Strollers seal dramatic win over Shakespeareans as Kash cashes in
posted: June 19, 2017
Sound trumpets! Let our bloody colours wave! Our first victory of 2017 is finally in the bag, thanks to a great win yesterday over local pub side the Shakespeare XI at Ferme Park.
In sweltering conditions on the hottest day of the year we were predictably sent out to field upon losing the toss. However, our spirits lifted almost instantaneously with the two Shakespeare openers sent directly back to the hutch, both trapped LBW firstly by Spencer and then by Viral.
A third wicket almost fell in the third over when Dave G somehow managed to shell a regulation catch he looked to have taken at midwicket when Craig mistimed a swivel-pull shot. But, alas poor Davie, out it plopped (a surefire contender for this year’s Dolly Drop award — Ed) and the Shakespeareans took this as their cue to cry havoc and let slip the shots of war. With Craig and skipper Toby clubbing the ball to all parts the Strollers toiled in the field and, after their fumbling start, the third wicket partnership passed the hundred mark.
Despite essential extra drinks breaks our energy sagged in the oppressive heat, further catches were lamentably put down and things were starting to look rather sorry until Craig — having notched up 70 — top-edged another pull shot off Harry which soared high into the blue skies above and, this time, was expertly caught by new-Daddy Kashif (fittingly making his first appearance of the season on Father’s Day) on the deep square leg boundary. Kash then got into the wickets himself when he ripped one through incoming batsman Jake’s tardy defences.
But the Shakespeare batsmen weren’t done yet and, having survived yet another drop at cover, the affable number six Richard began to time the ball well and, with Toby, started piling on the runs again. However, with the score already well over 200 in the thirty-first over Spencer returned for a superb final spell, striking early with a jaffa to finally bowl Toby for 96 and deny him a ton. He mercilessly did likewise next ball to dismiss youngster George for a duck but had to wait an over to attempt a hat-trick. When the moment came he unfortunately missed his chance with a half tracker which Shaffy pulled for four, but then Spencer yorked him next ball.
A looser final over allowed Richard to reach a well-earned half century but Spencer’s fine 4-24 rightly deserved the acclaim in tough conditions on a particularly sticky afternoon. Nevertheless, even allowing for the short Ferme Park boundaries, the opposition’s 255-7 would take some beating.
With a large target to chase down Viral decided to mix things up and juggle the order around, sending in Kash to open with Gav. In retrospect, it turned out to be a masterstroke, although anyone looking on would have been nonplussed by our initial response.
Gav left the stage for just a single, loosely fishing at and edging young George’s first ball behind. Spencer was judged LBW to the left armer, Simon and our George fell to their George when he mistimed an uppish drive and lobbed the ball straight to Vicky, waiting at mid on, who took a speculative overhead catch (for the record it is not the place of this writer to in any way poke fun at any team mate for being caught by a girl, bowled by a kid… Sunday cricket offers us all equal opportunities to humiliate ourselves).
Tim followed shortly thereafter playing down the Bakerloo to one steaming down the Northern line and, with the score on forty-something for 4, things looked pretty bleak.
However, in almost a mirrored reflection of the Shakespeare innings, we found our second wind as Kash and Abhik rekindled our hopes with a series of lusty blows square of the wicket. Abhik controversially survived an impassioned appeal when the umpires gave him not out to a catch at slip, rightly judged a bump ball, and made the most of his reprieve with some excellent strokeplay. This was more than matched by Kash who frequently carted the second-string attack back overhead with some powerful driving through the V.
The hundred mark was reached without further incident and all seemed to be moving along nicely until, on 46, Abhik’s good fortune ran out, narrowly missing out on a half century when he was triggered LBW to one from off-spinner Craig which straightened unexpectedly.
Matt, in at a lowly number seven, played with circumspection to allow his partner’s free-flowing strokeplay to continue until, having blasted his way to 89 — and well set for his maiden ton — Kash too was sadly judged LBW to a low ball from Luke. Nevertheless, Kash received a thoroughly-deserved standing ovation from his team mates for what had been a masterful man-of-the-match-winning knock.
Luke claimed another prize scalp when Viral, next in, holed out to Simon at long on and, with still over 70 to get in nine overs, concern mounted that we may run out of wickets to play with. However, upon his arrival at the crease, Davie C picked up the baton from where Kash had left off and, with a huge six over midwicket that landed somewhere in the middle of the neighbouring Calthorpe pitch, we had the Shakespeareans back on their heels.
The cat and the kitten combined to expertly work the ball around and, with the 200 comfortably up, our hopes rose again. By contrast the oppo’s better bowlers had used up their allotted overs and, with no option but to send on the pie throwers, boundaries were duly gobbled up. Dave hit several more spectacular shots and suddenly, almost without realizing it, we found ourselves on the brink of victory. Matt farmed the strike kindly to allow Dave to notch up a fine fifty just in time and, with a loopy lob from Vicky clipped to leg, we cheered as one when — finally — we romped over the winning line with almost four overs to spare.
We left the field to reflect on what had been a wonderful match, with fortunes swinging from one way to the other throughout. But, thankfully, the spoils were ultimately ours — chasing down a 250+ target is a big ask at the best of times, but to successfully do so in such ferocious heat overcoming the loss of cheap early wickets truly was the stuff of Shakespearean drama.
And now, with that elusive first win of the season at last behind us and the wind in our sails, surely more victories will now follow. Lead on, Macduff…