Shepherd Neame Middlesex Premier Cricket League: Eastcote 257 drew with Finchley 172 for 9
Eastcote produced a performance full of mettle and character against third place Finchley in the Middlesex County Cricket League on Saturday, outplaying their North London visitors to take four points for a winning draw and banish their relegation demons.
An early start saw another lost toss and another invitation to bat first for captain Chris Coleman.
Tom Scollay set about the Finchley bowling in signature style with Jivan Lotay supporting at the other end.
When Lotay (2) edged into the slips, Scollay carried on playing his shots before he fell to a straightforward slip catch, at which point he had scored 39 out of the total of 43 for two. This precipitated an all too familiar Eastcote mini-collapse as Sagoo (6) and Good-child (5) soon followed reducing the Southill Lane men to 60 for four.
Chris Coleman (19) and Sachin Gulvady then came together at the crease to stop the rot and together put on 73 for the fifth wicket.
Gulvady barely noticed the loss of his captain as he was replaced by Alan Coleman (31) and these two added a further 68 runs to make it a fine day for the Eastcote middle order.
Gulvady (113) played with style and power as he amassed a formidable total for his team, and also scored his own maiden century for the first team.
Eventually the home side were all out for 257 in the 67th over, posting a lofty target for Finchley to chase.
In reply Finchley were soon in difficulties, losing both openers with only seven runs on the board as Metcalfe and Alan Coleman exposed the Finchley frailties. A brief rally by Bishop (21) was ended by Coleman to make it 34 for three.
Man of the match Gulvady capped his day with a fine pick up and throw to send Rob Clements (11) back to the pavilion and when James was dismissed first ball by Collier, Finchley were in trouble at 50 for five.
Eastcote got a sniff of 10 points when Goodchild joined the party dismissing Milton (3) to reduce the visitors to 63 for six.
Steve Selwood was still there though and with Ed Clements valiantly tried to keep his side in the game. Together they added 90 for the seventh wicket before Clements (25) was run out to make it 153 for six.
Selwood went on to make a fine 87 but he too fell just four runs later, to be followed by Tailor (0) without adding to the total.
Eastcote now had Finchley on the ropes at 157 for nine and with nine overs remaining the game was theirs for the taking.
Once again they were denied by stalwart defending - and a modicum of Finchley luck when Banham (12not out) was bowled by Collier in the penultimate over, only to see salvation in the form of the umpires outstretched arm and call of 'no ball'
Nevertheless Eastcote took four points for a faster run rate, these valuable points lifted them clear of the drop zone, and they can look forward to the last game of the league season at Brondesbury with the pressure off.