Captain fantastic saves the day
Having only played for Potters Bar for two seasons, I haven't really had an opportunity to see Cheeko's captaincy for what it was until the latter stages of Saturday's game against the Camdenians. One was wondering what all the fuss was about until the moment when single handedly, he took contol of the game from the visitors and never gave it back. That he didn't win the game with the decisive action that he took is down to the type of declaration cricket that we play and how it rewards teams who block out for draws.
Late on in the game at around the 40-over mark, it looked like Bar had let the game go despite posting an excellent 169 on a slow and low wicket, thanks largely to the 'Uzi'd up' Luke Watling. At this point the skipper started to pull the strings and with two men set back to counter the excellent straight hitting from the Camdenian's lower order, started to restrict the run rate and frustrate the visitors. This led to two wild hacks that were calmly caught in the deep by Roy Rogers and Cheeko himself, taking responsibility with bucket hands.
Cheeko forced this situation on the Camdenians after he had noticed his team becoming increasingly agitated at the assorted antics of the visitors. At a suitable juncture that your scribe cannot remember (but was no doubt a wicket from a dubious hack into the leg side) he calmly gathered his troops and told them to calm down and let the game come to them. This had a galvanising effect on the team and powered them to a 12-point draw result, with Camdenians falling 14-runs short with 2 wickets left.
He delivered his message with the gravitas of a field marshall, high on a hill overlooking his enemy, plotting their downfall. He runs games like an supersized Napolean, moving his troops around and pulling strings until he gets the desired results - that more games haven't been won under his stewardship of the 4th XI is more to do with opposition's desire to see us not get 30-points, something that I feel is becoming more prevalent in the league.
There was little to note of the Bar's batting effort apart from Luke Watling's second successive 50 in two weeks. Once again, at better than a run a ball, he smashed 64 and effectively saved the game for Bar. The progression that he has made as a cricketer over the last two years in excellent and he is becoming an important part of Cheeko's promotion push this year.
Napoleon's new favourite opening bowler with the old ball, 'Jellybean' Taylor, chipped in with figures of 11-overs 1-13 to get Camdenians well behind the rate and he was well supported by Roy Rogers, with a rare opportunity to bowl with the wind at his back (11ov 1-26). The run rates were very similar in both the Bar and visitors innings and it was down to the rest of the bowlers to keep the bowling tight and try and force a victory. Ishy Moore was effective but expensive in the context of the game but bowled the Camdenians gun Doshi with a jaffa and 'keeper Burrows snaffled an excellent one handed catch for his second (4ov 2-15).
Bar squandered numerous run out half-chances and there were a number of catches that could have gone to hand but didn't. In the end though, the squeeze that the skipper put on saved the game and kept Bar in the hunt for the top spots in the league. Only the future will tell how important the skipper’s calm effectiveness was but I have a feeling that the 12-points. Our thanks on Saturday also go to Ian Breeze who umpired the whole game from both ends in humid conditions.
There is no music video for your musical enjoyment this week but instead I bring you the trailer for the Swedish ‘Wallander’ feature length film. May I draw your attention to Nina Zanjani who is the hot brunette police chick. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oo9PddzNH1Q
Next week, the 4th XI visit the Harpenden Dolphins for the rematch of yet another blockathon from last year.