Wildlife supremo reels in Armstrong, but Thirds can’t catch a thing
Camden (6pts) 130-7 lost to Telugu Association of Cambridge (20pts) 307-7 by 177 runs
With Redders on domestic duty, the task of captaining the Thirds against second-placed TAC was passed to Sutton. On winning the toss, the stand-in skipper had no hesitation in opting to bowl first – despite being one of only four Camden players to have made it to Queens’. “Nothing like chasing 300 with 4 batsmen,” said Hodsdon – a couple of days prior to the match, when Sutton had stated his intentions to bowl first. Boris Johnson’s WhatsApp messages remain out of reach of the Covid inquiry, but your correspondent had no such trouble accessing the Camden group chat. By the time Tarun kicked things off from the Barton Road end, the home side had eleven who could bat – and the bowlers and conditions to give them every chance of chasing nothing like 300. Every chance. And there were many.
With TAC having raced to 158-0 after twenty-one overs, the burly Marlburian stumper’s words looked prescient. But Sutton had yet to turn to Baker. The wildlife supremo’s “oh, no” as he let go of his first ball soon turned to sheepish celebrations as the ball ended up in Vish’s hands at deep square leg. A wicket maiden. Just like that, the game had changed. Catches could be taken. Two more followed, as Farid took a smart one off the bowling of the hitherto desperately unlucky Karan, and Sutton held a stinger off Baker to remove the visiting opener for a brutal 109. Two new batsmen at the crease, but not for long – Karan bowling one, and Baker getting the other LBW. A third wicket for Baker (3-42), and a record-breaking one – a 230th wicket for the Thirds, taking him past fellow left-armer Alec Armstrong into number one on the all-time list. Four wickets in as many overs had reduced TAC to 185-5, but Karan (2-53) was bowled out. On another day, ‘Deadly’ Derekar could have had a five-for to his name. Spin was definitely the way to go, even if it meant Sutton’s occasional offies. Maybe not for three overs, however. Not when TAC were back on the attack. Krishna (1-65) picked up a much-deserved wicket, and there was a run out in the final over – but the visitors had plundered 108 in the last ten overs. 307-7 was harsh on Camden’s bowlers, who had created a fortnight’s worth of chances.
The batsmen would need a fortnight’s worth of runs. A miracle, in other words. Full of cake – if not hope – Sutton and Robinson could add only ten in the first five overs, before the ex-former-ex-all-rounder dragged one on for 5. Sutton appeared to be in good form, reaching 22 from twenty-nine balls. But a mix-up with Saurav led to the bearded opener being run out, crowning a forgettable day in charge. Saurav (25), Adil (11), and Vish (26) all made starts, but in the end it really was nothing like chasing 300. It was more like chasing 120, and a sixth bonus point was secured when Farid (4) found the extra-cover boundary in the thirty-eighth over. The Thirds finished up on 130-7, with Hodders red inking 21.
A 177 run defeat, then – the third-heaviest (by runs) in Thirds history. If it felt similar to the Needingworth match, at least it wasn’t a third consecutive groundhog day for the Thirds. And, in time, this match will be remembered for Baker the record breaker.
Man of the Match: Martin Baker