Having put themselves in a strong position to chase down Woodside Green’s imposing score of 261, Crusaders suffered a disappointing reverse when the lower order failed capitalise on a magnificent maiden century from Goldie.
With Wajih deciding to opt out, team management was left to Spud, with Chand, IPL and The Rock replacing The Skip, Harry and Pommie; pretty much like for like substitutes.
On a very dry, green pitch Spud called correctly – that was about as good as it got - and conscious of his slightly weak side opted to field. As in previous weeks the scoreboard rattled along aided more by our wayward bowling and poor fielding than any batting craft. Shakil got the early breakthrough, with Spud pouching a catch low at slip to remove Hasler for 5 and Riyad regularly beat the bat without reward. Woodside Green built up a steady head of steam through a good partnership between Cowles and Shellard, but it was the arrival of Naraine that really ignited the innings. From a fairly circumspect beginning he was soon punishing anything short – and there was plenty – racing to an unbeaten 130. With the last ten overs disappearing for over a hundred runs, the chase was always going to be a tall order.
Chand and Jagdesh immediately signalled their intentions, with Chand hooking and cutting boundaries in the first over and Jagdesh also finding the boundary twice. Unfortunately neither managed to occupy the crease for anywhere near the time that was necessary for us to mount a serious pursuit of the target.
The middle order marshalled superbly by Goldie, continued to take the Woodside Green attack to task, with Shakil (29) and Johnny G (24) making quick runs to keep us up with the asking rate. Goldie reached a maiden century, having scored his runs all around the ground but reliant particularly on a curious paddle sweep; his occupation was ended LBW to the ‘Finger of Fate’ delivered by Chand.
Requiring 54 to win from 10 overs, Crusaders capitulated, losing their last six wickets for 23 runs to finish 31 runs shy of the target. With a little application the result could have been different, but with 491 runs scored in the day there was little doubting the entertainment value.