Trundlers hang on to see off Strollers in tense finish
posted: September 13, 2021
After a close-fought game in which the advantage swung from one side to the other, and then back again, it was the Tetherdown Trundlers who eventually emerged victorious in our penultimate match of the season at Ferme Park yesterday.
Having lost the toss we were sent in to bat – a decision that seemed puzzling to us until we saw paceman Shane Kohler tear through our top order, dislodging both George and Abhik for no score. At the other end Kash, in untypical fashion, danced down the track to take on Olly Buxton, swung, missed and was bowled for just 5.
With three down and only 11 on the board we were reeling but thankfully Tim, making only his second appearance of the season, dug in determined to rebuild. Joined by Gav – in at five – the pair battened down the hatches to see off the Trundlers' opening attack. With the introduction of spin at both ends the Strollers batsmen sensed their opportunity to score and with a powerful off drive for four, Gav got his innings underway.
Having steadied the ship for a few more overs Gav lit the touch paper with a brace of big straight sixes over the bemused head of Curtis. Tim settled into a supporting role as Gav, having luckily been put down at cover, kicked into fifth gear after drinks with a barrage of boundaries all round the park. Before he knew it Gav had notched up a valuable fifty but, having put on a vital 80+ fourth wicket stand, the big man departed shortly afterwards thanks to a sharp stumping by Steve Phillips.
Harry sought to continue the onslaught but unfortunately holed out when he tried to clobber Guy Grainger into the deep. However this brought Viral to the middle who exploded into action with some rapid scoring. Tim, who had patiently anchored the innings so far, got into the act with an enormous heave over deep midwicket sending the ball into the Highgate tennis courts. Repeating the feat at the other end, Tim made his way to his own half century (crucial in the context of the game) and nudged a few more before gamely retiring on 58 to make way for Ron to join Viral for the blitzkrieg of the final ten overs.
The Trundlers looked on in dismay as messrs Doshi and Banerjee carted their bowlers to all parts – Viral's razor-sharp hand/ eye co-ordination allowing him to make a mess of Kohler's figures as he crashed the paceman for repeated boundaries. Ron offered the Tetherdown attack no respite as he crashed repeated sixes over midwicket. Having taken our score past the 200 mark Viral took one swing too many and was well caught at cover off Guy, departing for 43.
Avnish offered no let-up as he picked up the baton with a trio of quickfire boundaries on his way to 15 before Buxton was brought back on to end his cameo with a yorker. Our innings ended when, on the final ball, Ron scampered in trademark fashion to nab a second that wasn't really there, typically 'Ron-ing out' Rohit but we closed on a very respectable 231-8... no mean feat considering our calamitous start.
After a generous North London tea we returned to the pitch in fine spirits, ready to defend our total. However, our mood darkened quickly as Tetherdown openers Ball and Laddie got off to a flier. With Viral bowling up the hill the Trundlers were able to get on top of his pace with Laddie in particular finding a fondness for blasting the ball back through the V to the long boundary. With the oppo keeping up well with the required run rate our concern grew until finally, in the twelfth over and with the score on 85, Avnish skidded one through Laddie's defences and we claimed our first scalp.
However the Trundlers number three Steve Phillips kept the momentum up joining Ball to keep the score ticking over and by drinks the oppo were precisely halfway towards their target. Sam Ball notched up his fifty before Harry was brought on at the top end to take on his former coach and celebrated with glee when he was yorked for 60. Our spirits leaped further when skipper Guy Grainger – a man more than capable of hitting big hundreds – top edged one from Kash to backward square leg where Ron gladly took the catch. Tetherdown's number five, the South African Hendrick, caused some confusion and mild amusement asking for 'two legs' when he took his guard but for all his care and preparation he was promptly undone when Harry had him trapped plumb before.
Sensing that we were clawing our way back into the game, Phillips had just reached his fifty when he scooped one up to Kash at midwicket, handing Harry a three-fer. Ron came on to replace Kash at the lower end and expertly skidded a top-spinner through Kohler's defences, repeating the trick the following over to see off McGregor – neither batsmen troubling the scorers.
This lumped all the responsibility onto the shoulders of Olly Buxton who, having batted watchfully thus far, decided this was the moment to take the attack to the Strollers and began heaving the ball repeatedly through cow corner. In a decisive blow,
Buxton carted 15 off Ron's final over and with his partner Curtis sensibly farming the strike, the odds swung back in the oppo's direction. With a final throw of the dice, Kash was brought back on but could do nothing to blunt Buxton's onslaught and, with just 14 balls to spare, Olly heaved one last six over midwicket and
victory was theirs.
A great game nonetheless and, as we sat on the outfield for a final pint at North London for the year, we reflected on what might have been. Let's hope we can end what has been a wonderful season on a high next Sunday when we head out for our last hurrah at Hawridge & Cholesbury.