Relegation sealed at Sutton
Sutton (20pts) 168-2 beat Camden (5pts) 164 by 8 wickets
Those who dared to dream that the great escape was still on were disappointed to hear that the Thirds had again failed to muster eleven players. Put into bat, the disappointment didn’t stop there. Redders (1) was trapped leg before by one that kept low. Variable bounce and variable luck. The beleaguered skipper had just seen Will Sutton edge a lifting delivery between wicket-keeper and first slip. Robinson (4) missed a straight one, and the Thirds were in trouble at 11-2. Trouble averted, it appeared, while Will and Sourav were together. The bearded opener went past 400 runs for the season, while Saurav put forward a strong case for being a regular for the Thirds. The pair guided the visitors to a respectable 87-2 at drinks, but a stand of 76 ended when Sourav (33) was out to the first ball after the break. Will (35), missing a straight one, didn’t last much longer. Krishna (14) and President Mitchell added an enterprising 30 for the fifth wicket, but the dismissal of the Bulusu upgrade sparked a collapse. Ritish and Farid fell without scoring, and 119-4 had fizzled to 120-7. Regular readers might remember that, in two previous appearances this year, Mitchell had yet to add to his tally of 4034 runs for the Thirds. The erstwhile portly run machine avoided another TFC by scoring an idiosyncratic 29, helping the visitors to 150. Karan (22*) provided some fireworks at the end of the innings, with two imperious straight sixes, but when Tarun fell without scoring, the Thirds were all out for 164.
As omens go, wicket-keeper Mitchell dropping his box into the toilet wasn’t the best. The reply began in similar fashion, with the Sutton openers hitting Tarun and Farid to all parts. Leg-spinners Krishna (1-22) and Ritish (1-41) each claimed a wicket, but the home side romped home in the twenty-first over – the winning runs hit into the trees. An emphatic end to an emphatic eight-wicket defeat. Beaten by the better team, as so often this season. Better batsmen, better bowlers, better fielders. Better athletes – although that might not have been the case here, where Camden were beaten by the bigger team. Sutton’s top four weighed as much as all ten of a Thirds side that had, according to Captain Redfern, “too many noodle-armed choirboys.” Not enough cake, clearly.
Relegation it is, then. And there can be few complaints. The league table doesn’t lie, and this latest defeat – an eleventh of the year – felt depressingly inevitable. Better news from Eversden, though, where the Second XI had not only fulfilled the fixture – they had pulled off a remarkable win. The great escape might just still be on. For the Thirds, it might just have been achieved. Back to the shallower waters of Junior 2, where Captain Redfern’s men can look forward to the chance of competing more often next year.
Man of the Match: No Award