Markyate & Luton Town v St Albans Cricket Club 4XI on Sat 19 Jun 2021 at 12.00
St Albans Cricket Club Lost by 97 runs

Match report
Where to even start with this game.

We should perhaps set the scene: it was a filthy day, a cruel midsummer joke of a Saturday, leaden skies and the earth saturated with the watery remains of Friday’s incessant deluge. It was a surprise therefore to get a call that the game was on, considering the Markyate & Luton Town pitch is one of those municipal village affairs, uncovered and some might say somewhat unloved.

But on it was and having won the toss skipper Andy Saunders opted to, of course, bowl first. An opening salvo from Charlie Smith brought about the first wicket, edged to slip and into the ever-reliable hands of the shockingly hungover Michael ‘Eammo’ Eames, already regretting his decision to play a rain card the previous evening. A good start and the veteran Smith it was who was pick of the bowlers with his 2-24 off 8 the standout performance with the ball.

Joey Curran bowled with his customary fire and fury at the other end and but struggled to find consistency running up the slope so was replaced by Sam Davey who, although he brought energy and a number of genuine edges through the slip cordon to the party, likewise found it hard to maintain his length up the incline. That is not to overly criticize his bowling however, one expensive over belied his otherwise decent figures, which also included the important wicket of the dangerous opener Mohsin.

Joey Curran came back into the attack and was the replacement for Smith down the slope and instantly clicked into gear, giving little away and finishing with very creditable figures of 1-30 off his 8.

The opposition were ruthless and took an aggressive approach, swinging at most deliveries, riding their luck at times but creating momentum as the scoreboard ticked ever on. Few bad balls went unpunished.

At drinks though the score was a manageable 82-3 and the group huddle chat before re-taking the field was all about maintaining concentration and focus for the next 20 overs.

The slope was becoming a recurring theme with Saud Fattah, as with his teammates before him, finding it awkward and disruptive to his natural rhythm, and with the opposition starting to free their arms and accelerate in the second half of their innings skipper Saunders bought himself and Nadeem Arif into the fray to take some pace off the ball. Arif quickly snared the wicket of the frustratingly obdurate Sheehah , which brought the 6’5” figure of Nasir to the crease. With ‘007’ on his back he clearly thought he was licensed to kill and from ball one he teed off.

Some powerful hitting was to be admired as he took on the slow left arm of Saunders, hitting him straight back over his head on several occasions but ……..a field was set deliberately to entice exactly that and time and time again the ball went to a fielder and was dropped. A scarcely believable SEVEN times off Saunders alone the ball went into the fielder’s hands and out again, eliciting some particularly choice howls of anguish and frustration from the increasingly incredulous skipper. Twelve catches in all throughout the match were dropped, an unacceptable display of fielding in any game of league cricket, although as a slight coda Joey Curran did take a brilliant catch in the covers and Naveed Ahmed also grabbed a decent effort at square leg.

Nadeem ended with 3 wickets including that of James Bond -FINALLY well caught on the boundary for 62 by Faz Nisar- and bowled well in difficult circumstances as did all the bowlers to be fair with a dead, wet ball on a dead, wet pitch.

The final overs were a flurry of unrefined hit and run biffing from the tail enders as the opposition reached 218 at tea, at least 50 runs more than they should have given the forgettable nature of the Saints fielding. Indeed, Saunders address to his players at the break highlighted how lonely a place it can be as a bowler if they don’t get the backing of their fellow players in the field – something for all to reflect on moving forward.

A sombre tea on the damp outfield preceded the Saints innings with Eammo and Faz opening. The pitch, which most thought might dry and become easier had cut up badly and had some spice in it giving encouragement to the bowlers and keeping the batsmen wary. Eammo was the first to go , getting one that reared and caught the edge, for a duck. Faz stuck it out longer but he too was caught on 8 and when Zach Tarrant walked back to the pavilion having also been caught for 7 it looked like we’d all be home in double quick time.

Naveed Ahmed went out with a steely resolve and batted well to re-establish a foothold in the game but he was needlessly run out on 15 with Arif quickly following for 3. James Lawrence looked solid and played sensibly before leaving one that nipped back and took his off stump and Sam Davey took his usual aggressive stance but was also bowled for 10.

At 75-7 the match was a foregone conclusion but an unbeaten eighth wicket stand of 46 between Charlie Smith (15*) and Joey Curran (31*) restored some pride as both batsmen played with confidence and character, Joey particularly showing some real verve in his hitting as St Albans at least batted out the overs with a wicket in hand and made the opposition earn their 30 points.

A day in the field to reflect on and forget, with lessons hopefully learned. Catches win matches and all those cliches etc …we move on towards sunnier days and better results.

Markyate & Luton Town Batting
Player name RunsMB4s6sSR
1nb 7w 1b 2lb 
for 7 wickets
218 (40.0 overs)
Shavkat ct  Smith 1
Mohsin ct  Davey 39
Fezan ct  Curran 35
Waqar ct  Smith 3
Shehah lbw  Arif 24
Nasir ct  Arif 62
Shumail b  Nadeem 21
Sajjad Not Out  30
Tahseen Not Out  10

St Albans Cricket Club 4XI Bowling

Player NameOversMaidensRunsWicketsAverageEconomy
Charles Smith8.0026213.003.25
Joey Curran8.0030130.003.75
Sam Davey5.0030130.006.00
Saud Fattah4.002800.007.00
Andy Saunders8.005100.006.38
Nadeem Arif8.0040313.335.00

St Albans Cricket Club 4XI Batting
Player Name RMB4s6sSRCatchesStumpingsRun outs
2w 11b  
for 9 wickets
Michael Eames ct  Waqar 0
Faizan Nisar ct  Fezan 8
Zachary Tarrant ct  Tahseen 7
Naveed Ahmed Run out  15
Nadeem Arif ct  Rahman 3
James Lawrence b  Sajjad 18
Sam Davey b  Nasir 10
Charles Smith Not Out  15
Saud Fattah ct  Sajjad 2
Joey Curran Not Out  31
Andy Saunders  

Markyate & Luton Town Bowling

Player nameOversMaidensRunsWicketsAverageEconomy