HAVERFORD, Pa – The Fords' excellent batting form this season continued as they set multiple college records in a definitive win against British Officers CC.
Scheduled to play a 25-over match for the day, Haverford started off on the right note by winning the toss and electing to bat first, looking to take advantage of the unrelenting early autumn heat that would exhaust the first side to field. Co-captains Daniel Van Beveren and Kaito Nakatani made up the opening tandem once again. Both of the openers looked sharp, with Van Beveren continuing to impress in his new role. However, the Fords suffered an early blow as Van Beveren was caught and bowled on an attempt at a straight drive for a total of 8.
Next up as the one-down batsman was Gulesh Shukla. The pair of the sophomore sensation and the ever so focused Nakatani would spell trouble for the opposition throughout the innings. BOCC's bowling attack was intent on making Haverford's top order collapse, alternating fast-medium pacers and tricky legspinners to put the Nakatani-Shukla partnership out of rhythm. Yet the pair remained calm and steady for the first half of the innings, taking runs whenever they could to bring the total up to 75.
Once the second half of the innings got underway, Nakatani and Shukla started to bat more aggressively, dramatically increasing Haverford's run rate. Managing to pile on 17 runs in the thirteenth over, Nakatani and Shukla showed great chemistry in the middle as the two would go on to put up 131 runs—the highest-scoring partnership in Haverford's recent history—before Nakatani retired for a total of 61.
The offensive onslaught was to continue despite the departure of Nakatani, as the previous game's man of the match Malcolm Thompson joined Shukla in the middle. Shukla was eventually run out for a total of 70 in the nineteenth over, bringing Emile Givental up to bat. Thompson and Givental demonstrated their signature display of power, bringing Haverford's run total all the way up to 200 before Thompson was caught on a fly to covers for a total of 31.
Givental would continue to bat with senior Matt Leibold until Leibold was unfortunately run out on a close call while taking a risky single. After being joined by first-year Sam Monks, Givental finished his innings with a personal total of 44 not out. Haverford would end the innings with a total of 236 for four, a new record for the college in a 25-over match since 2016 when the team put up 176 also against BOCC.
Despite the astounding total, the Fords were far from complacent in their search for a third consecutive win this season. BOCC's opening batsmen remained resilient, however, and chipped away at the total for a while until one of their openers was caught by co-captain Van Beveren at covers. A couple of wickets fell in quick succession soon after, with Van Beveren taking almost an identical catch to his first and Nakatani seizing the opportunity for a run out when a batsman was lumbering his way back to the striker's crease.
Haverford would face a setback in the tenth over, however, when Givental was barred from bowling any more overs after two no ball deliveries that went over the batsman's head. With only five specialist bowlers in a thin squad, Haverford deliberated on the situation before deciding to send out first-year Sam Monks for his bowling debut. Although Monks faced a baptism of fire when his first delivery went for a six, he would take a wicket in only the second ball of his career, with Nakatani pulling off a stellar grab at long-on.
Fellow rookie Simon Babb was also called on to bowl in the next over, forming a brief duo with Monks during the middle of the innings to attack the middle order of BOCC. The sheer flight on the slow-pace deliveries of Monks and Babb would frustrate the batsmen, and Babb would also take his maiden wicket when Givental took a catch on a line drive to point.
Still needing a tremendous chase, BOCC became increasingly aggressive in their batting and running, but the Fords' fielding clamped down, restricting scorching grounders to only singles and getting run outs. One eye-catching moment of the match came when Givental, having just collected a ball at the boundary, roped the ball into the middle and hit the stumps from roughly 60 yards for a close run out call that was ultimately given not out. Haverford went on to breeze by the lower order, getting a couple more run outs, an edge taken by wicketkeeper Leibold, and yet another catch by Nakatani. In the end, the Fords were able to secure another victory as BOCC ultimately came up short, the final score being 236 for 4 to 164 for 9.
President Wendy Raymond was in attendance for the game, praising the Fords for their emphatic batting performance throughout the day, as did Coach Khan. Gulesh Shukla received the man of the match award for his 70-run contribution as well as a fine spell of bowling.
The Fords are slated for another doubleheader the coming weekend, with the annual alumni match on Saturday scheduled at 12:00 p.m. at Cope Field and the first away game of the season at Merion on Sunday at 11:00 a.m.