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Match 6 (7th scheduled) 2021: June 6

Chesham Bois CC vs Pimlico Strollers CC

New-look Strollers struggle to score against Chesham's boys
posted: June 7, 2021

Strollers vs Chesham Bois, 6 June 2021

After a week of will they/ won't they agonising over whether we could get a side together at all, we were delighted that we were able to patch together a Strollers side mainly comprised of old timers and new faces to travel to play away in the picturesque woodland setting of Chesham Bois.

Amongst the old guard gladly returning to the Strollers fold were the 'Count' himself, Bruce Marcus and David 'De Dazzler' Haines who is now a regular for Chesham Bois but was more than happy to roll back the years and turn out for us instead. In tow, David brought his youngest son, Ollie – already a very tidy leg spinner in the making – whilst Bruce called a ringer, his former league cricket allrounder mate Dale Mathura. Additionally we were joined by the great Joe Gadsby (pal of The Kitten and ex-Lancashire youth team player) and Ali Rookes, a team mate of Harry's from North Middlesex.

With Varun dropping out during the week, the retro feel was completed with Gav taking the helm once again who raised an eyebrow or two by choosing to field first having won the toss – his theory being that the new-look Strollers team could 'bond' in the field before attempting to bat. It looked like a good decision when Harry bowled Alexander for a duck in the third over. However this brought the dangerous Gaurav Walia – according to David the oppo's best batsmen – in at three and from here the momentum markedly swung back Chesham's way. Walia clobbered Harry, Dale and Bruce into the trees with alarming ease and was well supported by opener Paul Withams as the pair mounted a strong century partnership.

It took the introduction of 12 year old Ollie Haines to make further inroads and we whooped with joy as he delightfully deceived Walia, clean bowling him for 73 (easily your writer's favourite wicket of the season so far). This brought the other Haines lad, older brother Charlie, in at four who looked to slog from the off. Posting De Dazzler to cow corner, we tried and tried to get Haines ct Haines b Haines into the scorebook but Charlie was far too savvy to allow that and found the gaps well. Eventually, after drinks, we replaced new spin with old spin as George came on and managed to get through Charlie's defences, seeing him off for 31.

From here on the oppo's progress slowed up as, with the introduction of Joe – steaming in off a run up that would have made Bob Willis look lazy - we managed to curtail the flow somewhat although Chesham remained on course for a good score. Harry, back for the death, managed to pick up a couple more wickets late on including Withams' who, having hit 80, was unlucky not to carry his bat as Harry hurled down his stumps when he was unkindly called through for a quick single. But by then the damage was done and Chesham closed on a formidable 236-6, by some margin their best total against us to date.

After a short break for a cuppa and a Kit Kat, we were back out there and found ourselves immediately on our heels in the face of some genuine pace generated by Chesham's younger contingent who managed to get the un-rolled park pitch to talk in ways we hadn't. Young Matt McKinley seemed to have grown a yard and added several more yards of speed since we last saw him and in the first over bounced one high above Gav's head... a rare occurrance. By contrast, Walia Jnr operating at the other end speedily skidded one under the big man's bat and Gav was gone for a duck... damn. George unfortunately suffered some body blows and, having worn one from McKinley on the arm and had just called for a helmet only to be seen off for a single... damn again, this didn't look good.

De Dazzler, in at three, remained stoically unfazed when he too was struck in the grille and managed to steady the ship somewhat, but scoring was difficult. Ali was lucky to survive a no-ball yorker from Charlie that scattered his stumps, and he managed to flick a couple behind but was undone when Savaswad was brought on second change. It was only when Joe marched in with some swagger that we managed to get the scoreboard ticking over albeit at a stilted rate. However, despite some typically stylish batting from both Haines and Gadsby, the promising partnership was brought to an abrupt end when Savant got one through to bowl De Dazzler for 39.

With the required run rate now above 10 an over Dale, in at six, did his best to up the tempo. But, having heaved one big six over long on, he too was castled when Ollie – now operating for the oppo – deceived Dale with clever flight and had him stumped ...Rob Archdale watch out. Ollie also managed to nab the key wicket of Joe who scooped one up to cover, and he was gone for 22. If we didn't already know it the game was gone when Harry departed for just a single, having been expertly caught on the long off boundary.

The Kitten kept our spirits up with an entertaining cameo towards the end, carting Chesham's slow stuff into the high branches of the surrounding trees. But we shedded wickets at the other end with John run out and the Count cleaned out by Charlie – who probably deserved more than a single wicket having sent down some speedy stuff all afternoon. In the end, Dave tried to clobber one too many and was caught in the deep to close our innings on 163 all out... over 70 runs shy of our target meaning that for the first time, Chesham Bois claimed the spoils over us.

Still, having been in some doubt that the match would actually happen, we were glad to have got the game on –  the oppo are always friendly hosts and, in the summer evening sun, Chesham Common was a lovely spot to see out our Sunday. We look forward to returning in 2022.

Gavin Richardson

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