The Cat and the Kitten steal the cream from Bohos in one wicket thriller
posted: August 19, 2018
Fingernails were bitten down to the knuckles, nerves were frayed, bums were squeaking but, in the end, the eruption of cheers from the boundary told onlookers all they needed to know… that the Stollers had stolen what looked like a highly improbable victory over old foes the Battersea Bohemians this afternoon at Crouch End CC.
The win was almost entirely down to a magnificent 79 run 8th wicket stand between Matt ‘The Cat’ Morgan and his feline counterpart Dave ‘The Kitten’ Couldrey who between them took us to within a whisker of the winning post.
Earlier in the afternoon Boho-in-Chief Rob Archdale called correctly and opted to bat first on a pitch that offered the bowlers nothing other than occasional low bounce. Nevertheless a concerted effort from our bowlers and those in the field kept a lid on the Bohos batsmen with the exception of young Tom Mockford who clearly looked more at ease than his companions who fell by the wayside intermittently.
A pivotal moment occurred when, with three wickets already down, the ever-dangerous Tom Whyte feathered a catch behind from Davie G to Matt. With the umpire initially unmoved protests chimed in from all around (including the square leg ump) that a snick was clearly heard and could not have come from anything but the edge of the bat. At this, Tom sportingly walked – in so doing doubtless curtailing his side’s chances of a big score.
The Bohos’ batsmen continued to tumble with wickets shared around the attack, including a near hat-trick late on for Abhik who bowled Rupert and Rob with successive deliveries. Mountford was eventually dismissed having hit an excellent 82 when Harry, returning for a second spell, cleaned out his stumps. However our hopes of keeping the oppo below 200 were dashed with a succession of byes and overthrows that we worried could prove very costly. In the end the Bohos closed on 203-9 …a score, given our history at Crouch End, that could certainly be considered competitive.
Tea, somewhat unusually, consisted of a spicy curry that perhaps messed with our self control somewhat as three early wickets tumbled in our response, possibly thanks to Rob’s wily gambit to open with spin. Gav managed to fire a few boundaries away before falling to a fizzing off spinner from Whyte that clipped his bails. Viral holed out to Richard and when Ron, who had batted nicely for his 23, fell to a grubber from Meier we realised – officially – that we were in trouble.
Abhik, batting abnormally low in the order looked in decent nick, clipping the ball well and regularly off his legs, and gave us some hope that our innings could reignite. But, with the score on only 118, he was bowled round his legs by Harry Drew, and the Bohos smelt blood.
However, the Kitten had other ideas. Joining Matt in the middle he took full advantage of some looser stuff from the Bohos’ slower bowlers – at one stage carting Archdale for six over the square leg boundary off successive deliveries. Matt too got into the act, not only with some powerful drives through the V, but also with spirited running between the wickets that ensured our asking rate never rose above 10 an over.
As rearguard actions go, this partnership was as important and effective as they come with the Cat and the Kitten steadily racking up the runs with the pressure noticeably shifting back onto the oppo, who continuously tinkered with the field in an attempt to stem the flow.
With 27 runs required from the final three overs the onlooking Strollers whooped with delight as the Kitten flayed kiwi Macaskill for ten runs in the 33rd. However Matt was beginning to feel the cramp in his knees and in the penultimate over, having defiantly swatted Tom Whyte for four, he was finally bowled for 44 – superb in the circumstances.
We needed 7 from the last over which Rob chose to bowl himself. However, having taken three from the first two deliveries, near-tragedy struck when the Kitten was run out of his ground for 43 by a sharp return from Mockford at cover. With four needed to win from three Harry, last in marched out to the middle. Nerves jangled on and off the pitch with victory tantalisingly close for both sides. However, if he had any doubts, Harry certainly didn’t show them as he launched Rob’s fourth delivery high over midwicket and over the boundary for six!
The watching Strollers on the rope exploded with Banshee-like cries of celebration as the Bohos looked on in dismay at just how victory had eluded them. We had won with just two balls and one wicket remaining… one of the closest Strollers victories your writer can remember. In a season already full of highlights this one felt special and, with the Bohemians typically gracious in defeat, we returned to the pavilion to sink a few beers together and reflect on what had been a superb game of cricket.