Saturday Cricket Club Blog

Monday, October 17, 2005

The Rise and Fall of SCC

2002 - TCA Open Semi-Finalists (Lost to Acers)
2003 - TCA Open Semi-Finalists (Lost to Acers)
2004 - TCA Open Finalists (Lost to Panthers)
2005 - TCA Open Finalists (Lost to Bay Tigers)

SCC is a team of individuals who have a great passion for cricket. A team built around passion, discipline, determination, motivation and character. These folks have done lot of sacrifices over the last 4 years to build a formidable, respectable team that knows only one thing "FIGHT & Never give up". SCC's rise in TCA annals is a talk among all teams that play in the TCA and every SCC member is proud of that. There are teams in TCA that have achieved similar success but no team in TCA commands the same respect as SCC.
After a heartening loss to Panthers in 2004 Open Finals, SCC was determined to lay their hands on the "Blue Trophy" in 2005. Each year SCC has the privilege of getting to know new players and have made vital additions to their roster. Year 2006 saw two new faces in the team, Viral and Ahmed. Viral a stylish left hander who earned the opening slot this year. His batting has been a joy to watch. Ahmed was the other find of the season, right arm medium pace bowler. Ahmed has played in leather bowl leagues and he too quickly established himself as a strike bowler. The rise of SCC was not just in ranks but was also in the new players that joined.
Athletes always dream of a second chance. SCC got a third one in 2005 Semis by getting to play against Acers. With great determination and focus SCC overcame this challenge in great fashion. They defeated Acers by 25 runs thus ending their woes. SCC has risen by leaps and bounds in the past two years and along the way they have defeated top caliber teams in TCA. There have been nail biting finishes and SCC has always stood up. In the course of past two years SCC has defeated teams like Catalysters, Megastars, Yorkers, Islanders, San Ramon CC to name a few. Beating the Acers in the semis was a dream come true, a dream that every member has lived since they lost to them in 2003 semis. The rise of SCC was inevitable. Kudos!!!
Having just lived their dream SCC went into the finals of 2005 Open to realize another dream. There was no lack of motivation, determination or hunger to win. The finals were held in San Leandro, Pacific field 2. Having narrowly won their second round match against SRCC on the same field SCC camp knew what to expect from the pitch. SCC cheering camp was upbeat from the beginning of the match just as the players. TCA’s expansion in Bay Area has been tremendous and every year they seem to keep getting better. This year’s chief guest was the mayor of San Leandro city (Sheila Young). The ceremonial pitch was thrown by her and after all the hype and fan fare the match was underway.
Having won a tremendous game in semis, SCC opting to bat first lost their 9 batsmen with just 25 runs on board. The last pair of Ranjeet and Ahmed salvaged some pride by putting by 9 runs for the last wicket. 35 runs were never going to be enough against any team and fall of SCC was prolonged till the 12th over. The fellowship of the trophy that SCC has dreamt about came crumbling down with fall of batting. Any email on other TCA team group sums it up “Just see how meekly Saturday CC (35 All Out) surrendered to Bay Tigers”. This was not how SCC folks had thought how the Super Weekend will end.
The taste of defeat sucks. The sleepless nights with nightmares of finals will continue for a long time. Having won the greatest game in the history of SCC to suffering their worst loss, in the span of 24 hours feels like suffering a Tsunami. The rise took 2 years, fall just 2 hours.
SCC once again has to rise from ashes. The arithmetic sequence seems to be on their side 4 (semi), 4 (semi), 2 (finals), 2 (finals). 2006 has got to give them number one status. The Kings must return to power!!! The Jedi’s have to keep on fighting and overcome the dark side. SCC is the chosen one and it’s time will come.

We Live for This!!

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Another thriller finish sees us through to the Semi Finals!!

Saturday CC survived another scare on Saturday against Yorkers to reach the Semi Finals of the TCA Open 2005 tournament. Once again, as has become our habit, we made heavy weather of an easy run chase before pulling through at the finish line.

Yorkers won the toss and elected to bat. Abhay and Kedar M opened the bowling attack for Saturday CC. Both kept things tight at the start. A brilliant piece of fielding from Shankar caused the fall of the first wicket as he sprinted from fine leg to third man and threw the ball back to Shiv just in time to have the batsmen stranded. Kedar got another wicket in the fourth over to have Yorkers pegged back at 9 for 2. Yorkers decided to not take any chances and just play themselves in. Shankar and Ahmed who replaced the opening bowlers kept things tight. The two batsmen moved the score to 28 by the end of the 10th over.

The 11th over by Madan cost 7 runs and there was the fear that the Yorkers would take the attack to the Saturday CC bowlers. However Ahmed took the important wicket of Ramana in the the 12th over. The 14th over, by Shankar, was a beauty as he took a wicket and gave away 0 runs. By the end of the 16th over, Yorkers had reached 47 with 6 wickets in hand. There was a possibility of Yorkers going berserk in the slog overs and putting up a decent total.

However Abhay and Madan kept things tight getting a wicket every over from the 17th over onwards. The last over saw just 2 runs scored as alert fielding from Abhay and Ashish caused two run outs. Yorkers innings ended with a ball to spare. They put up a decent but not all that challenging total of 66. Shankar and Kedar were miserly with their bowling efforts giving away just 5 and 9 runs respectively.

On a ground where there are scoring opportunities in all directions, this seemed like an easy target for Saturday CC to achieve. Parag and Viral started brightly and put up 10 runs in the first three overs. However the team seemed to lose the plot a bit as Viral was bowled in the 4th over trying to play across the line. This wicket was followed by a couple more wickets as Naresh and Parag were out in quick succession, leaving the team tottering at 17 for 3 in the 7th over. However Kedar and Nadeem played sensibly to take us to 32 after 10 overs without any further damage. Kedar hit a wonderful boundary to deep midwicket.

35 runs to get in 10 overs with 7 wickets in hand seemed like an easy enough task. However Kedar lost his wicket in the 11th over trying to hit another boundary and only managed to hole out to deep midwicket. Madan walked in next but was kept off the strike for the next couple of overs. However Nadeem was making sure that the asking rate did not get out of control by getting about 3 runs an over.

Madan hit the first ball of the 14th over for a six over long on. However, he threw his wicket away off the last ball of the over trying to force a shot when one was not required. Wickets thrown away at times when all that is needed is common sense batting puts undue pressure on the batsmen to follow. The next three overs fetched only 7 runs as both Abhay and Nadeem tried to make sure that another wicket was not lost. However Nadeem fell off the last ball of the 17th over with 13 runs still required. Nadeem, who came in at a crucial time, scored 13 runs and was responsible for holding the innings together.

The next over saw both Shiv and Abhay lose their wickets trying to hit big shots when singles would have done the job. Abhay scored 8 runs. Suddenly the tension in the air was palpable, as Saturday CC required 10 more runs with just 2 wickets in hand and only 12 deliveries left. Yorkers had their tails up and were sensing victory.

However Saturday CC’s batting depth came to the fore here. At the crease were Ashish and Shankar. Both of them have played crucial innings in the past and seen the team through on various occasions. Once again, they were entrusted with the responsibility to save our season. The 19th over saw 6 runs scored as the two batsmen ran aggressively and were helped by two wides as well. The last ball of the 19th over saw Ashish and Shankar combine to literally steal a single from the opposition as they converted a tap by Shankar close to his own feet into a run.

With 4 required of the last over, things were going to be tight. Shankar patted the first ball of the over back to the bowler. The equation read 4 required with 5 balls remaining. The aggressive running by the two in the 19th over caused the Yorkers fielders in the outfield cheat a bit to try and save singles from getting converted to doubles. Shankar took full advantage of this the very next ball as he smashed a slightly over pitched delivery over the long on fielder, and actually over the boundary ropes. It was an amazing shot under pressure and was hit with some authority and confidence.

The entire team ran onto the field to congratulate and thank the two batsmen for extending our tournament. It was a thrilling victory and there was relief amongst the team members. The road will only be tougher going into the final weekend. All teams are going to be pumped up, with just 4 teams left standing. The team which wins 2 games next weekend is going to become the TCA Open 2005 Champions.

Lets give it our everything this next weekend and there’s no doubt we can be that team.