Strollers steal sensational away win at Acme
posted: July 2, 2018
Our inaugural clash against the catastrophically named Acme CC provided all the cartoon capers in the way of (much) blood, (much) sweat and not a few tears (of joy), that one might expect. It was also our first visit to the beautiful Brentham Club in west London, where the massive cricket pitch is nestled away behind a picturesque bowling green and lawn tennis courts, adjoined by an old-fashioned pavilion... had he been with us, our much-missed traditionalist Mr. Boughey would have doubtlessly described it as the delightful stuff of his dreams.
Upon losing the toss we were predictably sent out to field in truly sweltering conditions and, after a couple of early breakthroughs from Abhik were duly made to suffer by sometime Stroller Haris Mashkoor, turning out at number three for his home side.
After surviving an early nick behind Haris went on to punish us with some beautiful batting, tiring out his weary Stroller chums with repeated chases to the long boundaries in temperatures north of 30 degrees (With friends like that etc… – Ed). A couple of wickets fell when Ron and Davie G were brought on but Haris was well on the way to notching up a towering ton, and only once that was in the bag did he offer us another chance – this time he was thankfully caught at deep midwicket by Ron off Abhik and departed the field for a superb 117.
However, Acme batted on with Reid punishing us repeatedly with some fearsome heaves to the on side to our further groans as we gave chase. Mercifully Ron forced a return catch off his own bowling and Reid was dismissed for 40, but not before the score had sailed well past 200. From here on it was simply a case of mopping up the tail, which we duly did but not without cost as, with Viral clean bowling Stitfall with a rocketing beamer, Davie C came a cropper behind the stumps. In what can only be described as a freak occurrence the ball, having clattered into the bails, ricocheted viciously up and planted the Kitten square in the noggin at high speed. After the sickening thwack, anxious moments followed as Davie lay prone on the floor spouting claret.
To the immense relief of everyone around, a nasty gash at the top of Davie's suspected broken nose was to be the full extent of the damage… that and a new resemblance to Mike Gatting, circa winter 1986. An inch either side and we dread to think what the consequences may have been... Viral and players from both sides scrambled to assist and, having escorted him from the pitch (leaving a sizeable puddle of blood behind) Dave was whisked off by ambulance to hospital where it was found that thankfully there was no fracture.
So, with much relief all round our attention reverted to the cricket match in hand, with Acme kindly offering to declare and close their innings early. George graciously declined, and it proved not to matter much as the home side were promptly dismissed in the final over for 245, Ron claiming an excellent threefer in the process. There was plenty still to come from Ron Boundary… but more of that later.
After all the commotion of the Kitten’s injury, over a splendid tea – one would expect nothing less from the Brentham Club after all – the realisation slowly sank in that Acme had in the meantime posted a rather substantial total, with a required run-rate in excess of 7 per over from the off.
However, unfazed George and Abhik (newly promoted to open the innings) got us off to a flier, the skipper riding his luck somewhat with some thickish edges flung to the third man boundary and the vice skipper rather more stylishly flaying the attack square of the wicket. The rate was comfortably met and the fifty was reached without incident in the sixth over.
Unfortunately, just as we seemed to have comfortably hit our groove, Abhik misjudged a yorker and was bowled round his legs for 20. George hung around a bit longer and managed to dispatch several more boundaries but he too was bowled eventually, this time by Haris for 33. However, Dickie and Viral – in at three and four respectively – did well to keep the momentum up, with both batsmen making the most of the spacious gaps around the huge field… much as the boundaries were a long way away to reach, they were also difficult to defend with a lightning fast outfield, such as there was.
Viral had made his way to 23 before he marched down the wicket to hit Jacor out of the ground only to misjudge and became our third victim to be clean bowled. Gav’s plans to voluntarily drop down the order to finally score some serious runs this season were quickly scuppered when he promptly holed out to Haris at mid on and further trouble struck when, disastrously, Ron called Dickie for a single that was never there and Betts was run out in his pomp for a promising 26. Whilst our run rate was still good, wickets were tumbling all too fast and the spectre of defeat loomed gloomily in the dwindling evening light.
However Ron had other ideas. Possibly (nay, certainly) fuelled by performance-enhancing supplements our middle order maverick batted like a man possessed, screaming like a Banshee to turn unlikely twos into impossibly run threes. Thankfully his batting partners Jatin (débuting for the Strollers) and then Anjana (kindly on loan from Acme themselves) were equal to the challenge – that they still had the energy to sprint at the end of such a long and searingly hot day was something of a miracle.
Nervous Strollers looked on from the boundary as, in the thirtieth over, we passed 200. Happily our morale was boosted by the sight of Davie C who had made his way back from hospital – nose freshly stitched and bandaged up and resembling something akin to Manimal (from the 1980s US fantasy TV series of the same name) – who parked himself on the boundary with a large beer to enjoy the final throes of a thrilling encounter.
Haris had again managed to get through Jatin’s defences and Anjana eventually fell to Kandasamy, although both had played their part as supporting sprinter very well. Davie G took up duties at the non-striker’s end and, with 9 runs per over required from the last three Ron – who had long since passed his fifty – simply threw the kitchen sink at everything going and, with a flurry of beautifully timed boundaries over cover and some frankly insane running between ends, he had Acme on the ropes.
In the end, to massive hugs and cheers from all assembled on the boundary, Ron took us home in with more than an over to spare – a truly Herculean effort which, on top of his three wickets taken earlier in the afternoon, clearly earned him the thoroughly deserved Man of the Match plaudits. If ever anyone had earned a ton it was Ron but whilst unfortunately he didn’t have the opportunity to get that far, his innings will doubtless go down as one of the greatest in Strollers history.
As much as we had astonishingly lost our midweek T20 match against the Trundlers from a seemingly unlosable position a few days earlier, we similarly astonished ourselves that we had found a way to win… all the more pleasing in the face of what had happened to the Kitten’s face.
If this is how our first encounter with Acme went we can eagerly look forward to more in coming seasons. Both teams adjourned to the delightful pavilion to sink a few beers together and enjoy the ensuing penalty shoot out in the World Cup between Croatia and Denmark. But frankly we’d had more than enough drama for one day! Special thanks must go to Haris and all at Acme – for the record a thoroughly nice bunch of gentlemen – for inviting us along for a great day.