London, Day Six!
Playing for the third day straight, we awoke early to find the streets of Fulham quiet on Bank Holiday Monday. Plenty of bacon rolls and sausage rolls were consumed in order to fuel up for the long day ahead. After breakfast, we headed to North London to play in a T20 tournament organized by Regals Cricket Club. The tournament was hosted at the London Post Office Sport Society Association. We got to the ground right early as has become our custom on this tour, so we spent a while examining the two pitches that would be used for the tournament.
After hearing of Haverford's legendary cricketing prowess, the tournament organizers granted us a bye in the first round, undoubtably afraid to face us in the first round. Our first match of the tournament would be against Khurikuri Cricket Club. Due to the questionable coin toss calling ability of our skipper, we were forced into the field first. Throughout our innings in the field, our bowlers were able to make use of an extremely difficult and poor quality pitch. The eagerness of the batters to swing and our keen ability to take catches allowed us to get nearly all 10 wickets, and we were quickly reminded why T20 is our preferred format.
Gulesh Shukla got us off to a jolly good start in his first over. His strong delivery was so accurate and so quick that it smashed one of the bails right in half, and then may or may not have burst into flames. Kaito Nakatani later took a strong catch to give Daniel Van Beveren his long awaited first wicket of the tour. He ended up with three more on the day. Malcolm Thompson bowled an obvious edge off the bat that was caught by Charlie Lynn, but the umpire called not out. But ball don't lie, because Malcolm's next ball smashed the bails off of the wicket.
Kaito, dangerous as ever, bowled a ball that was sent straight back down the pitch for a caught and bowled wicket. Another wicket came, when feeling the pressure, the opposing batsman attempted a quick single off a ball hit to Paige Powell. In a feat of athleticism, Paige scooped the ball up and powerfully launched it directly in the stumps to run out the opposing batsman.
Malcolm Thompson took two more wickets in the match. One came when Jack made an outstanding catch and the other came when his quick seamer easily bowled the batsmen. Kaito and Charlie combined well for a run out and DVB got his second when the batsman was given out LBW. The Fords wrapped up their innings when Shukla trapped the last batsman LBW to leave the Fords needing 68 runs for their first win of the tour.
Jack and Nate opened the batting, but Nate was quickly bowled without scoring any runs (No other batsmen would get a duck on the day, so Nate was bestowed the ceremonial duck and must keep it until we play again on Wednesday.) Captain Jack saw a short partnership with Emile Givental, until the latter was run out and the former bowled. The next partnership was Andy and Kaito.
Needing just five runs to win, Andy was caught out. Shukla entered, and he and Kaito were able to quickly seize the first win for the Fords in just 15 overs. Our strong play throughout the day saw us book a place in the final against East London Cricket Club. After a break for food and creating lifelong memories with friends, it was finally time for the final.
Once again, the toss was lost and the lads were sent to field first. "Milk em" Malcolm caught the first ball in the second over with DVB bowling. Yet another DVB wicket came from a catch from lightning-quick Kaito. Yet another batsmen would be caught and bowled by Kaito. His successor almost fell to the same fate on the next few deliveries, but Kaito couldn't quite make the catch. Next, Jack took a catch right on the boundary from Andy's bowling for another wicket.
A classic Andy spinball destroyed the batsman for the sixth wicket. Another wicket fell again due to the work of the skipper (three in row, non-consecutive so sadly not a hat trick.) The batsman hit the ball along the ground straight back down the pitch. Andy made an desperate dive to stop the ball which brushed his hand and went straight into the stumps. The other batsman had already left his crease and was therefore given out. Another delivery from Andy hit the stumps, but the umpire called a no ball. Two balls later, the ball again told no lies as yet another Andy spinball bowled out the batsman. In the words of one spectator, the batsman spun more than the ball did.
The final wicket came when one batsman ran and the other didn't, so we had a nice and slow run out as the batsman didn't even try to get back to his crease. It left us needing 140 runs to win the tournament.
In reply, our top order collapsed quickly after the first and second wickets fell. The increasing necessary run rate began to threaten hope of even reaching a respectable score. Kaito was the hero of our match as he single-handedly made our final tally a respectable score as we came within 14 runs of victory. Kaito hit 41 runs off of 30 balls for his highest score for Haverford, and the best batting performance of the tour so far. It was an all around amazing day for Kaito, who showed off his impeccable skill batting, bowling, and fielding. On Wednesday we may just try him in the position of keeper.
There was a small ceremony awarding medals to the winning teams. Nate's dad, being an important-looking man standing nearby, was chosen to bestow medals to the East London Eagles.
Tired from a full and exciting day of cricket, the lads had a few naps on the bus back. We went out for some dinner and then all had a quiet night in.
Tomorrow the mates all travel to do more touring of the area. We will visit the famous Stonehenge and then receive a formal tour of the Oxford area. A special shout-out to all of our fans following at home, we do it all for you. (Hi Grandma!)
Written by Paige Powell '19