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Match 15 2023 (24th scheduled): September 10

Battersea Bohemians v Pimlico Strollers CC

Bohemian Dark Lords trump Strollers in batting blitzkrieg
posted: September 11, 2023

Strollers vs Battersea Bohemians, 10 Septmeber 2023

Our penultimate home game of the season quickly descended from the sublime to the ridiculous in the space of a hot afternoon at Ferme Park before finishing in farcical style in almost complete darkness as we somehow contrived to lose having posted a whopping 324-8 earlier in the day.

It had all begun so well. With unseasonably soaring temperatures peaking above 30°C for our clash with old foes the Battersea Bohemians, it was with much relief that George called correctly, won the toss and chose to bat first.

With Kyle Pittman, unusually keeping wicket, goading Gav that he surely never nicked anything the big man smirked as he promptly snicked his second delivery behind for four and so set the tone for the opening salvos of the game – Gav cutting absolutely anything outside off stump backward of square and straight to the third man boundary. George narrowly avoided chopping onto his own stumps and, with a brace of swatted fours, played a supporting role as we notched up 50 without loss in the eighth over. A good start.

Harry Drew was brought on first change to slow things down and was rewarded with the Bohos’ first wicket when George let one through. Nonetheless Gav continued his bizarre innings with no scoring shots whatsoever in front of the wicket, instead cashing in behind. He’d made it to 42 and, with Abhik, taken us past the 100 mark before Uzair drifted a late inswinger down and clipped the top of off, denying Richardson a fifty. Things took an alarming turn next ball when Matt was dismissed for a golden duck with a pea roller from Uzair and we were three down.

Thankfully the rot stopped there as Ron, joining Abhik in the middle, quickly wrested the advantage back our way with both batsmen hitting their straps. With the outfield dry and speedy the short Ferme Park boundary became easier and easier to find as we let fly – Ron and Abhik each reaching fifty and taking our total past 200 in just the twenty third over… and we sensed we were on for something big!

The hundred partnership was reached but sadly came to an abrupt end when Ron holed out with a top edge off Mohammed and he departed for a superb 62. Not that it deterred our progress in the slightest as Gaurav, in next, wasted no time in getting in on the act – cleverly stepping back deep into his crease to shovel anything stray down behind the square leg boundary. Abhik looked evermore fearsome as he lofted a brace of sixes to take him into the apparently not-so-nervous nineties at which point we paused for our second drinks break. As so often happens the break in play brought about the oppo’s big breakthrough when Nick Stoop duped (or ‘Stooped’) Abhik with flight and he was tragically bowled just two shy of a much-deserved hundred.

Harry, thankfully back having recovered from a broken finger, only made it to 6 before Stoop struck again but that didn’t deter Gaurav who continued on his merry way as we entered the final five overs with more than 270 already on the board. Dickie powerfully struck his first delivery for four to square leg and, pinching ourselves, we passed that rarest of milestones – the 300 mark!

To try to bring some order back to proceedings the Bohos brought back their opener Hyde who eventually undid Dickie and then had Davie G caught first ball by Mohammed who held on to a difficult chance in the deep. But, with Gaurav reaching a fine and unbeaten 58 with Ali in support to the end, we returned to the pavilion basking in the satisfaction of a job well done as we closed on a mighty 324-8.

As we munched on our teas we reminded ourselves that, in truth, it was only a job half done as we warily eyed up the opposition’s top order – including Kyle – knowing that if anyone could rise to meet a challenge of this scale it would be him. That thought was brought home to us as soon as the first ball of the oppo’s innings which Pittman defiantly clobbered over the midwicket boundary.

Our spirits lifted when Howard Spratt was trapped plumb LBW by Gaurav in the fourth over but hearts were back in mouths when Abhik skidded, fell and put down an all-important chance offered up by Kyle to cover point. Ouch – that could cost us. Mercifully it didn’t as a couple of balls later, Davie G calmly clung on to a searing hoik from Kyle and collected the catch at cow corner. We rejoiced with much relief and even though it was early days we felt surely the game would be ours now.

Hyde had other ideas though. Marching in at four to join Meier in the middle, Hyde unleashed a fearsome assault on our attack and poor old Dave, who had come on to relieve Gaurav, saw his second over get carted for 27 runs. Yikes.

By the time of our first drinks break, the oppo had stunningly put on 92 runs in the space of just 7 overs and the alarm bells began to ring. They didn’t quieten down any time soon as the Bohos cruised beyond the 150 mark, but eventually we found something to cheer about when Meier snicked one off Abhik and was well taken behind – despite protesting his innocence – by Ali, fast finding his feet as our newfound wicket keeper in reserve!

Ron, operating from the pavilion end, also managed to make inroads by bowling Townsend for 7 but alas all this achieved was to bring Mohammed bristling to the middle to join Hyde – both of whom spanked anything just marginally short or wide over the boundary. It wasn’t as if we weren’t trying to keep it out but, yet again, with only 10 Strollers at our disposal, the gaps in the field were just too big to close down. The 200 came up and the onslaught continued and, before we knew it, we found the oppo needing just over 70 from the last 10 overs… eminently doable on Ferme Park.

Hyde carded his hundred to the warm applause of everyone watching but then – suddenly – hearts leaped in mouths as he uncharacteristically mistimed and swatted one directly to square leg where George coolly hung on. We roared with glee as Nelson struck again… Hyde was gone for 111 and our hopes suddenly returned.

As we entered the final phase of the game however, a new foe came into the equation… the light (or more precisely, the lack of it). Despite the high temperatures we realised it was mid-September and as the sun dipped behind the treeline it became increasingly evident that none of us had any idea where the ball was heading. Except for Mohammed of course, who continued to latch on to anything going and brought up his fifty and then 300 for the Bohos.

As a final throw of the dice, George brought himself on and, having conceded only a single in his second over, offered us a faint glimmer of hope (everything was pretty faint by 7.30pm to be fair) when he bowled Mohammed for a blistering 89. At that, Rob Archdale gamely marched on – with just 12 needed for victory – to sportingly offer to call it quits acknowledging that the light had now well and truly vanished.

After much anguish and soul searching, with less than 3 overs remaining George agreed to see out his over and we’d reassess the situation then. Unfortunately for us, the four deliveries remaining in the over were all Uzain (who had quietly made his way to 30) needed to see out the game and this he did with a trio of fours – the last of which fizzed straight past Ron at deep midwicket, although in the near complete darkness for all he knew it might have been in a different post code.

And that was that. We’d lost after scoring one of our highest ever totals …chafing to say the least. However, our sincere congrats must go to our friends the Bohos and with 650 runs scored in one afternoon it must certainly have been fun to watch, if only anyone could see it.

Gavin Richardson


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