London V Metro

London Sports V Metro Sports BCEW / Nemesys League

Saturday 12th July 2008

Metro and London Sports met on an overcast day in East London with all to play for in the BCEW / Nemesys league, Metro having lost points to South Wales Dragons and Sussex, and London still smarting from a defeat by Northamptonshire.

London won the toss and elected to field, to try and put pressure on the Metro batsmen as they had done in the cup at Highgate. London had their strongest team out without Danny Smith, while Metro were missing key players in David Tonwley and Adam Benjamin from the team that made the cup final, but still had 5 international players to call on.

London were rewarded with early success, when Haq Ismail had Matt Dean caught by Fiaz Iqbal close in by with the third ball of the match. This was a big wicket but was not followed up, as Rory Field (24) and Amit Amin (30) played sensibly to build the Metro innings. Amit especially looked in control, and having scored 3 boundaries it was a surprise when he was trapped LBW by Charles Ronayne.

Heindrich Swanepoel came in, and despite a couple of early scares he looked in good touch, and carried his partnership with Field to the 15th over, when Field was caught off the bowling of Shakir Iqbal Snr. This wicket proved to be the major one, as Heindrich was clean bowled soon after, playing on from a fast yorker from Shah Miah and the damage was done for Metro.

Despite a good innings from Bryn Reynolds, many of the Metro lower order fell cheaply, and London would have felt hopeful of chasing a target of 146 in 32 overs. The rain had held off for the London innings, but the clouds were starting to gather by the time the Metro innings started, which would make things difficult for the fielding team. Four of the London bowlers shared the wickets with 2 each, while Amit and Heindrich were the pick of the Metro batsmen, though both were unable to make a big score.

The London innings started badly with Fiaz Iqbal, promoted following two good scores in the league, falling without troubling the scorers. However, Andy Whipp and Chetan Davdra had no such problems as they forged an 80-run partnership with several lofted boundaries before Whipp was caught skying a catch with the score on 80.

Shakir Iqbal came to the crease and he and Chet saw London through the return of Heindrich and Rory in the 16th over. Ever conscious of the varying conditions, which had gone from sunlight to drizzle and rain to sunlight again in a matter of minutes, they started to push the score along and look to play over the infield, which meant an increased number of chances, which Metro were unfortunate not to take any catches from.

The next wicket fell at 150, with Chet playing one high shot too many and being caught off the bowling of Swanepoel, shortly after a sharp catch off Iqbal had been put down. London still looked to be favourites and despite Shah Miah departing for 0, Haq Ismail was able to finish the job, with two lofted 4s through the off-side to give London a well-deserved victory, and a realistic chance of a top 2 finish before the league splits in August, while Metro were left to rue what-might-have-been if only their cup team had matched their teams in the league.

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