They played steadily, albeit not spectacularly, until (in the 11th over) Phil made a breakthrough: 27-1.
This brought Ponting in, and an increase in the run-rate - by the end of the 15th over (the halfway stage) they had reached 53-1, and I anticipated being set a target of between 120 and 150.
Fortunately, not long after this Christopher managed to do what had taken the whole England team considerably longer earlier this week, as Mincat held onto a hard shot from Ponting, off his bowling: 60-2.
A brilliant one-handed catch by Mincat, again off Christopher's bowling disposed of the next wicket: 67-3.Christopher got his third wicket, when Ivy held a catch: 68-4.
Carol took a diving catch off my bowling: 76-5.
Rob got the next wicket - a third catch by Mincat: 88-6.
I held the next catch, also off Rob's bowling: 90-7.
In the next over a hat-trick from me finished their innings: 90-10.I feel the BMCC should offer to take over from the current England crowd for the next Test. At least we can bowl Australia out.
The Aussies didn't quite know what to make of the high tea that Z had prepared.
We only needed to score three an over, so I asked for steady, careful batting. As you can imagine, that's exactly not what I got:
Ad was bowled when we had only reached 5-1.
Christopher chipped a catch to third slip: 8-2.
Richard did exactly the same: 15-3.
ILTV was bowled: 26-4.
The rot stopped there, as player-of-the-match Mincat went on to score an unbeaten 52, leaving us on 91-4.We still head the league of course.Next week would have been away in the West Indies, but we have been awarded the trophy as league winners already, so shall instead be playing a Test Match against Australia.
They won the toss, and elected to bat - which looked like the wrong decision when Rob knocked out the middle stump in his first over: 0-1.
That gave us a false sense of optimism however, as their batsmen dug in and scored steadily at a rate of over 4 an over - particularly Tandelki, who reached his 50 in the 15th over - and that just encouraged them to hit out even more, their 100 coming up in the 20th over (during which Tandelki was dropped twice - the kind of sloppiness in the field I thought we had eliminated. Harsh words were thought).
At last a wicket fell, when (leading by example) I held on to a catch from Phil's bowling: 108-2.
They continued to score well, until Tandelki finally fell, a sharp catch off Rob's bowling being held by Mincat: 121-3.
This brought about a collapse - Rob taking his third wicket when I held another catch: 129-5.
Rob returned the compliment the next over, holding a catch off my bowling: 130-6.
I bowled the next man: 130-7.
Rob got Druvad to nick the ball to Richard: 130-8.
He then got a clean bowled, for his five-fer: 131-9.
A classy yorker was dug out, but only for the ball to reach a diving Richard 131-10.It had looked at the halfway stage that they would be setting us a target nearer 200, so we did well to restrict them to 131, but even so, this could be a challenging target.
Our new opening bat, Ad, set off well, with some bright strokes, before being caught and bowled in the second over: 18-1.
The Indians were playing very aggressively, and it was no surprise when another wicket fell, ILTV being bowled: 27-2.
Batting at number 4 seemed to suit Christopher better than opening, as he and I pushed the score on well (indeed he ended up our second highest scorer) before he was caught: 62-3.
Richard too was caught, going for a flashy drive: 66-4.
Unbelievably, Mincat tried the same shot off the next ball, with an identical result: 66-5.
Half our wickets gone, and halfway to the target - but our main batsmen out.
Carol was caught out soon after, and we were in deep trouble, on 72-6.
Another sharp catch saw Ivy out: 80-7.
I was still in, but just had the three bowlers left to support me. Could we score 52 between us?
I was dropped twice on caught and bowled chances, but sadly Rob wasn't: 83-8.
At least my half century came up.I tried to keep the strike, but inevitably Phil ended up facing a fast ball, and was bowled; 102-9.
Thirty runs needed, and just Vicus and I to score them. They had pushed the fielders out deep - offering me singles, which would give them the chance to bowl at Vicus. I suspect this tactic would have worked eventually, but for some unaccountable reason their captain changed his strategy, and brought the fielders in close around my bat - which meant, as long as I didn't give a catching chance, I could score boundaries. I grabbed my chance, and struck four after four, until, eventually, we reached 133-9 and won!We are, naturally, still top of the table. Next week we play Australia, at Lords.
We played this match in Southampton, so that Phil and Vicus didn't have quite so far to travel.
I won the toss, and elected to bat.
Sadly, Christopher was caught and bowled in the first over. I promoted him to opener this season as a reward for kindnesses shown, but that might not have been such a favour, as it has rather affected his form. I think next week we'll give Ad a try-out at the number one position: 2-1
The grass on the outfield was looking very lush - it was a real effort to drive the ball as far as the boundary, but Ad and I did our best, putting on fifty before he was caught and bowled: 52-2.
I too was C&B: 61-3.
Mincat was caught in the slips: 73-4.
Richard was caught by their keeper: 95-5.
ILTV was bowled: 95-6.
As was Rob: 111-7.
And Ivy: 112-8.
Phil was run out: 114-9.
Vicus was caught and bowled: 125-10.Our catering manager had decided to take the weekend off, and Phil had eaten the boiled fruit cake that Ziggo made last weekend, but as we were by the sea, fish and chips were on the menu, as well as a vegetarian option (chips and chips).
On our return to the field, Vicus got the first two wickets: 1-2.
Rob got the third: 3-3.
South Africa rallied slightly from that disastrous start, before Vicus achieved an edge to Carol in the slips: 29-4.
Phil bowled his man: 35-5.
Rob got an edge to Richard: 41-6.
I got a caught and bowled: 55-7, and a clean bowled: 55-8.
Vicus knocked a stump out: 60-9.
Phil finished the match off: 61-10.
Naturally we are still top of the league.
Sri Lanka won the toss and elected to bat. Bowling turned out to be hard work on a flat and unresponsive wicket. We toiled in the sun to little effect, until, eventually (in the 11th over) Mincat held onto a catch off Phil's bowling: 26-1.
The next over Rob managed to get a nick to carry to Richard: 27-2.
This brought Joyewordine in, who immediately started attacking the bowling aggressively.
Eventually, Christopher got another edge to Richard: 63-3.
Ivy held a catch off Vicus: 70-4.
She then caught Joyewordine, off Christopher's bowling: 81-5.
Christopher next achieved an LBW: 81-6.
Vicus hit the off stump: 84-7.
Ad (who had been attacked quite ruthlessly by the batsmen) got his first wicket for the club, with a catch by Mincat: 96-8.
There were 5 overs still to be bowled, but our top bowlers only had a couple of overs left - so rather than see Ad being punished any further, I dragged myself to the crease, and bowled four gentle balls - taking their last two wickets: 97-10.
I went for a lie-down (and some strong drugs) so have no idea what tea was like.
We only needed just over three an over, so I emphasised that a nice, steady attack was all that was needed.
Ad was given out LBW: 1-1.
Mincat was bowled: 5-2.
Against my better judgement, and perhaps under the influence of the drugs, I was persuaded that I should go out to bat now, to try to steady the ship. Christopher and I managed to do that, until he was bowled: 42-3.
ILTV was caught and bowled: 46-4.
Richard was caught in the slips: 62-5.
Carol was caught and bowled: 67-6.
I was bowled: 82-7.
Could our tail get the 16 runs we needed?
Rob was bowled: 88-8.
That was the last wicket to fall, and we ended winners, on 98-8.We are, naturally, still top of the league.That marks the halfway stage in the season. Next week we play South Africa again.
We promised him that we would concentrate on our defensive strokes, and refuse to give our wickets away easily. I won the toss, and decided we would bat first, to show Geoffrey what we could do, against a fairly aggressive Pakistan bowling attack.
Their very fast opening bowler hit Christopher twice, before getting the ball past him, and knocking his stumps over: 2-1.
In his next over he peppered Ad, before forcing an edge to 1st slip: 9-2.
ILTV edged to the keeper: 10-3.
Mr Boycott had started chewing his hat.
Mincat was next in, but she knows how to deal with a fast bowler, hitting a six and a four off the first over she faced - however he won the battle in the end, with another edge to the slips: 30-4.
Richard and I saw off the opening bowlers, but their second pair were just as crafty, and eventually Richard was bowled: 41-5.
I was given out LBW (Hawkeye shows that was a mistake): 65-6.
Fortunately their third string bowlers weren't quite as good, and Carol and Ivy were able to push on, until Ivy was out LBW: 91-7.
Rob was caught in the slips: 96-8.
Eventually they brought back their pacemen to finish off the tail, and Phil was bowled: 111-9.
Carol was finally winkled out, after a dogged 32: 131-10.
We had actually batted for 26·4 overs, which wasn't too bad (despite Mr Boycott's devastating criticism of our batting technique).
Tea was bread and cheese (Z's speciality).
Their first wicket fell with a caught-and-bowled to Vicus: 4-1.
Phil did the same: 8-2.
There were no further breakthroughs in the first 15 overs (after which teams usually start to attack) - but they were well behind the run-rate, on 27-2.
They did indeed start to attack, but eventually in the 22nd over I tempted Al Huq to hit a ball in the air, where Rob held onto it: 56-3.
Two overs later another of my balls flew to Ivy: 62-4.
In their penultimate over, Rob got their top batsman caught-and-bowled: 86-5.
Despite batting through their 30 overs, they finished on 94-5, and so we won.New Zealand lost another game, and so we're now clear on top of the league.Next week (the halfway stage in the league) we're away against Sri Lanka.
New Zealand won the toss, and decided to field. I decided to use the same batting line-up that had performed so well last week and I aimed to set them a target of 150 (ie setting the opposition a run-rate of 5 per over).
Our hearts were in our mouths when Christopher was bowled first ball: 0-1.
Ad was run out: 8-2.
So was Mincat - we were starting to realise what sharp fielders the Kiwis are: 20-3.
ILTV and I settled down, and saw us past the 50 mark, until she clipped one to the keeper: 52-4.
Richard was bowled: 66-5.
Our target of 150 looked rather unlikely now.
Carol too was bowled: 81-6.
Well, at least I reached my half-century before we were all out.
Ivy and I pushed the score past 100 before she was caught: 127-7.
I too was caught, by a diving first slip: 136-8.
We were relying on the bowlers to get us up to 150 - they had plenty of overs to play with, but did they have the ability?
Phil was caught by the keeper: 139-9.
Vicus was bowled - but not before he and Rob had taken us past our target: 154-10.
Tea involved various combinations of stuffed emu.
With a competitive target we knew their batting line-up would feel under pressure, which intensified when Vicus took a wicket in the first over: 0-1.
Rob took the next wicket: 6-2.
They scored odd singles, but were steadily dropping behind the run-rate - after 10 overs they'd achieved just 18-2, and at 15 overs (the halfway point) they had dried up completely, on 21-2.
Finally they started to try to hit out - but that just gave our fielders more chances, the first being a ball struck firmly off Vicus, straight into Mincat's hands: 24-3.
Next ball Vicus held a sharp caught-and-bowled: 24-4.
Rob took the next wicket: 26-5.
I had a go too: 28-6.
And in my next over I achieved a hat-trick: 32-9.
Rob finished them off: 33-10.As you will see, we now head the league table. Huzzah!Next week we are at home to Pakistan.
The sun was beating down from a clear blue sky at The Oval as Christopher and I made our way to the wicket.
We shared an opening stand of 69 before Christopher was run out: 69-1.
My 50 came and went, before Ad nicked a cut to the keeper: 93-2.
Mincat was run out: 103-3.
ILTV was bowled: 120-4.
Richard was caught in the slips: 133-5.
Carol was also caught: 151-6.
I was getting a little concerned that I was running out of partners, and was having to do a lot of work in very hot conditions (Christopher was the only other batsman to score in double figures) - still, eventually my century arrived.Ivy was then caught in the slips: 160-7.
Rob was adjudged LBW on his first ball: 160-8.
A tired shot saw me bowled: 160-9.
Our tail wagged a bit before Vicus was caught and bowled: 171-10.
I am afraid I failed to photograph the relevant page of the scorebook. It showed:
Phil: 6 not out
As we tucked into our clotted cream tea we felt we had set a sufficiently daunting target.
This soon became obvious - Christopher took a wicket in the first over: 1-1.
I took one in the second over: 1-2.
Vicus got one in the next over: 5-3.
And Phil took two in his first over: 6-5.
I came back on and took 4 wickets, giving me a five-fer to add to my century: 6-9.
Rob knocked over the last wicket, with an edge to a diving Richard: 6-10.
We move back to second place in the league, with a vastly superior net run rate to everyone else. This will be important, for next week we play New Zealand, away. If we win, that run rate should put us top of the league table.
Bangladesh won the toss, and elected to bat.
Carol took the first wicket: 17-1.
ILTV made the next breakthrough, Ad holding a sharp catch in the slips: 30-2.
Phil got a clean bowled: 45-3.
Vicus' pace removed an off stump: 48-4.
Ivy held a catch off Phil's bowling: 69-5.
Phil managed to knock another stump over: 69-6.
I achieved a hat-trick (in my third maiden over): 77-9.
Rob finished their innings, with a ball clipped to Richard: 78-10.Tea was some kind of curry. This may have had an effect on our side's desire to get back into the pavillion as quickly as possible.
Ivy was our first player to be run out, going for a second run: 1-1.
Ad and Richard responded with three sixes, before Ad was bowled: 22-2.
Richard was caught by their keeper: 34-3.
Phil was caught, trying to hit a six: 36-4.
Vicus was run out: 44-5.
We needed just 35 more runs, but had lost half our wickets. Still, we had our main batsmen left, so no-one was unduly worried.
Rob was clean bowled: 45-6.
So was Christopher: 54-7.
Carol was run out, and we were in deep trouble: 59-8.
Which worsened when I was caught-and-bowled: 63-9.
I'm afraid Mincat threw her wicket away, going for a suicidal single: 65-10.
As a result of this loss we have slipped to third place in the league.Next week we play Kenya. I will treat them with due respect.
The first wicket fell to Christopher, who bowled his man around his legs: 11-1.
Phil managed the next breakthrough, with Ad holding onto a sharp catch in the slips: 32-2.
Ivy held onto a drive off Christopher's bowling: 42-3.
With his next ball, Christopher held a catch himself: 42-4.
Lara then set about our bowling - he took 19 runs off my first over, as they tried to push the run rate up.
Rob held onto a drive from one of Vicus' balls: 82-5.
I got Lara with my next over - caught by Carol: 84-6.
I achieved a clean bowled in my next over: 86-7.
Rob's pacey ball took out the middle stump: 92-8.
And another: 94-9.
And finished the innings: 94-10.Tea was a traditional dish of Lancashire hotpot and chips, followed by Eccles cakes, Manchester Tart and some parkin with a slice of Lancashire cheese. Gosh, the catering quality has gone up since Z took over.
The target looked easily achievable, and we set off briskly, until Mincat was caught: 15-1.
I had pushed Ad up to number 3, as I haven't done much in the last two innings, he and Christopher continued the attack, until Christopher was caught: 26-2.
Ad was striking the ball nicely, but eventually edged to the keeper: 40-3.
ILTV was caught and bowled, and suddenly things were looking a little shaky: 43-4.
Richard and I steadied the ship, until he was caught and bowled: 78-5.
I persuaded Carol to take some deep breaths, and play steadily, and between us we saw the side home: 95-5.As you can see from the league table we're still second, with New Zealand leading by virtue of their extra game played.Next week we're away in Bangladesh.
I won the toss and elected to bat - setting a large target, which the opposition struggle to reach (and, incidentally, giving every player in our side a chance to bat) seems to have worked so far.
Mincat was caught and bowled when the score had reached 27-1.
Christopher was caught by their keeper: 36-2.
I brought Ad in higher up the order, as I know he's been working hard in the nets.
Annoyingly, I played a shot from Worde onto my pads, from where it gently rolled into my stumps: 45-3.
Carol was caught in the slips: 57-4.
Ad and ILTV took us past 100, Ad finally being caught just short of a maiden half-century: 106-5.
ILTV was run out: 121-6.
Ivy was caught and bowled by Worde: 154-7.
Rob was bowled: 155-8.
As was Phil: 158-9.
And Vicus: 163-10.Tea was a jolly affair, gathered round the glowing barbie. The taste of burnt plastic did, though, rather spoil the taste of the prawns.
After our return to the field, Vicus made a quick breakthrough with an LBW: 4-1.
Unfortunately this brought Ponting in - a player we have found it hard to dislodge in the past.
We did, however, manage to contain them to 2 or 3 an over - well below the rate they needed - until eventually they had to go for big shots - and Christopher was rewarded with a catch by Mincat: 47-2.
In his next over he tempted Ponting to do the same thing: 56-3.
Vicus was hit for three consecutive boundaries, before one fell slightly short and I was able to hang onto it: 80-4.
In his next over Rob tempted another drive to Mincat: 84-5.
And another to ILTV: 90-6.
With my final ball I got my revenge, clean bowling Worde: 94-7.
The final over of the match, from Christopher, saw just one run, and so they finished on 95-7. We win again.
Sadly I failed to photograph the scorebook before we left Australia. I can however confirm that our bowling figures were Vicus: 6 overs, 2 wickets for 41 runs, Rob: 6-2-14, Christopher: 5-2-9, me: 5-1-22, Ad: 2-0-9.
Mincat took 3 catches, and ILTV and I one each.
As the league table shows, New Zealand are going to be the team to beat.
Next week we're home against the West Indies.