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Cricket Edged by Temple

Malcom Thompson
Malcom Thompson

HAVERFORD, Pa. - Haverford Cricket faced off against Temple on April 14 in its second match of the Intercollegiate Cup, requiring a win to clinch a spot in the finals of the cup. With the pitch wet from rain the night before and the wicket slippery, both teams would have to cope with a slow outfield and unpredictable bounce to find success. The Fords lost the toss and were sent to bat first.

Haverford stuck with their new opener, junior Ethan Flicker, to face the Temple bowlers alongside senior captain Nathaniel Rolfe. Rolfe was immediately off the mark, sending the first ball, a high full toss, across the boundary for six. Temple soon struck back, taking advantage of confusion between the batsmen to run out Flicker for naught in the first over.

Junior Jack Morgan would come to the crease hoping to stabilize the innings.  He did so superbly, playing a well-tempered innings using mostly defensive shots to protect his wicket. At the other end, an in-form Rolfe increased the tempo of the innings, finding boundaries whenever possible and taking responsibility for most of the run-scoring. As the innings progressed, it became exceedingly hard to score runs as the ball softened with the dampness and died quickly in the outfield. Haverford did well to recover from 6-1 to 75-1 by the 10th over, due in large part to the batting performance of Rolfe.  

Rolfe's success ended shortly after the break, as he fell in the 12th over, scoring a blitz of 46 runs off 36 balls. Senior captain Andrew Cornell would replace Rolfe while Morgan was stumped in the same over. First year Gulesh Shukla replaced Morgan and the Fords were in trouble at 82-3 after 12 and lacking both of their set batsmen. Cornell fell quickly two overs later for four, while Shukla fell in the 16th for 10. The Fords never managed to recover, collapsing to 116-9 after the 20th and final over.

The Haverford XI then took to the field with a low total to defend, but were optimistic that Temple would suffer the same wet conditions that dampened the Fords run-rate. Shukla and junior Daniel Van Beveren did well to open the bowling and limited the Temple scoring in the early goings. However, the pair struggled to get any wickets and the Fords remained wicketless until the introduction of sophomore Malcolm Thompson in the eighth over.

A bouncer from Thompson induced a mistimed pull by a Temple batsman, and the ball was sent high through the air and into the hands of sophomore Kaito Nakatani. Thompson's next ball would also bear fruit as the batsman moved across the stumps to flick the ball, but missed as the ball traveled directly into leg stump. Haverford was happy to head to the break with both set batsman out and were optimistic that they could defend the remaining 45 runs as conditions deteriorated.

After the break, an onslaught of wides by Haverford appeared to ruin any hope of winning the match. Despite Shukla beating the Temple bats not once, but twice in the same over to take two wickets by LBW, Temple were at 103-5 after 13 overs, needing just 14 runs to win.

The Fords fought back valiantly, giving up just eight in the next three overs while taking three wickets. Flicker enacted a run out while van Beveren found the batsmen's outside edge and sent the ball to Morgan at hulley. Van Beveren's next ball was then lofted high to long off.  Cornell ran and dove backwards, bobbling the ball twice before coming down with it in his hands in an impressive bit of fielding. 

Now sitting at 111-8, Haverford still had hope of a miraculous finish. At the start of the 17th over, Haverford needed two wickets to win. Were they to lose, the Fords needed to last through 18.2 overs in order move into the finals of the Intercollegiate Cup based on net run rate tiebreaker. After five runs were conceded in the next over and no wickets taken, the Fords dreams were smashed. The first ball of the following over was sent overtop point and the Fords lost the game and were eliminated from the tournament.

While disappointed to not continue in the Intercollegiate Cup, the Fords look forward to completing their competitive schedule as they prepare to travel to England in May. Haverford welcomes the Royal Marines of England for a match on Saturday, April 20.