Strollers hold nerve to see off HICCs in tense win
posted: August 04
Following last weekend’s enjoyable 30th anniversary celebrations it was back to the serious business of cut-and-thrust Sunday cricket when we headed back to Old Cholmeleians to take on the Highgate Irregulars. Not that Spencer’s nan seemed to have received the memo, faithfully showing up armed once again with copious cupcakes, for which we were very grateful!
With both Dave and Abhik away on operations overseas, Gav stepped in to take the helm and, after consulting with HICCs skipper Charles Trevor, opted for the lesser chosen format of a timed game, with 20 overs from 6pm. Upon winning the toss Gav surprised some by inserting the opposition, although with muggy conditions and thick cloud overhead, the big man sensed something in the air...
Gav’s decision looked sound when Welshman Richard Ferrier was clean bowled early on by a pacey yorker from Harry. Our second wicket followed shortly after when Harry claimed his second, having the dangerous Dyen Ramani caught behind by Paul Murphy, our Irish backstop keeping wicket once again.
Tony Mitchell, returning from a prolonged injury, was next in and joined Yash Singh in the middle. However, with Ravi and Gideon brought in as first and second change, our bowlers continued to pile on the pressure. Yash in particular became increasingly frustrated and in the end was the victim of his own undoing when he tried to force a cover drive off Ravi, only to splice the ball up to Tom.
Our excitement then rose another notch when, next ball, the ever-threatening Alex Gray was cleaned out by Ravi for a golden duck – a prize scalp. Sadly Ravi wasn’t able to claim the hat trick although Charles, in at six, was lucky to survive a sharp caught-and-bowled chance before Tom – having recovered from a nasty blow to the hand earlier on – was brought back on to replace Gideon.
In the face of Tom’s trademark pace Charles chipped one up to The Kitten who safely snaffled the catch in the covers – Davie C, in case you were wondering, still unable to keep wicket due to his ongoing recovery from a broken wrist. In fact, looking alongside at Master Bates’ heavily strapped right arm, the Kitten’s bandages and Tom’s bruised hand, George remarked we were beginning to resemble the Keith Lemon fan club… but at least with no danger of going blind for a while.
Of the HICCs batsmen, predictably it was only Tony who offered anything in the shape of a counter attack and whilst those around him fell he continued to play some attractive stuff to reach a well-earned fifty and see his side into three figures. Giles Elwes, last of the HICCs recognised batsmen, managed to strike a couple of lusty blows before he holed out to Gideon, attempting to hoik George out of the park.
The oppo’s plight got worse when Steve Gray was unceremoniously run out for a duck when Tony called him through for a quick single – Dave’s arm, injured or not, just too quick. Hayden, next in, managed to partner up with Tony to take the HICCs past 150 until Spencer, returning to the attack, bowled him through the gate.
Despite being kept out in the field well past the customary maximum 40 overs, our attack had applied the pressure brilliantly throughout and, eventually, Charles sportingly declared on 167-8… a modest total to be sure but at least something for the HICCs to bowl at.
Sure enough the Irregulars got off to a good start. Cunningly deploying the devastatingly slow Robert Kyriakides to open the bowling (a blatantly inconspicuous ploy to rattle your writer) George and Gav initially weathered the storm – the former getting away with a dropped return catch to Rob until he was trapped leg before by Derek Owen who was brought on at first change. Gav, having struck a couple of feiry fours, followed suit when Hayden switched to bowl slow and likewise had the big man out LBW, trapped low down and plumb in front. Rubin, promoted to four, also struck a couple of good boundaries until Derek had him caught by Tony and, all of a sudden, it looked like the HICCs had found a way back into the game.
Thankfully Tom and Spencer batted sensibly and fluidly to restore some composure to our innings and kept the scoreboard ticking over nicely, bringing up our hundred without further incident. Their impressive fourth wicket stand was eventually broken when Spencer became the third Stroller to fall LBW, this time to Giles. Tom batted on for a while but was unlucky not to notch up a well-earned fifty when Dyen swapped the keeper’s gloves with Charles and bowled him with a full delivery that jagged back.
Paul, next in, looked to defend and sure up our efforts but was quickly undone when somehow Rob Kyriakides managed to swoop down low to his right to take a superb one handed catch at point, Murphy lucklessly departing for a duck.
With fifty or so still to get and wickets tumbling, concern mounted amongst the Strollers ranks that we may have left ourselves too much to do. But before we had a chance to contemplate shutting up shop and batting out the remaining overs for a disappointing draw, Harry decided we were not to be beaten.
Batting cannily, Brown Jnr safely put the bad balls away whilst Ravi, in at eight, rode his luck and lashed out at anything loose. Having sailed past 150 a couple of big boundaries brought the winning line into view and, with a huge heave, Ravi smacked a six over midwicket to take us home with two overs to spare, Harry having held his nerve not out once again with a vital 21. A very good win then, made possible firstly by a great all round effort from our varied bowling attack followed by a couple of crucial partnerships with the bat.
Great work by all concerned!