OEs get off the canvas to win vs league leaders
Charlie Busby - 60, 1-13
Saqlan Ahmed - 4-12
As with the two weekends prior to Saturday 5th August, there was once again a severe threat of rain down at Gypsy Lane.
OEs were to play host to league leaders and fellow 2016 promoted team Berkhamsted in what turned out to be a contender for game of the season!
With rain in the air at 1pm, and a pitch which had already been exposed to the elements, the only wise decision was to win the toss and bowl. Unfortunately OEs were on the losing end of what threatened to be a very decisive toss.
Kappa and Tush took to the middle, but unfortunately could not negotiate overseas bowler Haydn Greener's first over as we were quickly 0-1. Following this there was a quick procession of wickets from both ends. Pricey, Fitzy and Nav showed glimpses of batting promise but were all undone by either great bowling or fantastic catching. At 45-9, OEs were very much on the ropes and being given the standing 8 count. Players were beginning to make plans for the rest of the afternoon (having a net was probably top of the to do list!).
It was at this point the game turned. Charlie Busby and Club Captain Saqlan Ahmed put together what was to be a wonderful, match turning, 73 run partnership. Busby particularly brutal on anything off line or too full as he dispatched the ball to the boundary with embarrassing ease as the rest of the boys looked on. Busby finishing on 60; Saqi 17*.
By the time Buzz was dismissed with the score on 118 there was a belief we could at least take some points away from this fixture and save some face.
With 6 overs to bowl before tea, the lads came out with the perfect attitude and soon both Saqi and Gomesy had managed to strike; removing both Berko openers with quality swing bowling on a pitch still offering considerable sideways movement.
Coming out after tea with the opposition 12-2, the boys showed enthusiasm and excitement which was not matching the game situation. Berko were still overwhelming favourites, but OE's were certainly not going to roll over without a fight!
Gomesy struck straight after tea, and captain Nav used himself wisely which saw 2 more wickets fall with the score in the 50s. Was there a chance?
Holland came on and got one to rag back, before a fired-up Busby returned to castle a lower middle order batsman beating him with too much pace. 60-7 with the Berko captain and the overseas at the crease it was anyone’s game. Calls for Saqi to return by the expectant fans (of which there were many due to the 3’s finishing early following a low scoring win of their own), were duly answered and with the scouts out expecting the big shot from Greener, Tush snagged a great slip catch from his first ball standing there. The ninth wicket fell soon after as 'keeper Scutt took his third catch of the innings. The finish was in sight and despite a bit of a wait as the Berko 10 and 11 put up some final resistance, Saqi finished the game as we all know he can with a brilliant inswinger to dismiss number 11 and send cheers all around Gypsy Corner - completing the most unlikely of victories by a side who had been 45-9 only a few hours earlier!
A great win, catalysed by a superb stand between Saqi Ahmed and Charlie Busby and followed by a fantastic performance with the ball and in the field, which has thrown this league wide open again. The side now look forward to moving into the final four 50 over matches which begin this week away at Cockfosters.