Crusaders paid their first visit to the picturesque village of North Stifford for a forty over fixture against Belhus. Amazingly a full eleven were ready and almost raring to go at the allotted time. Ali Raza having survived last week's extravaganza, made his debut and Jagdesh was extricated from the temple to bring us to our full compliment. Wajih called correctly and opted to see what our new opposition had to offer. Danglers and Skinny were tossed the new ball and not for the first time two batsmen looked supremely confident. Mike was metronomically accurate, while Moysey relied on Glenn McGrath's 'corridor of uncertainty theory'. Now I have watched that Aussie fellow a few times and I am yet to see him use a corridor three feet down the leg-side - I have obviously got a lot to learn. Anyway, after Darren had seen about twenty dropped/evaded chances he bowled a straight one....fairly simple methinks. Mike was replaced by Ali, who bears a remarkable resemblance to Inzaman - obviously a far slimmer version. He continued in a similar vein, taking two wickets by keeping it full and nipping the ball in to the right-handers. Belhus soon found themselves in all sorts of trouble, with Ali and Spud giving little away. Light relief was provided by Nita, who had obviously been working closely with Harmison on his newly modified action. A few lusty blows from the tail took the score to 115 before the innings was finally being curtailed by the return of Taylor, who finished up with 4-21.
It should never have been enough, but following a quick-fire 16 from Jagdesh, in typical Crusaders style we proceeded to make hard work of it. Wajih was on the wrong end of a poor looking lbw decision and Gordy fished around for an unconvincing 7. Johnny G looked compact, playing particularly fluently through the gully area for 14 and Damon, in front of the missus, must have made her wonder why he is so enthusiastic about the game. Some semblance of order was restored by Mike 20* and Nita 26*, who batted with a modicum of common sense, putting on an unbroken 54, which carried us home with nearly ten overs to spare. It's always nice when you can leave your shoelaces in your shoes.
Belhus Match Report
Belhus Sunday 2nd X1 115 all out
Crusaders 116 for 5
On an unpredictable wicket at North Stifford, Belhus were bowled out for only 115 in this low scoring match. Only Matt Clarke with 14, youth member Rob Pantelli with 16, Michael Campbell-Jones 16 and Paul Whitlock 29 not out, reached double figures. With a total that looked about 30-40 runs too few, Belhus began the quest for wickets with gusto, having Crusaders 31 for 3, then 62 for 5, before they stabilized and eased to a win with 9 overs remaining. Rob Long 2 for 18 and Whitlock 2 for 26 were the pick of the bowlers with Jim Robertson 1 for 11 also weighing in. A good friendly game played in the right spirit!