Archway Ladder survive wobbles to see off Strollers
posted: June 16, 2017
Last night's T20 clash with the Archway Ladder at Alexandra Palace saw our fortunes dramatically swing from one way to the other but, alas, in the end we left ourselves too much to do to secure the win.
Having put the oppo in amid blustery (if sunny) conditions, to say the Ladder's batsmen got off to a flier would be putting it mildly — blasting their way to 40 without loss after just 3 overs with the ball lofted into the deep rough on several occasions. However our fears of a mammoth target to chase were mercifully allayed though when Viral bowled a beauty to cleanly bowl Haig. There then followed a clatter of wickets starting with Abhik and Simon helping each other out to take good catches at mid off from each other's bowling.
The introduction of Harry — Strolling for the first time this season — added extra teeth to the attack and, with his first ball, he had Patel well caught by Viral at deep square leg. He followed this up with a smart return catch to see off Walsh Snr and, soon after that, the prize scalp of oppo skipper Laddie (who had hit some fearsome shots earlier in his innings) when he too was caught in the deep by Abhik for 38. By the time Sam sent Tait packing the Ladder XI were 78-7 and we were jubilant in the hope of skittling the oppo for a sub-100 score and with it the surefire chance of a first win of the season.
However, a rearguard action from Goodman (who had kindly guested for us in the previous year's fixture) reignited the opposition's innings as he began to frequently find the boundary. Shortly after the score had crept into three figures Sam unfortunately shelled a chance to dismiss him at deep extra cover and, thanks to some expensive final overs, the Ladder closed on 143-7 (Goodman unbeaten on 40). Needless to say we felt bemused that we had removed the foot from the throat somewhat but, given the explosive start to the match, had we at that stage been offered the chance at that to settle for a sub-150 target we certainly would have taken it.
In response Gav made a promising start with a quick flurry of boundaries but was undone when he riskily gave himself room to a straight one only for the ball to bounce low and skid onto his stumps. The kitten sadly followed in similar fashion when he misjudged a leave to allow Wahab to clip his off peg. An all out collapse was on the cards when Tait had Tim bowled cheaply and, with only 40-something on the scoreboard after 10 overs, a mix up with George saw Abhik fail to make his ground.
However skipper Viral marched out to the middle determined to not let our chance slip and with a slew of fearsome straight slogs (viewed up close and personal by this writer, umpiring at the time), for a while, the win looked very much on again. George did his best to chime in too but was sent packing for 15 when he swung and missed at a straight one from Goodman.
Our hearts sank further when Viral, in all out attack, lofted a staight one back over the bowler's head to long off where he was expertly caught by Wahab for 26. With that our chances of victory seemed to have gone ...with still over sixty runs to get, in a last gasp, Harry hoiked one straight to Walsh at mid on. From here on pickings were slim with the wickets of Sam and Dickie tumbling in quick succession. Only a last ditch effort from Dave Mahy — scoring his first Stroller runs — saw us edge up to three figures and, with it, an ounce of respectability. But, with the score on exactly 100, last man Simon called for a quick single that wasn't there and Dave was inevitably run out.
The 43 run margin of defeat was telling ...those gifted runs at the end proving highly costly, however a better batting display would doubtless have helped. So on to the Shakespeare XI on Sunday ...let's hope then we will break a leg and finally celebrate a poetic win.