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Match 20 (25th scheduled) 2021: August 22

Theydon Bois CC vs Pimlico Strollers CC

Strollers finally thwarted as Theydon Bois cling on for win
posted: August 23, 2021

Strollers vs Theydon Bois, 22 August 2021

All good things must come to an end and after seven spectacular wins on the trot, we eventually lost out as Theydon Bois emerged on top after a close-fought away clash yesterday afternoon.

With dark clouds gathering overhead and a damp pitch underfoot we were unsurprisingly sent in upon losing the toss and, after several tightly-contested overs Gav, having just made it to double figures, was out in the same fashion for the second time in as many weeks with the ball unluckily flicking onto the stumps from his pads. Thankfully Avnish eventually managed to put bat to ball and, with Spencer, helped increase our modest run rate until he was trapped LBW by Fielding and departed for a well-made 39.

Fresh from his stunning unbeaten century the previous week, Davie C was next in and continued where he left off and all looked to be going well as we passed the hundred mark until, when pushing off for a run, Spencer grimaced as he pulled a hamstring. Lasting only a few balls more (controversially calling for a runner in the shape of Ron) he too was unfortunately trapped leg before and hobbled off for 24. Ron, already at the middle, upped the ante with some trademark scampering between the wickets but was cut off in his prime when he edged behind off Marston. Newcomer Kam didn't last long as, after several agricultural swings, he was inevitably caught skying one to cover.

Our troubles grew when Davie, having survived a caught and bowled chance and heading nicely towards another half century, was well caught off Van Rensberg for 41 thus exposing our tail. Ron's ringers, in the shape of Seb and Sai, took us over the 150 mark but were seen off cheaply by Theydon's skipper Ahmed who had handed over his wicket keeping gloves to have a go from the other end. That left it to Ali and George – skippering for the day and dropping himself down the order in order to direct affairs – to add a few more and in the end we closed on 168-8... a modest total but which, with a bit of luck, we felt we might have an outside chance of defending.

A heavy downpour landed on the ground during tea which threatened to call a premature halt to proceedings and we retreated indoors from the famed Ronnie Roast (diamond geezer – Ed) memorial bench, but Ahmed was keen to get back out there, even though the rains hadn't fully rescinded. However, his enthusiasm was instantly extinguished when, in Seb's first over, Gav plucked out a splendid reflex catch at backward point to send Theydon's skipper on his way.

Spencer, bowling off one leg, got into the act in the second over when he had Yousaf trapped plumb LBW and when Seb – now up to full searingly fast pace – skittled Henry's stumps, the oppo were reeling on 2-3. Seb nabbed a third in the next over when Marsden Jnr tamely scooped one up to Ron at cover and we dared to dream an eighth successive win could be on the cards.

However, Theydon's number four Noblett – known locally as 'Hulk' – had different ideas and, after skillfully weathering Seb's speed and accuracy, began to counter attack alongside youngster Trevett and the pair successfully took their side past 50. However, before Theydon could settle, Avnish hurled in a tracer bullet of a return throw from fine leg to have Trevett run out just before drinks and, with the oppo still less than half way towards their target and with five batsmen already back in the hutch we felt confident (even a little complacent in all honesty) that the game could be ours.

However, complacency is a dangerous thing in cricket, and after the resumption concerns grew as a flurry of catching opportunities were put down as gaps appeared in the field – not least given that we were now down to ten men with Kam suddenly and mysteriously disappearing AWOL. Hmm. The Hulk successfully saw his side past 100 before notching up his fifty. Our spirits rose when Tariq suicidally ran himself out taking on Seb in the field and this brought the big Saffa Van Rensberg to the middle  –  belligerently and bewilderingly brandishing his bat sans gloves. Resisting the urge to bring back Seb to take aim at the South African's unprotected digits, it was Rohit who made the breakthrough when Davie expertly caught Van Rensberg sharply down the leg side.

However, this brought Kevin Mardsen to the middle –  a Theydon star player who had only shown up earlier in the afternoon just to watch initially but had been drafted into proceedings – who began striking the ball more cleanly and correctly than any of his team mates, opening his account with a thumping cover drive. With at least six required from each of the final five overs we looked on in anguish as first Noblett and then Marsden were put down. After the latter's reprieve, Avnish gave us hope when he had the Hulk clean bowled next ball for a vital 67 but, sadly, it was to be our final breakthrough and with Marsden crashing a trio of boundaries, the oppo made it over the winning line in the penultimate over.

So close but no cigar and, as George reflected afterwards, the stars just didn't align for us. Nonetheless it had been a great game and had we scored just ten more runs or held onto just one more catch (or just had a full compliment of men in the field) the result might easily have gone our way. Ho hum. But thanks to Theydon once again for hosting another fine day... we'll be back next year!


Gavin Richardson

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