Five for Adnan but chase peters out at Bishop's Stortford
Bishop's Stortford 195 all out (Mohammed 5-53, Khanna 3-26)
Jesters CC 157 all out (Chak 36)
Lost by 38 runs
We lost the toss on a hot and steamy afternoon at Bishop's Stortford. As always, the bar and club benches were teeming with life as 10 Jesters took the field, one straggler had somehow managed to miss various communiqués and flown to Italy.
The Stortford openers - including former Sri Lanka A batsman Jaya Fernando - rode their luck, playing and missing regularly against the two former Jesus College (Cambridge) skippers who opened up for us, a Jesters first! Dan Webster and Matt Griffiths both bowled an excellent line with decent carry and were extremely unlucky to go wicketless (Dan 7-0-20-0 & Matt 8-2-31-0).
It took the introduction of Adnan Mohammed and DJ Chak (2-26 off 6 overs) to break the deadlock. DJ removed the dangerous Murray Davidson with an absolute pearler that swung in, moved away off the pitch and tickled the off stump. But with a man short it was hard to keep Stortford in check on a big outfield and they were still cruising to a sizeable total at 169-3.
However, with Adnan now bowling in tandem with debutant Adi Khanna, the tide turned dramatically. Stumps and pads were rattled with regularity and the home side lost their last seven wickets for 28 runs, subsiding in the 46th over. Adnan finished with 5-53 off his 16 overs and Adi with 3-26 off 6.3.
We had never suffered defeat in this fixture, despite some very very close contests down the years, so we approached the chase with confidence and a deep batting line-up. Mike Palmer played a memorable lofted off-drive in just the second over for a one-bounce four. He was devastated to slice a full bunged pie to point for a 12 that promised much more. Sarbajeet Nag had creamed one of his dreamy cover drives to the fence before looking equally elegant having his middle pole uprooted by young quick Joe de Souza (see picture above, a thing of absolute beauty!).
'Pinch hitter' Mohammed dashed in and out and home to his dog and Louis Harris was trapped in front by the other opener, Olly Cremintz, who was hooping the ball extravagantly into the right handers.
If we were hoping for respite it did not come in the form of young leg spinner Mays, who set about our middle order, constantly challenging the batsmen with some prodigious turn and bounce. At 98-6, we looked down and out but battling partnerships between Chak (36) and Ollie Doward (20) and then Ollie and Dan Webster (21) got us to 150-7 before Mays teased DJ into a big hit that didn't clear deep mid-on and later snared Ollie with a wrong 'un. Dan, who had swept brilliantly to counter the talented leggie, was last to fall in the 39th over, with nine overs of the final hour left. Mays just failed to pip Adnan to best figures of the match with his inspired 5-54.
Despite the defeat, it was a great day as always at a wonderful venue and we were well looked after in the bar afterwards, so thanks go to BSCC skipper Grahame Smith for another cracking fixture. Long may it continue.
Jesters X: Doward (c), Nag (wk), Palmer, Mohammed, L Harris, Chak, Griffiths, Wilkinson, Webster, Khanna.