Match Report - City Invitational Cup 31 May 2017
By Edward Haines
Simon Jones leads City Select XI (HAC CC) to last ball victory
For the second year running the HAC Cricket Club rebranded itself as the City Select XI under the leadership of 2005 Ashes hero Simon Jones for the City Invitational Cup. We faced up against a powerful ABF The Soldiers’ Charity XI led by Mark Ramprakash, England batting coach with 114 first class hundreds to his name, and 4 players from the Army cricket team for a 20/20 fixture held on a beautiful day in the Artillery Gardens. The toss done, we found ourselves with the task of restricting the opposition first up before the chase.
As Ed Davidson opened up the bowling it quickly became apparent that their innings would be rather 2 paced switching between the Army superstars and mere mortals rotating the strike at the other end. Ross and Govender (28 from 8 and ABF Man of the Match) blasted their way to retirement at 25. Wickets were hard to come by but the bowling unit largely kept things in check with Adi Nayar, Aniket Das, Saurav Sen and Parry all going for less than 7 an over and Liam Casey kept things tidy behind the stumps picking up a catch and a run out. With the first wicket falling at 105, it was then that the stars of the show took over. Predictably, Jones only conceded 6 off his 2 overs picking up the caught behind. Santosh Heranjal particularly impressed his captain with his aggressive fields and ended with 3-0-14-1 and Neil Runkel (3-0-11-1) completed the act silencing a watchful Ramprakash in what was supposed to be the last over thrash. Still the ABF XI posted 135, a par score for those of us without the benefit of IPL bats and shortened boundaries.
The HAC innings took rather a different course. The two Seans (Chief Executive and Parry) were trapped early on by fast bowler Ollerenshaw who finished with 4-0-12-3. Casey and Das made it to double figures, but at 37-4 we were tottering. Ed Haines dug in and punctuated the effort with the occasional boundary, whilst Nayar (26 off 11 balls) timed the ball beautifully over midwicket to relieve the pressure. After their retirements another flurry of wickets set us back to 90-6, as Banerjee (another sometime HAC player) made his way to picking up 3 scalps. Captain Jones came in and addressed the run rate with the long handle – one six sailing over the MT trucks – before missing a straight one. Last man Runkel was out with 16 still required and Haines (28no and Select XI Man of the Match) returned to the fray with some brisk running to keep Sen company just as he was beginning to find his range. 9 still remained to be found as the final over started as the ABF team tightened the screw, but Saurav proved up to the task striking the final ball to the boundary and taking his total to 21no and the team to 139 for 8.
The day was completed with a splendid dinner in the Prince Consort Room replete with auction and raffle, amusing anecdotes from England players and a moving speech from Al Hodgson, amputee skydiver and ABF beneficiary and ambassador.