Bragging rights restored as Strollers of Pimlico outshine Sandon
posted: July 21
After a chastening defeat in the corresponding fixture last year and a recent run of underwhelming results, we happily returned to winning ways on Sunday with a convincing 150 run victory over our namesakes, the Sandon Strollers in a match noted for several standout performances.
Not that it started out all that promisingly. Having won the toss and chosen to bat first on a mightily green-looking wicket, Gav baulked at the prospect with an ugly misjudged mow off the third ball – departing for a duck – and then, having struck one nice boundary, George holed out to young Daniel Williamson who ran round from mid off to collect an excellent catch. George’s wicket was notable for being Sandon veteran Colin Atkins’ 500th wicket for the club and the oppo celebrated accordingly.
Spencer and Kash restored our composure, demonstrating all too painfully to our forlorn departed openers that scoring was actually pretty easy with an outfield considerably faster than is usually expected at Sandon, and our innings clicked into focus. Spencer in particular was looking fluid and had made his way to 43 in no time before unexpectedly leaving the stage, chipping one up to Gallo.
However that marked the last of Sandon’s inroads for some considerable time as Kash and Nic, next in, managed to middle almost anything going with a parade of fours and sixes raining down over the short boundaries.
Happily any despondency on Sandon’s part was alleviated midway through with the late arrival of their opening batsman, chauffeured to the ground by the local constabulary (who had picked him up following a motoring misdemeanour) and greeted with much laughter and mickey-taking.
After drinks, with the score now well in excess of 200, Kash hit the accelerator and motored his way up to his first century for the Strollers with an exhibition of immaculate strokeplay – to much applause from those looking on. After some debate on the boundary, skipper Gorton decided it was only sporting to call Kash back in, and he departed unbeaten for a wonderful 103. Dave instantly regretted the decision when, without troubling the scorers, he immediately holed out to our former team mate – now a Sandon stalwart – Bob ‘the fish’ Fisher, who took a stunning forward diving catch at long off.
Possibly this alerted Nic to the dangers of being caught in the deep as, approaching his own ton, he began to rein in some of his bigger shots. However Harry, at the other end, felt that with runs already on the board he could allow himself some freedom and battered the oppo at any opportunity and, coupled with quick running between the wickets with Nic, our score piled up.
Having successfully navigated his way through the nervous nineties, Nic thankfully made it to his first Strollers hundred too and duly retired as well, greeted by the warm applause of those watching. Rohit came in next to aid Harry for a final flurry (including an all-run four at one stage) and gamely sacrificed himself on our last ball as we declared on a mammoth 302-5… a magnificent effort.
Following a typically generous tea (which included arguably the best chocolate cake of the season thus far) a curious turn of events unfolded when our own Master Andy Bates was invited to open the batting for the understaffed oppo, having gamely offered his services as substitute fielder for much of our innings. Greeted, as you might expect, with the warmest of welcomes from the waiting field Batesy struck a couple of belligerent blows to the boundary before chipping Rohit to Harry at point. Nic – as stand-in keeper for the day – then snaffled a textbook nick behind from Spencer to see off the ever-dangerous ‘Ammo’ Singh to further stamp our authority on proceedings.
The momentum briefly swung Sandon’s way with a good third wicket partnership until Davie brought himself on to take the prize wicket of his opposite number Myers who, having ridden his luck somewhat – surviving a chip over Spencer’s head and a shelled chance to Batesy (now fielding for us again) at cover – finally edged behind to Nic for 24.
His partner Peric had looked more stoic against Harry’s steepling pace but was next to go when, on 20, he offered up a tame catch to Kash in the covers. By now we were clearly well on top but, with the format of the game allowing the oppo to potentially shut up shop and bat out the draw, we knew our only chance of victory was to bowl them out.
This thankfully we were able to do as Dave gladly collected a couple more wickets – firstly bowling Cannon and then trapping Gallo LBW to claim 3-26. Batesy then completed his day of ‘total cricket’ by bowling Williamson round his legs – insodoing possibly becoming the first cricketer in Strollers history to take a wicket against the side he opened the batting for.
Spencer was then recalled to mop up the tail firstly by collecting Bob’s scalp who was the third of Sandon’s number to nick to Nic, completing a trio of victims for our keeper. Gav’s fruitless efforts of the day continued when, blinded by the setting sun (honestly! – Ed) he put down a relatively straightforward overhead chance at gully, but thankfully Fowler finally sealed the deal and his own three-for by bowling Henry ‘Henners’ Hughes, who had gamely put up some last ditch resistance.
And thus, bragging rights for the ownership of the Strollers badge were thankfully restored this year to the gentlemen of Pimlico and, having enjoyed a thoroughly entertaining afternoon in rural Hertfordshire, we repaired to the local pub the Moon & Stars to reflect on a heavenly win.