Strollers post too few to trouble HICCs at Old Cholms
posted: August 2, 2020
After last weekend's run-fest the Strollers slipped to a second defeat of the season this afternoon in a low-scoring clash against old foes the Highgate Irregulars. Our efforts were not helped by a few late withdrawals meaning the Strollers side that took the field at Old Cholmeleians was not the strongest, boasting no fewer than three débutants including Frenchman and mate of Dave Couldrey's, Axel-Marie Bernard who had never played a game of cricket in his life, until now.
Having lost the toss we were duly inserted on a pitch that offered variable bounce, which might account for the early loss of Ron – promoted to open the innings – who chipped a leading-edge pull shot to Yogesh at midwicket off the third ball. Rohit, similarly boosted up the order, fared rather better and batted sensibly alongside Davie C ensuring that we passed 50 without further loss. However, having hit some attractive boundaries square of the wicket, Rohit was eventually caught in the deep by Diyen, and departed for a personal best 23.
Having looked in good nick thus far, the Kitten looked a tad bewildered as he was then bowled round his legs by a loopy one that turned from Gallagher Snr. Dickie fared little better, hoiking one up to Diyen in the covers. However Gav, in at four, looked in decent touch and took us past the drinks break with a succession of powerful boundaries. Unfortunately, having just completed a rarely-run two, the puffed-out big man found himself the architect of his own downfall next ball. Having hit what looked like a regulation single down to mid on, Alex Gray (easily the most athletic of the HICCs) raced round and hurled down the stumps with a flat tracer bullet of a throw before Gav could make his ground, and thus Richardson sadly departed for 21.
Controversy reined when Yash, keeping wicket, claimed the run out of his opposite number Robin but succeeded only in throwing the ball onto a discarded cap behind the stumps – which refused to break – insodoing awarding us five penalty runs. However, Raven shortly holed out to Gallagher and, though with the hundred up, skipper Davie G looked to up our total with a couple of lusty blows, he too departed in single figures. Avnish kept the scoreboard ticking over until Diyen castled him for 14 leaving Axel to hold out with our star signing, Rob Kyriakides – the retired Irregular who had only shown up to watch. However, with seven balls remaining, Rob's resistance crumbled when he was bowled for just a single, meaning we closed on a paltry 132 all out.
After a twenty minute break, the HICCs' openers Tony and Yash marched out to bat – a formidable duo by any reckoning – however they were kept in check by Rohit, who bowled a miserly line from the off, matched by some sharp glovework from Robin standing behind the stumps. Avnish at the other end was a little more expensive so, with not many to play with, Dave brought himself on and was seething to be denied Yash's scalp after what looked like a perilously adjacent LBW shout.
The oppo batsmen powered on but had only just notched up their fifty when Dave struck our first blow with an inswinger causing Tony to play on. Yash used up a second life when he was put down at midwicket by Davie C however, when Ron was brought on from the pavilion end, his luck ran out when the Kitten snaffled a far harder catch in the covers next over.
This brought big hitting Alex Gray to the middle who promptly smacked a couple of fearsome fours, only to be bamboozled by Ron who skidded a low one through the gate to bowl him for just 8 – a key breakthrough. Sadly though, any sniff of an unlikely win was snuffed out, as Yogesh batted calmly and effectively, steering his side past the hundred without further loss. With his new partner in the middle, Gallagher Jnr, building in confidence the HICCs' target loomed. As a last throw of the dice, Dave decided this might be a good time to give Axel the opportunity to bowl for the first time in his life, although clearly the fineries of a classic bowling action never really crossed the English Channel as with his first ball, the young Frenchman took a long run up and then threw the ball at pace down the legside... much to the amusement of his newfound (and chuckling) British chums.
Inevitably, the HICCs reached their target with five overs to spare and, despite the oppo's gracious thanks for an enjoyable game, we knew that we had posted a total at least forty runs or so shy of where is needed to be. Hopefully the Strollers will be back at full strength for the games that remain in this shortened season.