Strollers still searching for first win after Bohos take the spoils
posted: June 5, 2017
On the day after yet another atrocious act of the senseless barbarism that continues to blight our fair city, the ongoing travails of a silly Sunday cricket side may have felt somewhat inconsequential. However I am sure this writer is not alone in his belief that, in playing on and spending a Sunday afternoon in the company of good friends taking part in a game that is beloved the world over by millions — comprised of all faiths and none — we in our own small way demonstrated that same stoic resistance for which Londoners through the ages have rightly been famed.
As it was, yesterday's compelling encounter with the Battersea Bohemians at Crouch End CC was almost a classic. With Rob again winning the toss and sending us in, we struggled early on against a scintillating spell from openers McCaskill and Botterill that saw George and Spencer sent back to the hutch without troubling the scorers. However Gav proved harder to shift as he — fresh from a fifty the previous week — mounted a counter-attack, pouncing on anything loose to keep the scoreboard ticking over. Tim at the other end played with greater circumspection and between them Richardson and Sturm successfully saw off the Bohos' openers.
However with the field set back the second-string attack tempted Gav with some wider stuff and, eventually, the trap worked — the big man well caught for 40 at cover point by Kelly. This brought Ron to the crease, just three days after taking part in a pro-am charity match where he pitted his skills alongside the likes of Mark Ramprakash and Simon Jones. Being in the company of test class players seemed to have rubbed off and Ron frequently found the Boundary with a series of thumping blows, mainly straight back over the bowler's head. Tim happily continued to play a supporting role but with nippy running between the wickets his own score began to mount.
Ron's freewheeling strokeplay combined with a degree of good fortune saw him reach a fine 50 at which point his luck ran out when he holed out to Botterill waiting at long on. This, along with the introduction of Rob from the far end, was Tim's cue to shift up through the gears as he clattered the ball to all parts.
With the 150 now well behind us, a brief cameo from Abhik came to an end when McCaskill was reintroduced, the Bohos’ opener finding his way through the gate. This brought Tom to the wicket who, following a broken elbow, happily made his way out the middle for the first time this year with intent. Harvey set off like a rocket with a fearsome assault on the Bohos' bowling and the boundaries flowed to the whoops of delight from those on the sidelines.
Tim, having also notched up his half century also looked to make hay in the final overs but came unstuck by a fearsome return from Kelly in the deep that stopped him in his tracks and ran him out for a fantastic 67. Nevertheless Tom, supported by Gideon, continued to pile on the runs until a final miserly over from McCaskill saw us close on 228-6 ...a very respectable score, especially considering our faltered start.
After a frankly delicious curry that stood in for the standard English tea, we took the field in high spirits but our feelings were quickly muted by some fearsome strokeplay from the Bohos openers, taking advantage of some uncharacteristically loose stuff early on from Abhik and Spencer and riding their luck with some edgy stuff that made it's way to the boundary.
Abhik made way for Ron, whose left arm spin immediately posed the batsmen greater challenges. Perhaps this led to the lapse in Kelly's concentration that allowed one from Spencer to skid through the gate. However Richard Meier, in at three, continued in much the same vein as his last knock against us (when he scored an unbeaten half century in the Bohos' T20 win last week) as he thumped the ball repeatedly through the V for four.
The oppo’s firecracker start saw the Bohemians past the hundred mark at drinks and we all agreed something needed to change. For the first time since his man-of-the-match spell in Lanzarote George, skippering for the day, brought himself on and was somehow rewarded first ball when Jones contrived to play inside out and nick a ball (that pitched well outside leg) to Tim’s waiting gloves behind, much to our collective joy. The Mad Dog bit again when a couple of balls later he had Kilpatrick playing completely down the wrong line, bowling him for a duck.
Sam shortly thereafter collected his long overdue first wicket of the season when Abhik at mid off held onto a scorching shot driven to his midriff from Meier, sending him packing for 31 and by now we felt the game may again be turning in our favour. However McCaskill, in at six, had other ideas and the strong Kiwi carried on with the bat with the same ferocity he had shown with the ball. With Russ Leece providing solid support, Dave repeatedly hoisted the ball over our field and suddenly what seemed like a decent score that we had posted looked under threat.
With the score approaching 200 Sandeep, in his first Strollers spell, managed to dislodge Russ with a clever off-cutter and, had McCaskill been given run out for failing to make his ground shortly after that (he controversially wasn't), perhaps the outcome of the game would have gone our way.
As it was, Leece's wicket was to be the last to fall and the Bohos marched on to a victory that came in the penultimate over, thanks to a tame wide — a frustrating end to what had undoubtedly been a great game and, more importantly a much needed tonic and welcome distraction from the events of the previous night. The win may have eluded us yet again but we had generally played well and the feeling that better things are around the corner will doubtlessly maintain our spirits.