Beamers bested by brilliant Strollers in tense T20
posted: July 14, 2017
We extended our winning streak with a fifth victory in a row thanks to a great win last night over old rivals the Beamers, in our latest T20 clash at North Middlesex CC.
Both sides were down to ten men with the eleventh hour withdrawals of, on our side, Harsh (fell down the stairs) and, on theirs, Christian Wolmar (shame). Oppo skipper Mark Pittman won the toss and, with the nights now just beginning to creep in, predictably elected to make best use of the light and bat first.
His opening pair rewarded the decision with a rampant start, with both Dixon and Matthews clubbing the ball around and running like gazelles with such veracity that initially we went for a constant 10 an over.
In the fifth over and with the score already on 42 the onslaught was stayed somewhat when Harry – on first change – dug in a short one and Matthews, in full flight on 33, skied an attempted pull straight to Abhik at deep square leg who happily took the catch, much to the batsman’s fury. Nevertheless the Beamers blustered on with gusto and when an enormous six from Wright – in at three – somehow cleared both the North Middlesex and Calthorpe fences, we feared that we may be facing a target approaching 200.
However a vital breakthrough came when Al Dixon – having already streakily survived a strong shout for LBW – lobbed up a leading edge to a short one from Tom. George, at mid off, made good ground to get round in front of the sight screen where he collected a great catch.
At the change of ends after ten overs, the Beamers remained in a strong position with the score on an impressive 91-2 but thankfully the second half of their innings decidedly swung our way. Firstly, Harry nabbed a textbook dismissal to have Wright neatly caught behind by the Kitten (there’s life in the old gloves yet! – Ed).
Then Paul Bowstead, making a belated start to his season following a trip Down Under, opened his account for the year with the key wicket of the ever-dangerous Andy Blount, sending his off stump out of the ground.
Bowstead claimed another when James sent a mistimed off drive into the stratosphere only to see the ball plummet earthward where Viral was ready and waiting – the skipper jubilantly pouching a difficult catch. Mark Pittman, in next, failed to trouble the scorers at all when Paul once again scattered his stumps, notching up an excellent three-for in the process.
With the oppo’s big hitters now all gone, all that remained was a clean-up job for which Viral turned to Tom Bowler who also claimed three by mopping up Martland and Wood for not very many, the stumps simply refusing to remain in the ground. Our excellent efforts with the ball and in the field had been rewarded – from a threatening platform of 100-2 the Beamers had pleasingly collapsed to 135 all out… a total decidedly more gettable than that which we had expected to chase earlier in the evening.
To frustrate us, the Beamers cannily opened with spin. However despite the early loss of Dave (who played down the wrong line to one from Ralph Edney), we made a solid enough start with George and Nick trundling along at a measured pace taking us to fifty from the first eight overs.
However we then hit a wobble, firstly with the loss of George who let one through from the wily Joe Wood. Gav, in at four, lasted only one ball and cursed his luck as he scooped Wood’s next ball directly to the lone fielder Martland standing at backward square leg. Matt fared little better when Martland, now on himself, clipped Morgan’s off bail with an away-swinger.
With still seventy-odd to get tensions on the boundary mounted but were settled somewhat as, between them, Nick and Abhik reignited our innings with some good strokeplay – Abhik, again borrowing Big Gav’s big bat, lofted several back over the bowler’s head whilst Nick batted beautifully and frequently found the boundary through the V.
Unfortunately Nick’s knock came to a sudden end when Mark, bringing himself on at the change of ends, found his way through the gate and sent Malcolmess back to the hutch for a fine 33. However Tom, in next, ensured our progress didn’t falter and batted with customary aggression by punching several powerful boundaries square of the wicket, scattering the Beamers’ field back to the ropes.
Still, although we had passed the hundred mark, as the game approached it’s denouement the required rate remained around 7 per over and our nerves remained on edge, particularly when Abhik narrowly avoided getting caught at long on – his low drive thankfully just out of Martland’s reach. Having struck 37 vital runs, Abhik was finally undone by James who got one through to shatter his stumps.
With the light now rapidly fading Viral, next in, took a couple of nervy missed swings before changing tactics, electing to farm the strike to Tom instead. With just two overs to go and Tom well set it was the correct call. Helped by some clumsy overthrows from the Beamers and, with a decisive four through the midwicket boundary, Harvey notched up thirty himself and took us within a blow of the winning line.
Tom nudged the next ball to mid on but an insistent call for a second from the skipper caused a frantic scramble to avoid a late run out, fraying a few nerves on the boundary and much to Harvey’s general irritation. But this was to be the last drama of the day and, with a textbook stroke through the covers, Tom assuredly took us over the winning line with an over to spare.
Once again we had held our nerve and won through a hard fought low-scoring tussle. Despite the Beamers’ early run-fest we had tenaciously stuck to our task and, thanks to excellent bowling, great catching and determined batting we emerged victorious. Winning certainly is a habit and, right now, we are hooked!