Newdigate 150-6 (Rahmanzai 2-15, A Zaib 2-15)
Jesters CC 154-3 (A Zaib 55, Harrison 43*)
Jesters won by 7 wickets
It was a dominant team performance on a sunny and pleasantly warm bank holiday Sunday - early summer had finally arrived after the last two fixtures were cancelled due to rain. Tom Bell paints the picture of the day...
Making his captaincy debut in a Jesters shirt, Tom Bell elected to field on a track with plenty of grass. Opening down the hill, debutant Hashmat Rahmanzai, who had enthusiastically jumped at the chance to open the bowling, found good pace and rhythm in a tight spell that included two wickets in two balls when the score was 17. Following one over of trundle up the hill from Captain Bell (who was merely giving Dan time to get onto the pitch after he was caught in bank-holiday traffic), Dan Hayes bowled 8 economical overs on the trot and was unlucky not to take a wicket or two after beating the bat on several occasions.
The Jesters didn’t let up after this early pressure, with Newdigate finding themselves 75-3 after 30 overs before accelerating admirably in the last 10 to read 150 for 6 off the allotted 40 overs. Bowling in the middle overs and at the death, Aashir Zaib returned fantastic figures of 2-15 from his 8 overs. All told, it was a disciplined fielding performance from the Jesters on a ground with a short boundary on one side. Particular mention should go to Max Winchester who completed two majestic runouts on debut, one of which was a direct hit from the deep point boundary after the batters attempted an unwise second.
Jesters made a rapid start to their reply, reaching 74-1 after only 6 overs. This was mainly thanks to Aashir Zaib’s exhilarating 55 (9x4, 3x6, 1x1) at the top of the order, a truly dominant innings that included shots all around the ground. After Zaib departed in the 7th, the innings was anchored by Rob Harrison, who hit a composed and elegant 43 not out. Contributions were also made by Sajid Zaib (25), who hit two towering sixes over mid-wicket, and wicketkeeper Achal Varma (16 not out).
The early finish- it took just 17 overs to knock off the runs - allowed the two teams to mingle in the late afternoon sun with drinks from the Newdigate bar, a real treat in these strange times. Just as pleasing as recording the Jesters’ first win of the season was that it was a team performance, with everyone contributing with bat or ball or in the field.
Jesters XI: Aashir Zaib, Max Winchester, Rob Harrison, Sajid Zaib, Achal Varma (wk), Eisa Khan, DJ Chak, Hashmat Rahmanzai, Karan Talwar, Dan Hayes, Tom Bell (c).