Dartmouth's second outing this season was carded to be played at Fort Ethan Allen in Burlington, VT against the Chittenden County Cricket Club. Still smarting from the heavy defeat that the makeshift Dartmouth team suffered last year against them, the Hanover based club was looking to give CCCC a better challenge this time around. Having come out of a long winter and spring of practice sessions, as well as a win against Middlebury, Dartmouth entered this game with confidence and hope.
We were again met with a pitch that was quite unlike any other. A thick plastic mat laid over an uneven dirt pitch meant that the bowlers would have a difficult time extracting bounce and pace
Chris won the toss and chose to bat putting CCCC under pressure to chase in the second innings. Opening batsmen Harsha and Dartmouth debutant Rahul did not have a very fruitful partnership. Initially defending well against Yasir, Harsha failed to follow through on his drive and was caught by Nag at point. Chris, resuming his position at #3 came in on the score at 3/1 and he along with Rahul dug out several yorkers in a cloud of dust, to show that the underlying pitch was shoddily laid at best. A slow start by Chris proved to be the key to seeing off the new ball from Yasir and Gerard, with Chris facing 15 dot balls before getting off the mark. At the other end, Rahul also played a similar game and took advantage of any bad balls, eventually hitting one for 6 straight down the ground. With the introduction of Mani and Rohit, the bowling attack was less aggressive, allowing the Dartmouth batsmen to push the ball around the ground, accumulate singles and twos, and hit the occasional 4. Some good running, interspersed with semi-hesitant calling from the batsmen, made the spectators edgy but happy to see the run rate climb from 2.8 to 4 after some 16 overs, at which point Dartmouth was 73/1.
Things appeared to be going well until Chris mistimed one to midwicket (18), caught by Mani off of Omar's bowling. Apurva failed to impact the score in the manner in which he did against Middlebury and Rahul's lapse in concentration resulted in him falling at 47, being caught safely by Mani at long off. From that point, none of the Dartmouth batsmen (Govind, Nitin, Himanshu, Sudarshan, Ravi, Srini) were able to hold out against CCCC's bowling/pitch combination. There was no score higher than 5. Vijayasri, playing a commendably defensive game unnatural to him, realized that the only way to garner runs would be to stick around, which he did while his partners fell around him. He ended on 2 n.o., Dartmouth's final score 115 all out
The chase would be difficult for CCCC. Given the new ball, Rahul got the ball the swing to an unplayable degree picking up 2 wickets in his opening spell, with Ravi and Chris taking a brilliant catch each at short leg and cover respectively. In the first over, Sudarshan effected a run out and by the fourth over CCCC was 10/3. However, the number of wides bowled by this point (9), would be a tell-tale sign for the rest of the game and for the end result. CCCC's batsmen had an equally hard time getting bat on ball. Run scoring was not in the cards for the day's play but the number of extras being bowled was steadily climbing. Although CCCC’s wickets crumbled at regular intervals, Dartmouth’s bowling attack continued spraying extras. Some consolation was had when the score was 63/6 at the 15th over. The game appeared to be in the bag. But CCCC’s #7 in Navneet, proved to have the mental staying power to see through bowling, accumulating runs steadily and waiting for the score to tick over with extras.
The game was eventually won by CCCC, Navneet scoring the winning two runs in the 22nd over. He ended on 25 n.o. Their final score 116/8. Several things were to be learned from this game by the Dartmouth squad – that catching practice pays off, but that technical flaws in both the batting and bowling department have yet to be remedied. A loss early in the season to a strong team can only serve to have our team regroup and bounce back in upcoming games
Today's date: Saturday, December 10th 2016.