase. Mildenhall and I were not needed to provide fireworks and felt that personally my leg spin would come in handy if we were to defend this total.
Harry Koch, fresh off his outstanding 202NO the previous day, started in similar blistering form but lacked support from the rest of the top 4 as we took wickets to halt their progress to 82-3 with 12 overs to go. Koch and Flynn Milne though began a crucial partnership and brought the game away from us with attacking and entertaining batting. Milne (52* from 31) played the more aggressive role as Koch continued to pile misery on our bowling attack becoming a thorn in our side. I came on to bowl at the 16th over and provided some late tense pressure with just the 8 runs coming from my 2 overs at the death. However, despite bringing it down to the last three balls, Richmond saw themselves home as Koch (85* from 48) hit the winning runs to seal a double header win for the home side!
Not getting a bat in the T20 match might have been a blessing in disguise as we head back into the 3 day format which is my preferred run scoring source. I am enjoying career mode in Middlesex and hope to find some of the new features on Cricket 19 including headlines and sponsorships!
Keep following the blog to see Cricket 19 career mode updates and an incoming report from our first Eastern Hemisphere Test League match.