Bohos beaten as Spencer soars to new highs
posted: August 20, 2017
The Strollers have been in pretty good form lately, with, before this game against the Bohos at Calthorpe, seven consecutive wins including the first win against Chippers for 12 years. It was about time we handed out a real beating to someone. Not just a win, but a proper public-school-breeches-down-birch-on-naked-quivering-buttocks-administered-by-sneering-toadies-in-tailed-coats thrashing.
Tom and David C know more about these types of schools than I do so you’ll have to check the details with them, but you get the idea. A comprehensive monstering. That it happened to the Bohemians, our oldest rivals, was very pleasing. Very pleasing indeed.
Looking at the team sheet in midweek, it seemed that we would go into the game with a very strong line-up. We had a lot of batting – Harsh, Tim, Spencer, Viral, Kashif, Abhik, George, Gav, Davey C, Nick, Harry etc. Oh, and Simon. That Harry batted at number 10 on the scorecard gives an indication of our riches.
However, having lost the toss and being put in, the Strollers innings got off to a slow start. McCaskill, coming down the hill, generated some real pace, while from the other end Huddlestone got the ball to jag in a long way off the seam. Kashif, opening with Gav, was dropped by Rob in the gully off McCaskill and then dropped behind off Huddlestone shortly thereafter. The wicket was doing a bit and the bounce was variable.
Gav cracked one through long on with a somewhat agricultural cross bat swipe but then followed that up with a sumptuous off drive before being bowled leg stump by Huddlestone while Kash was unable to make the Bohos pay for their drops and was eventually caught in the covers by Russell Leece off Tom Whyte.
George was now at the crease with Spencer, but the runs still did not flow freely. George was bowled by the evergreen Rob Archdale, who had been happily smoking at gully between overs, for two runs, and Tim came to the crease. Even with these two mighty hitters in at the same time, scoring was not rapid and the bowling good. At drinks, at 18 overs, the Strollers had scored only 60 and the Bohos, drops apart, had reason to feel happy with their work.
Tim struck some lovely shots, including a punched off drive through a gap only vacated the ball before, and Spencer began to accelerate. Tim was bowled by Whyte, and Harsh came out (honestly, this is like the Harlem Globetrotters, the stars keep coming).
With a towering six over long on Spencer passed his 50, and in doing so became only the first Stroller (by a hefty margin) to register 5000 runs for the club. That is a lot of runs. But his day of records was not over.
With six or seven overs to go, the Strollers were at about 140, and 180 looked a good total. But what we got was an injection of the skipper, who, after Spencer was run out for 52, began setting about the bowling with a passion. He hit Huddlestone, who earlier had bowled his first three overs without a run coming off the bat, for three successive sixes back over the bowler’s head. Suddenly the momentum of the game shifted.
Viral went for 29, caught behind, and the Strollers innings wrapped up for 212 – much, much better than it had looked only an hour earlier.
After a tea, which consisted of a hot curry and a hot daal, which left Nick hot, red and breathless, the Bohos opened with Tom Whyte and John Huddlestone. Simon came down the hill and dropped the ball too short. He wasn’t , in point of fact, supposed to play. He had cut the top of his middle finger fielding for his ‘other team’ the previous day, which was now heavily bound up. His wife had told him he couldn’t bowl like that. She was right. The plaster had to come off, the finger then bled profusely, and that was the end of that.
But there was no need to worry. Spencer, from the bottom end, was bowling beautifully, swinging the ball both ways. Rob, umpiring, said later it was a privilege to watch him bowl. Whyte was the first to go, bowled off stump. This took Spencer to 199 career wickets for the Strollers.
Shortly thereafter there occurred one of the moments of the season. Russell, not having scored, flashed at an outswinger and the ball flew hard and low to Gav at second slip. Somehow, remarkably, he dived down (yep, dived) and plucked the ball an inch off the turf, rolled and held it up aloft. It was an amazing catch – and it took Spencer to 200 wickets. Of all the ways in which this landmark might have been reached, this was perhaps the most unlikely.
How Gav got down so fast is a mystery. It defied physics. He couldn’t have got down any quicker had he spotted a slice of Victoria sponge lurking in the grass. But it was, indubitably, a great bit of athleticism and cricketing skill. Gav was submerged beneath a sea of happy, jubilant Strollers. Even Russ, like the sportsman he is, came over to hug the big man in congratulation.
After this, it was a bit of a procession. Richard Meier chipped the ball to George in the covers off Viral, while Spencer, from the other end, continued to be largely unplayable. McCaskill hit him for a six over long off but was bowled next ball with a cleverly disguised slower delivery. He also bowled Kilpatrick and Stock, ending with the enviable figures of 5-2-10-5.
The denouement came quickly. Viral bowled Adrian middle stump and then repeated the feat next ball against Harry Drew to close the innings at 67 runs. The Strollers were winners by the small margin of 145 runs. In fairness to our opposition, they were a little weaker than normal while we were quite a bit stronger.
It had been another great performance in which there were many contributions. But man of the match was clearly Spencer, passing two landmarks in the same game, a fifty and a brilliant fivefer. Another Fowler’s Match.