The Napa Valley Cricket Club (NVCC) hosted Marin CC Socials and the Sonoma Gullies at the Napa County Fairgrounds in Calistoga in August. The game against Marin was the third in the 2016 series of three between the clubs with NVCC having already won the series 2-0. By contrast NVCC were hoping for their first win against the Santa Rosa based Sonoma Gullies since May of 2014.
Saturday August 13 saw the Marin CC Socials visit Calistoga for what turned into a cliff-hanger of a game. The difference between the two sides was one player, John Leake, who excelled with both bat and ball. With Marin winning the toss and inserting NVCC in to bat a solid opening partnership was required from NVCC openers Jeff Keene and Kiranpreet Singh. It wasn’t to be as Singh went in the second over to a stunning low catch behind the stumps in a wicket maiden over for Marin bowler Srikanth. This brought Leake to the middle, earlier than he had anticipated, and with Keene the pair added 46 runs for the second wicket. Keene was the hard-running non-striker in the partnership who also soaked up plenty of the precise Marin bowling and allowed Leake to pillage runs from the occasional loose ball. NVCC wobbled in the 13th and 14th over as Keene was out caught and NVCC number 4 batsman Chandanpreet Singh was run-out by an exceptional throw from Marin fielder Andrew Sobol on a tough call through from Leake.
After a short stay in the middle from captain Rob Bolch (8 off 10) and Martin Mackenzie (2 off 9) Pete Carson fresh from his 51 in his previous game against SF Seals joined Leake. The Australian pair added 45 runs for the sixth wicket with Leake falling to a sharp catch at mid-on off a ball that he couldn’t quite get hold off. His innings of 82 runs off 78 balls comprised an impressive 13 boundaries – 11 fours and two sixes. With six overs still to go and NVCC on 135 runs more were needed. The NVCC had saved some batting prowess to the end of their innings and Bernie Peacock (7 off 5) and Peter Cameron (9 off 13) pushed hard for runs. A wayward 31st over from Marin saw NVCC add 17 runs, with 10 of those added as wides. In a game that turned out to be won by the narrowest of margins that over would prove to be expensive. NVCC ended their 35 overs with a reasonable score of 179 runs.
After the lunch break Bolch opened the NVCC bowling with the medium pace of Peacock and Chandanpreet Singh. The pair bowled good, tight, line and length with Peacock in particular giving up very few runs. A sharp run out from NVCC fielder Cameron in the fourth over was a sign of things to come for NVCC who had an excellent day in the field. As Marin were putting on runs and keeping in touch with the chase Bolch himself struck with two wickets in the 11th over with an LBW (leg-before-wicket) and a smart stumping by wicket-keeper Keene behind the stumps. From there Marin started to add runs through their classy right-handed batsman Sundar and he was motoring towards drinks when Bolch brought Andrew Healy on to bowl. It didn’t take long for Healy to bring down Marin’s top scoring batsman of the day by tempting him into a pull shot that he mis-timed and a stunning diving catch was taken by Cameron at short mid-wicket. Healy followed this up two balls later with another wicket, bowled, and Marin were in a spot of bother.
Bolch cleverly rotated his bowlers and they created chances and grabbed wickets every time Marin looked like they were going to get back on track. More lightning quick work with the gloves from Keene saw him take his second stumping of the day off Healy while Adriaan Foot took what was possibly the catch of the season, one-handed, deep on the long-on boundary. Bolch, who took three wickets himself, brought Leake into the bowling attack in the 26th over and helped wrap up the Marin tail with four wickets including a well-taken caught & bowled opportunity. Between stumpings, great catches and run-outs NVCC had an excellent day in the field. Ultimately Marin ran out of batsmen and ended up only eight runs short of a famous victory with nine balls left in their innings.
“I thought we had put a decent score on the board in our innings” said NVCC club captain Bolch. “Leakey lead the way with bat and then when we bowled he did the same with the ball. He was well supported by Pete (Carson) who had another excellent game with the bat. Our fielding today was top-drawer and quite simply won us the game. It’s great when the fielders back up the hard work that the bowlers do by taking the chances that have been created. Pete Cameron was awesome. Jeff behind the stumps had one of his best games ever with the gloves and Adriaan’s catch in the deep was simply stunning. All in all it was truly great team performance”
After the match, Bolch presented the Clos du Val Man of the Match award to the Marin CC Social’s Andrew Sobol for his strong performance with the bat and his excellent fielding.
On Saturday 27 August NVCC played host to the Sonoma Gullies, their trans Mayacamas rivals who last lost in Calistoga in May 2014. On a hot Calistoga day the Gullies won the toss and elected to bat first having brought a strong batting line up. Early wickets for left-arm paceman Moe Maqsood saw the Gullies wobble until the big hitting Sushil Kumar came in at number four. Kumar known for his love of balls on the leg-side dispatched anything that strayed that way. Kumar raced to a score of 61 runs off only 33 balls with only five of those runs coming from singles. He was finally undone by a looser flighted ball from Healy after a series of full, tight balls. Kumar couldn’t resist and didn’t fully get hold of the ball, pulling it to Adersh Maqsood at deep square-leg for a stunning diving catch. With such a strong batting line up there wasn’t much respite for NVCC after the key wicket of Kumar.
While wickets fell at regular intervals the Gullies kept their run rate ticking along. Moe Maqsood ended with an impressive four wickets (4 for 27 off 4) while Amritpal Singh finished up with three wickets (3 for 36 off 7) from his difficult to pick spin bowling. Bolch added a wicket to his 2016 account thanks to a simply stunning left-handed catch at first slip by Phil Bourke in the 25th over. It’s not often that NVCC employ slip fielders at that stage of a game but the decision to move Bourke close to the stumps paid rich dividends. In the end NVCC got the Gullies all out for a big total – 234 runs – just short of their allocated 35 overs.
NVCC have always preferred to bowl first and then chase but the total posted by the Gullies was one of the highest of the 2016 season and would be a big ask. Bolch sent the Masqood brother in to open the NVCC batting with instructions to build a solid opening partnership. They both put their heads down and did what was asked of them with Moe putting on an impressive 39 runs off 31 balls that included two sixes. By the time Adersh was bowled in the seventh over the pair had put 49 runs on the board for a strong opening partnership and NVCC had a good base for their chase. NVCC continued to bat well and a series of double figure totals for Mackenzie (16 off 19), Amritpal Bhatal (25 off 43), Jared Thatcher (10 off 15), Pete Cameron (16 off 13) and Chandanpreet Singh (21 off 18) saw NVCC stay in touch with the required run rate. What NVCC needed was a standout innings from one player and it wasn’t to happen as the Gullies took regular wickets as NVCC looked to stay in touch. A flourish of runs for NVCC from the 29th to 35th over of 66 runs saw them add a level of respectability to their final score. This flourish of runs was the result of some typically aggressive running from Bourke as he batted with Adriaan Foot and then Peacock. Bourke’s hard running put lots of pressure on the Gullies fielders and resulted in plenty of extra runs in overthrows and an impressive score of 30 for Bourke himself in just 23 balls. NVCC ended up falling short in the chase by 21 runs.
“The Gullies are our bogey team and we worked hard today to try and turn that around” said NVCC club captain Bolch. “While their score of 234 was big given the scores we’ve seen here at Calistoga this season I thought the Maqsood brothers did a great job of giving us a solid base to chase in down. But it wasn’t to be and the scores for the Gullies of 61 for Sushil and 41 for Jassi were the difference in the end. We were good in the field and the energy that Moe, AP (Amritpal Bhatal) and Pete Cameron bring really lifts the other players. We just needed one more solid knock of 50 plus and it might have been an even tighter game. Until next season!”
After the match, Bolch presented the Clos du Val Man of the Match award to the Gullies Param Cheema for his four wicket haul in the game.
Next Game – Saturday 10th September 2016 – HOME to Bradshaw CC at The Fairgrounds, Calistoga – 1435 N Oak St., Calistoga, CA 94515 – from 10.30am (check website for details <http://napacricket.com/calendar/>)
Saturday 13th August, 2016 – Napa Valley CC v Marin CC Socials at The Fairgrounds, Calistoga
Napa Valley CC 179 / 7 beat Marin CC Socials 172 all out by 7 runs. (35 over game / 13 batting)
Napa Valley CC Batting – John Leake 82 runs off 78 balls (11 x 4, 2 x 6), Peter Carson 30 off 4 (retired) (1 x 4, 1 x 6), Jeff Keene 17 off 43 (2 x 4).
Napa Valley CC Bowling – John Leake 4 wickets for 21 runs off 4.3 overs including 1 maidens, Rob Bolch 3 for 27 off 6, Andrew Healy 3 for 22 off 4.
Saturday 27th August, 2016 – Napa Valley CC v Sonoma Gullies at The Fairgrounds, Calistoga
Napa Valley CC 213 / 10 lost to Sonoma Gullies Marin CC Socials 234 all out by 21 runs. (35 over game / 13 batting)
Napa Valley CC Batting – Moe Maqsood 39 runs off 31 balls (6 x 4, 2 x 6), Phil Bourke 30 off 23 (3 x 4), Amritpal Bhatal 25 off 43 (1 x 4).
Napa Valley CC Bowling –Moe Maqsood 4 wickets for 27 runs off 4 overs, Amritpal Bhatal 3 for 36 off 7, Andrew Healy 1 for 12 off 3.