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Match 1 (2nd scheduled) 2018: May 6

Battersea Bohemians CC vs Pimlico Strollers CC

Bohos make hay whilst the sun shines to see off Strollers in opening clash
posted: May 7, 2018

After one of the longest and wettest winters in recent memory, the disappointment of the aborted tour to Montenegro and Bank Holiday weekend commitments playing havoc with availability, it was with no little relief that we finally took to the Ferme Park pitch yesterday for a long-overdue start to our season.

The occasion was made yet more remarkable in that over the course of a single week temperatures had skyrocketed the best part of 20 degrees, meaning memories of our aborted curtain-raiser against the Beamers last week – owing to arctic conditions – were a million miles away as we took the field in the hottest Mayday weather on record.

The opposition were once again our old foes the Battersea Bohemians and, having spent several minutes deliberating what to do having won the toss Rob opted to bat first, presenting us with the double whammy of fielding in baking conditions and – thanks to numerous absences – only limited bowling options available to us (with all due respect to those who made up our attack).

However, we made a surprisingly good fist of things in the opening overs. Both Spencer and Guy Grainger (kindly guesting for us on loan from the Tetherdown Trundlers) bowled a miserly line and kept scoring to a minimum.

In the eighth over and with the score having just crept over 30 we made the first breakthrough with Dave Mahy skilfully clinging on to a difficult chance skied up to backward square leg by Al Andrews. Guy followed this up promptly with the dismissal of Buller trapped plumb in front of middle, having luckily survived a good shout for more or less the same delivery the ball before.

Guy made it a three-for shortly thereafter when, seeing Buxton march out to the middle, he promptly sent Gav back to the long on boundary. It took him only two deliveries to hole out precisely there where Richardson did his best to entertain the onlookers with a juggling act more commonly seen at the end of Brighton pier before decisively clinging onto the ball to send Buxton back to the hutch without scoring.

Richard Meier joined John Huddleston at the wicket – two of the Bohos’ bigger hitters – but whilst both managed to up the tempo somewhat they weren’t carting us (not yet anyway) and by drinks the game felt very much in the balance at 91-3.

However, from here the momentum of the game changed substantially – and not in our favour. With Guy finishing his fine spell, claiming 3-38, the limitations of our attack became all too apparent. George, who had taken over from Spencer from the pavilion end, had kept things tight but from the other end the boundaries started flying. Davey C was asked to put the gloves down and have a bowl but was somewhat wayward and was punished accordingly. Martin Betts (elder brother of Dickie), kindly turning out for us due to Stroller shortages, attempted his left arm off-breaks but they were meat and drink to the Bohos’ batters, particularly to the liking of Hiddleston who found an alarming knack of carting everything into the middle of the adjacent Highgate pitch on his way to a well-earned hundred.

Meier too was cashing in by now and sailed past fifty with an array of powerful shots through the V. The 200 was reached alarmingly early with ten overs to go and, with George now bowled out, we began to look fearfully bereft of options. Mickey Leighton gladly showed his younger team mates a thing or two as he managed to regain a semblance of control with a good line. But the Bohos were simply seeing the cherry like a basketball and the barrage continued.

With 250 up, Spencer was brought back and finally bested Meier, bowling him through the gate for 65. Dave Macaskill, next in, was very lucky to survive a caught and bowled chance when Spencer unluckily failed to cling onto a sharp return catch. But Macaskill’s stand didn’t last long when Dave Mahy, replacing Spencer, claimed his first Strollers wicket when the kiwi holed out to Guy at deep midwicket, who took a great catch.

Sadly it was too little too late and, with the final ball of the innings, Huddleston scooped another huge maximum over midwicket to stunningly hit 100 in sixes and, ultimately a mammoth 176 not out. The Bohos closed on a massive 295-5 and we retreated from the field having been on the wrong end of a hard slog in every sense. That said, despite our limited resources, we have certainly tried our hardest and with only one tricky chance shelled all afternoon there wasn’t much else we could have done to prevent the onslaught.

Our spirits were lifted somewhat by the much-improved quality of the North London CC tea – happily the dark days of runny jerk chicken and cold pasta seem to have been consigned to history in favour of a return to tradition with egg mayo sandwiches, pork pies, scotch eggs, Bakewell tarts, strawberries and melons aplenty …the sustenance that cricketers truly crave. The hope was that if we could somehow elongate the tea break and lull the opposition with engaging repartee for a couple of hours, perhaps we could eventually claim bad light.

Sadly, our plans were thwarted and Gav and George strode out to the middle with a hefty task before them to say the least. George gladly looked on song from the off, finding the middle and bashing a few fours through midwicket. Gav, on the other hand, wasn’t timing it so well and his early efforts to score saw him flailing and edging somewhat. Unfortunately though it was the skipper who fell first when, on 16, he unluckily holed out to Buller at mid on.

Gav followed soon after when – having finally found the middle of his blade – he clobbered an uppish off drive that was expertly plucked out of the sky single-handed by Aidan Kelly at cover.

From here on, information is sketchy as your writer had to depart proceedings abruptly in order to urgently fix a leaky washing machine reported at home. What he missed sounds truly impressive with Guy, following the departures of Daves Mahy and Couldrey, building on a handy 22 from Spencer to attack the ball with the style for which he is well known in these parts.

The Trundler had remarked whilst padding up that there looked to be ‘plenty of runs to be had out there’ and he wasn’t wrong… our welcome guest carving the ball all around on his way to a superb century. Dickie came and went for 2 but a fine cameo from Mickey of 24 not out at the end played second fiddle to an outstanding and unbeaten 135 from Guy who rightly proved that a big score was more than achievable. We closed on a very respectable 239-6 and while that may have been some 52 runs adrift, it truly demonstrated that only the absence of just one or two extra strike bowlers for us had been the difference on the day.

Still, to quote a modern sporting maxim, there clearly were plenty of positives to take and, with the sun now decidedly up and shining, my God is it good to be cricketing again!

Gavin Richardson


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