TAC ATTACK, THIRDS LACK
Camden take 2000th wicket – and second place
Telugu Association of Cambridge (20pts) 136-3 beat Camden (4pts) 134-9 by six wickets
Another week, another trip to a newly-promoted team. The sun was shining at Quy, home of TAC, and the gloom appeared – initially, at least – to have cleared for Camden. Sutton tucked the first ball behind square for a single. The first ball of the second over saw Redders go five better – a gentle full toss slapped over long-off into the trees. The opening pair continued in their contrasting ways, taking the score to a respectable 48-0 after ten overs. Another fifty-run stand for the first wicket looked inevitable, and the prospect of the Thirds posting a decent total didn’t seem too fanciful. But this is Camden.
What followed couldn’t really be described as a collapse. It lacked the speed and drama of the previous week’s capitulation, but – in its own way – limping to a final score of 134-9 was every bit as disappointing. In the aftermath of the Warboys defeat, Sutton would have wrestled with the pride of doing his bit and the shame of that bit not being good enough. Here, with the score having advanced to 49-1, the bearded opener would only have the shame of playing all round a straight one – bowled for 9. With Robinson (7) for company, Redders (53) brought up a fine half century – the Syndicate men adding twenty-seven before both fell in consecutive overs. They were the first of five wickets to fall in a twelve-over spell that yielded just twenty runs. The other three victims were Harrison (2), edging to slip, Prathyush (1), misjudging a leave, and – in a first Thirds appearance since that achilles injury – Justin Lee (5), bowled by some mystery spin. If any good had come from last week’s defeat, perhaps it was Krishna being inspired to attend nets. The Bulusu upgrade batted nicely for his 19, but couldn’t keep out an in-swinger from the home side’s hulking left-armer. Adil kept out the next ball, but only by being plumb LBW. That left Rizwan to survive the hat-trick ball, jabbing down on another yorker. 117-8, then, and on the WhatsApp chat Kelsall was “hoping to hear this is a devilish pitch and 130ish will be hard to chase.”
A ninth-wicket stand of seventeen between Vish (19*) and Rizwan (3) had scrambled Camden to a total of 134, and when the pair then accounted for two wickets inside the first four overs of the reply, it looked like the absent seamer might just get his wish. But the early inroads made were not down to any demons in the pitch. Instead it was skill that saw one opener LBW to Vish (1-33) and the other edging Rizwan (1-25) behind, where Harrison – standing up to the left-arm seamer – took a smart first catch as wicket keeper for the Thirds. Later, Redders was to admit that he’d forgotten another notable statistic – that Vish had the honour of having taken the 2000th wicket in the storied history of the Thirds. By the time the skipper had remembered, however, it came as little consolation. A brutal 110-run stand for the third wicket had seen to that. Not even Karan escaped punishment, and Adil’s day didn’t get any better with ball in hand. Krishna (1-18) picked up the 2002nd Thirds wicket, but when he was deposited into the trees, Telugu had raced to victory by the end of the twenty-first over.
With a pint in one hand and his files of stats in the other, Captain Redders didn’t seem overly concerned that his third season in command looked like being another attempt at avoiding relegation. After all, the stats were up to date and the skipper had accrued some fairly decent personal ones to add. It was left to Duncan Gibson, on WhatsApp from faraway New Zealand, to offer the novel advice of trying to score some more runs. If only the Camden lads had thought of that.
Man of the Match: Andrew Redfern