Strollers withstand the heat to see off the HICCs
posted: June 27, 2017
On the hottest and longest day of the year, the Pimlico Strollers faced friendly foes the Highgate Irregulars at North Middlesex CC on Wednesday. With a number of Strollers uncharacteristically tardy, we were generously put into bat by opposition skipper Giles and, after their slightly different warm-up routines, Gav and Dave went out to open.
Because of the scorching weather, the wicket had been watered and the crease had the crumbling composition of wet sand. The pitch itself was also quite soft and difficult to navigate. All these excuses and more were used by Gav, who missed one that jagged in off Owen for 1 and by Dave, who missed a straight one off Mitchell for 5.
Newcomer Nick, at 3, and Matt at 4 did well to kick-start the innings with both striking a number of blows off both openers before Nick was well caught by Singh off Owen. Spencer came to the crease and fairly quickly found his groove but his growing partnership with Matt was brought to an abrupt halt when the latter’s ageing hamstring apparently melted under the hot sun and he was forced off to nurse it with ice.
Tom arrived and signalled his intent with some lusty blows as the HICCs rang the bowling changes but just as we were regaining momentum, the partnership was broken and skipper Viral arrived in the middle.
Both Spencer and Viral were triggered out LBW and Dave G came and went without troubling the scorers and, at that stage, we looked in serious danger of not batting our full 20 overs — a capital offence in T20 cricket.
Thankfully, however, our tail had a little wag as Harry Brown found the boundary with a series of big hits. Sam Adamson also found the fine leg boundary with a deft sweep and Simon chipped in with 3 crucial runs - all were vital contributions. So we finished on 138 which, in truth, felt a little light and we took to the field knowing we would need to bowl very well to win.
The skipper took the new ball with Simon and it was the latter who got the big breakthrough by bowling opener Mitchell for 4. Patel, at the other end, rode his luck at times and was restricted by some accurate bowling supported by some good fielding. (There was the occasional mishap — including behind the stumps - but we need not dwell on that here).
Viral rang the changes and all of his bowlers answered the call. Harvey got rid of Patel before Fowler was introduced for a match-winning spell. Dyen and, crucially, Singh were removed quickly and cheaply, bringing the big-hitting Gray to the middle. Despite a few crunching shots, we did well not to bowl to his strengths and Spencer, who bowled him with a beauty earlier in the season, got him again with a jaffa.
The game was far from over with not many runs to play with but the Strollers, and Spencer in particular, continued to bowl well. He struck twice more to remove Woolard and Hamilton, leaving Giles Elwes, who batted nicely for an unbeaten 25, somewhat stranded with the tail.
It all came down to the final over which was fittingly bowled by Fowler. As much as it pains me to write this, it was a masterclass in death bowling and the HICCs just couldn’t get him away. After 6 balls on a sixpence, the Strollers finally emerged victorious to win by a mere 7 runs.
Thanks, as always, to the HICCs for another good game and congratulations to their captain Giles who took a very impressive 5-15, in addition to 25* with the bat. But it was Spencer — going one better (as always) with 5-14 - who ultimately won the game for his team.