After last week’s victory the Mac Coaches were chuffed . After this result against NPL in the cup, they were Cock-a-Hoop . A great team performance against a good side has put HHCC into the semi-final against either Indian Gymkhana or Teddington.
A fierce, chilly wind made for difficult conditions, not least for the supporters and especially the scorer, Rob, whose hands were shaking as he noted the runs, but the team were undeterred. Skipper Sam had the boys doing fielding drills before the match and this was to pay dividends.
Sam lost the toss, but was happy that NPL decided to bat. Adam Mackinney opened the bowling alongside Archie Knight and both bowled good tight spells. Adam picked up a wicket with an absolute pearler, swinging in to the batsman, pitching and cutting away, hitting off stump (his Dad must be a great bowler). Archie was unfortunate not to pick up a deserved wicket as the ball kept eluding the fielders. Will Aust and Louis “Hoppy” McCartney came on to bowl and both bowled well, with Will picking up his customary wicket. A couple of wides and a four meant his figures did not represent how well he bowled. Louis was much tighter with only 5 coming from his 2 overs.
Debutant Will Hulatt was next to bowl and despite some early nerves, managed to bowl a decent line and length and was unlucky that the NPL skipper was in good form punishing any wayward deliveries. Jamie Hillier also felt the force of his bat, but managed to pick up a wicket in his 2 overs, but NPL had advanced to 68-3 off 12 overs.
Alex Bush was known to the opposition through his rugby contacts and probably tried a bit too hard with his bowling, a couple of wides and some balls that were dispatched by the boundary. Sam brought himself on and was his usual tidy self, picking up 1 wicket for 5 runs in his three overs. Ryan Exworth was the last bowler to be used and again bowled well when focussing on line and length and did well to tie the batsmen down when they were trying to attack. Adam bowled the last over without any more success and the innings closed on 112-4, with their skipper unbeaten on 39. On a small outfield, that was a fine effort by the bowlers and more than backed up by some great fielding by everyone (even if they occasionally moved from their positions, Ryan, Will x 2!!). There were a couple of fine attempts at run outs that were only a whisker from hitting the stumps. Owen was again very tidy behind the stumps, with a couple of dodgy bounces off the edge of the AstroTurf to blame for most of the byes. He was more successful at stopping the ball than his father James, who managed to bruise his shin trying to field a boundary. No long barrier!!
Alex and Freddie Blair opened the batting and had to face some very tidy bowling from the openers, but the coaching was starting to show and they started to run some singles, with good calling. Then Freddie was on the end of another fine delivery and was bowled for 1. At the moment Freddie’s totals are not doing justice to the way he is playing, but his time will come and he will get a big score.
Sam came in at 3 and promptly dispatched his first ball for 6. He continued in the rich vein he showed in the previous game, hitting the bad balls to the boundary. One cover drive was an exquisite piece of timing that had umpires and supporters alike purring. Alex was now gaining in confidence and the calling and running between the wickets ensured that the score kept ticking over. Although not hitting the boundaries that Sam did, Alex was anchoring the innings and it was unfortunate that most of his attacking shots went straight to the fielders.
As the bowlers were rotated, Sam and Alex continued to pick off singles, run byes and hit the bad ball to the ropes and it was no surprise to anyone that Sam reached an excellent half-century with a fine shot to the square leg boundary. This meant that he had to retire with just 12 runs required off 4 overs. Ryan came to the crease and promptly got off the mark with a push through mid-wicket. A couple more well worked singles meant that 9 were needed off 3 overs. NPL brought their opening bowlers back and a good tight over was putting the pressure back on HHCC until a couple of quick singles, one off a wide, meant that the target was reduced to 5. Four byes brought the scores level and fittingly enough it was Alex who scored the winning run with a nudge into the leg side.
Alex grew in confidence during his innings and ended up unbeaten on 14, but as with Freddie, the number of runs belies the importance of the innings to the match.
Sam again led from the front, with his tight bowling and his 50,but this was definitely a team performance, with every player playing their part in a wonderful win.
The semi-final opposition will be a step up for the boys, but the coaches are confident that they will do the club and themselves proud whoever the play.
Next up though is Staines & Laleham in the League and it will provide an opportunity for some guys to finally get in the middle and show everyone their batting prowess.
Well done boys, another brilliant effort rewarded with a superb win.