Strollers break new ground with winning start over Ploughmans
posted: May 6
Having been unceremoniously gazumped by NLCC for what should have been our first match of the season last weekend, and with the Beamers then crying off their scheduled fixture against us, it was a relief to finally play some cricket yesterday. With newfound oppo – the tastily-named Ploughmans CC – kindly offering us a game we assembled in decidedly chilly conditions at Dulwich Sports Ground.
With the two captains striking an accord, it was agreed that we should field first and we started off well. Both Viral and Spencer bowled a testing line, frequently beating the bat with the Ploughmans’ openers finding it almost impossible to score on a soft pitch with a sluggish outfield. Viral made the first breakthrough, yorking Gledhill. Lonsdale, having luckily survived a couple of close appeals behind eventually nicked one to Matt ‘The Cat’ from Abhik, who had now taken over from Viral. Abhik followed this up by bowling Tailor through the gate, leaving the opposition reeling on 10-3.
Ridgeway, in at three, looked more threatening and took advantage of some looser stuff from Gideon and had made his way to 32 before he lofted a drive from Davie G high up and promptly down Abhik’s throat at long on, where he took a great catch.
Lockhart, the Ploughmans’ number five, proved harder to shift and with a combination of patience, good batting and a slice of luck (he too surviving several close appeals from behind) helped his side up and past the hundred, to restore some respectability to their score. His partners weren’t faring so well, though as wickets continued to tumble.
Hearts were in mouths when George, fielding at long off, attempted to snaffle a catch hit flat and fast towards him but managed only to get a hand to the ball before it motored on into his left eye socket, leaving the Mad Dog dizzy with the beginnings of a nasty black eye.
George sensibly left the field to recover whilst, in the meantime, Viral returned to the attack to see off Flannery and Baveas to claim a well-earned threefer. Lockhart had reached a deserved half century before Spencer also returned and finally managed to get through his defences to pick up a thoroughly-deserved wicket. He followed that up by having Sutton safely caught by Gaurav at gully and, after Ryves needlessly ran himself out, the oppo closed on a modest 149-8, Spencer finishing with miserly figures of 7-2 from his allotted eight overs.
But whilst the Ploughmans’ score may have looked somewhat below par, our response was also not what we expected or wanted, as first Gav and then Harsh were dismissed almost instantly by the pacey Lonsdale whose late swing cleared Richardson off for a fourth ball duck and had Joshi edging behind for just a single.
Abhik, in at three, looked more confident with some lusty strokes square of the wicket. Spencer applied a little more caution and did well to see off the threat of Lonsdale. Whilst progress was never rapid, Fowler and Ghosh safely took us past fifty without further loss although shortly afterwards, Abhik lofted one up to mid on who held on and he departed for a valuable 39.
Gaurav, next in, looked in good touch and with Spencer took us close to the hundred mark before he too was caught for 22. With the winning line just beginning to roam into view, Viral marched in at six and defiantly blasted a trademark four and a six to take us into three figures before spooning his third ball up to cover …and suddenly the opposition smelt the whiff of a chance.
For whilst plenty of overs remained, wickets were tumbling and our nerves jangled as both Matt and then George (gamely returning to bat) were both dismissed by Flannery without troubling the scorers. However Varun, next in and making his Strollers début, looked rather more composed as he – with Spencer – stubbornly resisted the pace of Lonsdale who had returned to try to mop up our tail.
However the Ploughmans’ pace man failed to do so, and with no further overs to play with, the oppo were forced to revert to spin. This allowed Spencer to open his shoulders, first to notch up a well-earned fifty and then, with a series of powerful straight drives, take us safely home and over the winning line. This much to the delight of our skipper Davie Gorton who had achieved what so many of his predecessors had failed to do by winning our first match of the year.
Congratulations must go to Spencer for yet another man-of-the-match performance and to all involved for a great start to what promises to be another vintage season ahead!