George grabs the glory with brilliant ton to beat Bricklayers
posted: June 5, 2016
It was not without a due sense of relief that we finally managed to get our first Sunday home game of the season in today and notch up our first win of the year in the process ...and what a performance it was, sealing a crushing victory over the Bricklayers Arms. With Ferme Park bathed in glorious sunshine and looking more resplendent than this writer can ever remember, we truly turned on the style.
On winning the toss we made first use and took full advantage of a flat (if greenish) track with Gav and George getting us underway with a solid start, the former accelerating quickly with several well timed boundaries including a huge six early on over midwicket. George too looked to get in on the act and the pair notched up the fifty stand without incident. Then, with the score on 72 and having seen off the Bricklayers' opening attack, Gav was finally undone by the oppo's first change bowler who sent down an out swinger which got through the big man's defences, bowling him for 41. Matt, next in, can consider himself unlucky as he was dismissed cheaply offering up a caught and bowled half chance that was sharply snapped up by Sukul.
This brought Tim to the crease, still somewhat sore from his controversial dismissal in our last game and clearly with a point to prove. Starting in measured fashion, George took on the more attacking strokes and by drinks we were already well over the hundred mark. After drinks it was one way traffic as both batsmen helped themselves to some loose deliveries and boundaries came thick and fast as, in turn, they recorded half centuries. Without pause, they kicked on passing the two hundred mark with still seven overs remaining. Tim was by now in full attacking mode — himself matching Gav's earlier maximum with an enormous straight six into the bushes — and, having surpassed his previous personal best moved ahead of George in the scorebook and into the nervous nineties. However, without warning, the seemingly innocuous Lal somehow got one through and nicked Sturm's off stump, cruelly denying him a maiden ton as he fell for 93 — a magnificent knock nonetheless.
Kashif's pal Hamed, having flown in from New York (we would love to say especially to guest for the Strollers), was next in but his journey of thousands of miles was undone immediately as he skied one with a leading edge and was well caught by oppo skipper Ottley off his own bowling. This brought Viral to the crease who — in typically restrained and measured fashion — got off the mark by planting a huge six into the tennis courts off his first delivery and carried on in much the same fashion until the end of our innings.
However, there remained the matter of George at the other end who not only had been quietly accumulating enough runs to easily eclipse his previous best (66) but also that sensed a century for himself might be in the offing. Viral too was sensitive to the situation and generously farmed the strike to ensure that George, requiring four off our final over to nab a ton, had his opportunity. Hearts were in mouths when George had a low catch opportunity dropped at mid wicket off the second ball of the over and one sensed that today might actually be his day. So it was that when, next ball, a misfield resulted in overthrows and cheers bellowed from the boundary as Brown, aged 51 and veteran of the Strollers, turned for two and finally hit that elusive hundred he had been seeking for so many years! Perhaps it was fate that his family had turned out to watch — Mrs Brown and Mrs Brown Snr filming from the boundary. As he walked off to a standing ovation from all present, we basked in the glory not only of George's great unbeaten knock but also the mightily impressive total we had managed to post — 275-4 being a huge return, even on Ferme Park.
After a highly satisfying tea we took to the field, Gav taking full advantage of the formidable target we had set, and posting an aggressive field with slips, gullies and close catchers aplenty. However it took a few overs for our opening attack, comprised of Tom and Kashif, to find their line. But soon Kash clicked and skidded one beneath Lal's bat to make the first breakthrough.
There then followed what can only be described as a rout, firstly with Tom getting in on the act to have Sukul caught neatly by Hamed at mid off, and then Kash ripping through the Bricklayers' middle order with a brace of quick wickets. Tom picked up another to bowl Dunn (with what some team mates noted to be his first straight ball) before Kash nearly managed to collect a hat-trick firstly defeating Black with clever flight and then bowling Singh the next ball. However, he did manage to notch up a well deserved first five-for by adding the wickets of Sharma (triggered for LBW) and Winpenny to his tally, before Gav — noting the Bricklayers had still to pass fifty! — decided to give someone else a go.
Sam, taking over from Tom, gamely trundled in and was unlucky not to claim a wicket, but it was Hamed — now operating from the far end — who was to prove the finisher as, with his wild leg spin, he quickly did for James (wearing jeans and dubiously swaying as he stood, having possibly enjoyed a shandy too many), wicketkeeper Chris Locke and the returning Sharma, dismissing the Bricklayers for a paltry 65, over two hundred runs adrift of their target.
Huge though the margin of victory was and one sided as the match may have been (and the Bricklayers Arms have notably fielded stronger sides in years gone by) but, as the saying goes, you can only play what is put in front of you and after all the frustrations of recent weeks, with bad weather and clashing commitments hampering our progress, it was a hugely satisfying win and all Strollers involved should rightly feel proud of their efforts... none more so than Tim (recording a PB), Kash for five well taken wickets and of course that man Georgie 'Mad Dog' Brown proving that, after all, the best things come to those who wait. Bravo!