Strollers celebrate 30 not out in style
posted: July 28
With 2019 marking thirty years since the celebrated Pimlico Strollers CC came into existence it would have been deeply remiss of us not to mark the occasion. And whilst regrettably much of our old guard were unable to attend (for reasons ranging from fatherly taxi duties to rehearsals for their latest theatrical production), the newer contingent of Strollers were out in force and duly made their pilgrimage to Regent’s Park (where our first games were staged in the late 1980s) for a celebratory inter-club match… and what a fitting occasion it turned out to be.
With 11 Strollers present and correct – albeit with Dave ‘The Kitten’ Couldrey still recovering from a broken wrist and therefore unable to keep wicket or bat – we opted for the favoured schoolboy format of batting in pairs, six overs each with five penalty runs deducted for every wicket to fall.
The drama unfolded immediately when skipper Davie G had his cousin Tom ‘Bowler’ Harvey nicking behind to Spencer for a diamond duck. His partner ‘Master’ Andrew Bates fared rather better and began heaving anything and everything over the legside boundary. Tom got in on the act with some excellent strokes until he was neatly stumped – again by the Spengali General – when he played and missed to Ron. However, posting a net score of 52-2 from their six overs, our first pair had set the bar high.
After a quick changeover (allowing sufficient time to gorge a few cupcakes) next up were Gaurav and Gideon, the former stitched up early on by a grubber from Batsey that stuck in the muddy wicket. The Kitten then switched from umpiring to bowling duties and had Gid ‘Almighty’ bowled for 10.
However after that Gaurav picked up the pace, especially when Gav started serving up some particularly tasty pies that just cried out to be carted to cow corner. Gid was less fortunate and managed to run himself out by ambling out of the wicket to nudge a ball Gav had sent down on the adjoining strip only to deflect it behind to Davie G, now keeping wicket (clever stuff this! – Ed). Gav followed that party trick up with a smart stumping when Gorton whipped off Gid’s bails. Our second pair closed on 23-4 (after penalties deducted) some way short of the target.
Yet more cupcakes and pork pies were imbibed along with several beers cracked open at the next interchange and this may have explained in some way how star batsman Spencer managed to find himself trapped LBW by Bates, who loudly celebrated taking the prize scalp. And whilst Spencer eventually got going, Rohit struggled somewhat with our mixed attack of Bates, the Kitten and Gid dismissing him thrice. With four wickets down, the much-feared Fowler/ Kawathekar combo managed to post only 19-4, again short of the mark.
For poops and giggles, it had somehow been decided that El Grande Gav, next in, should pair up with Ron ‘Boundary’ – these two having shared a long history of suicidal run outs and near heart attacks, Gav lamented that this may indeed be the end of him, remarking simply “it’s been lovely” before ambling out to the middle.
However, having made the tactical decision to allow Ron to face first the smiles were soon switched to the batsmen’s faces as Ron absolutely demolished his first few deliveries. Farming the strike cleverly it wasn’t until the third over when Gav finally faced a ball but, having heaved one long boundary through cow corner, he then top-edged one off Spencer, shooting a skier to Batesy (now wearing the gloves) who at last celebrated his first catch of the season.
Nonetheless Ron continued his onslaught and, for a time, Tom and Bates’ total looked under threat until a couple of late wickets claimed by Gid and Rubin saw the chase falter. Closing on a net score of 38-3 Gav and Ron smiled ruefully that at least there hadn’t been a single run out… this time at least.
After yet more beers our final pair, Davie G and new Stroller Rubin marched out to have a go. The skipper looked in imperious form, hitting several magnificent boundaries back over the bowler’s head and had raced to 23 before his cousin Tom repaid him in kind by knocking down his middle stump.
Nevertheless, sensing their chance, Dave and Rubin ran hell for leather between the wickets although sadly to little avail as a pair of expertly executed run outs effectively put paid to their charge. Ron and Spencer drilled the conclusion home by skittling the skipper a couple more times and, having by now shed all too many wickets, no fewer than 40 were required from the last ball… clearly impossible and thus victory inevitably went to our opening pair, Tom and Batesy.
Reflecting upon how enjoyable our mad thirty over thrash had been we strolled off to the boundary where, waiting for us, was a truly lavish doorstep sponge cake baked for us that very morning by Spencer’s nan… who we all agreed then and there truly was Stroller of the Day.
Following that and an enjoyable impromptu tea comprising sandwiches, mini pies, summer berries and yet more cupcakes we popped open a bottle of bubbly, Captain Gorton giving a rousing speech (despite losing his shorts in the process thanks to cousin Tom’s antics) reflecting on 30 years of Strolling and toasting 30 more to come. In time-honoured fashion we drew proceedings to a close with a hearty and upstanding rendition of Spandau Ballet’s ‘Gold’ much to the puzzlement of those watching, but in the context of all things Strollers it just made perfect sense to us.
A truly splendid day to celebrate a truly splendid cricket club… Stroll on!