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Cricket Dispatches Philadelphia Cricket Club in 30-Run Victory

Nathaniel Rolfe
Nathaniel Rolfe

PHILADELPHIA - Haverford College successfully bounced back from the loss against Merion Cricket Club in Saturday's game against Philadelphia Cricket Club. Powered by a fabulous team effort and standout individual performances, Haverford cruised to a substantial 30-run victory.

Haverford College lost the toss on a cloud covered day and was sent in to bat first by Philadelphia Cricket Club. Philadelphia Cricket Club's notoriously difficult surface combined with the overhead conditions created an environment that was more suitable to bowl first, leaving Haverford with a tough challenge to post a competitive score.

The opening batsmen Andrew Cornell and Nathaniel Rolfe, however, put Haverford's initial nervousness to ease with a display of top-class batting. Cornell played in a conservative fashion, well-employing a classical straight drive and an iron defense against a moving ball. Rolfe played a foil role; his innings was aggressive from the outside.

The fifth ball faced by Rolfe was dispatched to the covers boundary via a crunching cover drive. Rolfe and Cornell struck a 34-run opening partnership before Cornell was caught out after mishitting a ball that stayed low due to the surface's variable bounce.

Freshman Jake Kutchins arrived at the crease with the task of helping Rolfe build the platform for Haverford's total. Kutchins displayed excellent judgement in choosing what balls to play. The sweep shot starred multiple times as Kutchins took advantage of a sparsely populated square leg region of the field.

With Kutchins steady at the other end, Rolfe displayed his hitting prowess as he speeded his way to a 33-ball innings for 47 runs. Drives were complemented by powerful pull shots that pierced the leg-side boundary in multiple spots.

Rolfe's brute strength and excellent timing on the ball saw him strike seven boundaries for four, a season record for an individual. Rolfe was felled by a quicker ball that he was unable to make contact with, bowling him out with the score standing at 78.

Junior captain Raghav walked to the crease with an excellent foundation from which to score from. Jake Kutchins fell shortly afterward, making 12 runs from 27 balls. With the fall of the fourth wicket, both captains stood at the crease as senior captain David White strode into the middle.

The duo started catiously initially, but Bali broke the shackles with a brutal slog sweep that brought him a one-bounce four. The stand however was broken after a communication mixup resulted in Bali being runout.

White took over the chase at this point, rocketing the ball to the boundary on six separate occasions. White used a powerful on drive and a deadly hook shot to good effect, finding the boundary primarily on the leg side. White ended up being bowled by a nasty Yorker after scoring 31 runs in 35 balls.

Haverford's lower middle order were marshalled by senior Chris Hadad and junior Richard Phillips. Both scored 12 runs, with Hadad favoring a sublime square drive and Phillips employing a strong off-drive, which yielded him a boundary through long-off. Haverford's batting saw off all 30 overs, ending with a highly competitive score of 176.

 In the bowling effort, the new ball was shared by David White and Jake Kutchins, who made his bowling debut in this game. White opened his account with a maiden over, while Kutchins was just as economical through his opening spell. The first five overs saw Haverford's attack only give 16 runs. The first wickets were taken by White, who took two in the same over. The first wicket came to a well-disguised slower ball that was skied to a lurking Andrew Cornell at Mid-off.

The second was a good length ball that beat the batsman for pace and smashed into the off stump. Shortly afterward, the first bowling changes were made, with sophomore Nahaniel Rolfe and junior Raghav Bali entering the attack. The change gave instant dividends; Rolfe's second ball was drilled high and hard to mid-on, where Jake Kutchins completed a legendary tumbling catch which left the opposition speechless.

Philadelphia Cricket Club here however starting gaining momentum and runs. A 20-run stand for the fourth wicket was finally broken five overs later when Rolfe pitched up a quick ball which was drilled with immense force straight to Bali who completed an outstanding catch at covers. Following this wicket, Andrew Cornell was introduced to bowl his off-spin. Cornell struck immediately, with a beautifully flighted ball bamboozling the batsman entirely and shattering the stumps.

A few overs later Cornell produced another wicket with a sharply turning ball that was shot straight into the hands of David White. At the fall of this wicket, however, Philadelphia's batsmen put up a fight and gathered momentum again. A 70-run partnership for the seventh wicket lasted for nearly 10 overs, a stand that made Haverford's imposing total possibly in sight for the Philadelphia Cricket Club.

In a move of tactical genius, Richard Phillips was introduced into the attack for his bowling debut.bowled his first over with unnering accuracy, with every ball targeting the stumps. The line was effective, as in his second over a ball was skied high into the air; Phillips careened in to take a one-handed catch off his own bowling. White re-entered the attack with Philadelphia Cricket Club 30 runs shy of the target.

White shutdown any possibilities of Philadelphia Cricket Club reaching the total. Two wickets came in a row, with one ball being pulled through the air only for Phillips to take a leaping catch followed by another high ball being caught by a sprinting Jake Kutchins. White took the final wicket of the innings two balls later, with a vicious Yorker shattering the stumps to complete the 30-run win. The wicket also left White his first career five wicket haul, and a first for a Haverford Cricketer in a number of seasons.

For their outstanding individual performances in the crafting of the victory, Coach Kamran Khan awarded both Nathaniel Rolfe and David White the Player of the Match Award.

Haverford begins the home section of the season on Saturday, April 22 with the Alumni match, and then taking on the Temple University Cricket Club on the Sunday, April 23. Both games are scheduled for 12:00 p.m. start times.