Hammers Hit Hard in First London T20 Matches

Local Cricketers compete against teams from 11 other boroughs

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London T20, the new grass roots version of the famous World Twenty20 cricket tournament is underway, with teams from 12 London boroughs battling it out for the top prize of £11,000.

A team representing Hammersmith and Fulham is among the competitors, playing their first two matches on Wandsworth Common last Sunday.

Below, Captain Ben Smith reports on a valiant opening effort from the Hammers, who were forced by illness to compete with only nine players. They faced a challenge from the City of London, followed by Barking and Dagenham.

Captain Ben Smith won the toss and elected to bat on a glorious sunny day for cricket. Hammersmith and Fulham, dubbed the Hammers by friend and foe alike, reached 135 batting against City of London with a notable performance from Matthew Orford, quickly reaching his 50 with some big hits.

As the Hammers had only nine players, the the City of London captain generously gave the Hammers a last man stands, but this tenth batsman lasted only a few extra balls before succumbing.

A thrilling finish beckoned, with City of London seven wickets down for 80 odd runs. There was a great effort from the Hammers' two opening bowlers, Rukshan Weeratne and Pramod Bhaskaran who both took early wickets. However, City of London held their nerve till the end, coming home with two wickets and an over to spare.

The result left the Hammers a tad dejected, realising that they had let a game they really should have won slip through their fingers.

After a mere 20 minute break the Hammers were back, this time playing Barking and Dagenham. Barking batted first, and slaughtered the Hammers' opening bowling, posting 60+ runs in the first four overs. They continued at the same massive run-rate for the following 6 overs, which had the crowd talking of a possible 300!

At first, the Hammers struggled to bowl their overs within the time allotted - largely due to the huge Barking hits and the time it took to recover the ball - but then the unthinkable began to happen and Barking wickets began to fall, with the team losing their nerve and falling all out in seventeen overs.

Barking still posted a massive 198, but this was much less than expected considering the first ten overs.

Notable bowling performances among the Hammers were from Hugh Logan, who took wickets bamboozling the opposition batsman with his loopy left arm wrist spinners and then Matthew Offord, who contributed with some very tight bowling.

The Hammers knew going into bat that things were going to be difficult, and in the end it only took 13 overs for Barking to polish off the remaining batsmen. Ultimately the Hammers would find themselves over a hundred runs short at the end of the day.

Despite these defeats however, the Hammers remained chirpy and will be hoping for better luck when they return to Wandsworth Common for next round this Sunday, June 21.

London T20 matches will take place every Sunday throughout the summer, with the finals taking place on August 16.

18th June 2009