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Match 15 (20th scheduled) 2021: July 25

Highgate Taverners CC vs Pimlico Strollers CC

Short-handed Strollers steal sensational win over Tavs
posted: July 25, 2021

Strollers vs Highgate Taverners, 25 July 2021

The Strollers, numbering only nine, sealed an incredible and utterly improbable three run win over a full-strength Highgate Taverners XI this afternoon at Totteridge. With storms forecast the match was reduced to 30 overs per side and, having lost the toss, we were sent in to weather the overcast conditions.

Gav, returning after an absence of several weeks, got us underway with a lovely late cut carved down to the backward point boundary but was sent back to the hutch soon after when he was well caught at slip. However Spencer, in at three, joined Harry to kick our efforts into gear with some sensible strokeplay whilst Brown Jnr looked to give it some humpty. Harry, having made it to 24, was sadly cut off in his stride when he top edged one behind to Thomas. This brought Varun to the middle who expertly clipped several boundaries off his pads through midwicket and for a time it looked like we were on for a big score. Sadly he too fell on 24 when he edged to gully but at 92-3 we still felt confident of posting a good total.

However it was not to be – after Spencer was finally dismissed for a valuable 36 we imploded with a collapse remeniscent of Strollers seasons gone by as with a flurry of wickets we slipped to 119 all out – the Kitten left high and dry without scoring as our ninth and last man in. With thunder in central London rumbling away in the distance we thought our only chance of escape from here was a wash out, and we prayed for rain.

Our pessimism was ill-founded though as what followed was truly astonishing. Abhik cannily turned to young Shayaan to open with spin and, after some tight overs bowled in tandem with Varun, his faith was rewarded when the ball skidded under Thompson's bat and the Tav's opener trudged off without troubling the scorers. Shayaan followed this up with two more wickets, firstly with Harry hanging onto a catch at point to dismiss Beckett Jnr for a duck and then Calcuttawala claimed the vital scalp of the dangerman Starkings who was bowled for 26. The Tavs were three down for 34... was this on?

Having finished his opening spell unluckily wicketless, Varun was replaced by Rohit whose first over was thumped for thirteen. However this belied the remainder of Rohit's spell and his first breakthrough came in his third over when he expertly yorked Thomas – who had looked in ominous touch on his way to 35. The Taverners' old stalwart John Beckett was next in but only lasted two balls before Rohit struck again in precisely the same way. Abhik brought on Harry to replace Spencer and the decision paid off immediately when Thomas – who had doggedly stuck around on his way to 21 – spooned one up to Shayaan lurking at mid on.

Shayaan just couldn't be kept out of the game as, next over, we whooped with glee when our newfound young star clung onto a superb catch from Browning, sharply taken at point off Rohit... seven down for 88! And Rohit claimed his fourth of the afternoon, yet again clean bowling Ford beautifully through the gate. With the thunder clouds looming ominously overhead and with nerves fraying, Ollie McGuinness threatened to rain on our parade with a couple of well struck boundaries clipped through square leg. But our man of the hour – nae, the match – Rohit rose to the challenge and completed his spell with one last yorker, notching up a thoroughly-deserved five-fer with a career best return of 5-44... simply magnificent!

However our work was not yet done. Harry had two very adjacent looking appeals for LBW turned down and, with four byes spilled down past fine leg, the Taverners edged perilously close to their target reaching 116 until Spencer – brought back on at the death – put matters to rest with a cleverly disguised quicker delivery that saw off the nervous-looking Milligan. And that was that. We hollered with unbridled glee, having snatched victory from the jaws of defeat and, with that, the heavens finally opened and rain pelted down as we roared with joy. An utterly astonishing end to a game that honestly we had no right to win but, thanks to a simply superb display from Rohit, Shayaan and all in the field, win was exactly what we did. Truly one for the ages... incredible.

Gavin Richardson
25.07.2021

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