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Match 02 2023: May 14

Chipperfield Clarendon CC vs Pimlico Strollers CC

Strollers chase at Chipperfield falls just short
posted: May 15, 2023

Strollers vs Chipperfield Clarendon, 14 May 2023

Our second outing of the 2023 season was a close-run affair but, despite a gallant chase, we sadly fell just 14 runs shy of the 222 target required for victory.

After weeks of waiting, we enjoyed what truly felt like a summer’s day at Chipperfield’s idyllic olde worlde Hertfordshire ground with it’s adjoining with pub and church bathed in glorious warm sunshine with villagers scattered along the boundary with picnics and deck chairs set up to watch the game.

It was no surprise then that the home skipper Dom opted to bat first upon winning the toss. With only 10 Strollers at our disposal George, having purchased some squeaky-clean new club kit, fancied having a go at wicket keeping himself and took position behind the stumps. Harry and Spencer got us underway and both found a probing line from the get-go and scoring opportunities for the oppo were scarce.

With the pitch still sticky from heavy rain during the week, Scran mistimed a straight drive and chipped the ball straight back to Harry to give us our first wicket. Nidhish came on first change and made another breakthrough when Shunty similarly miscued and popped a chance up between mid off and cover which Ron safely claimed for himself. Tarun, making his second Strollers appearance, nabbed our third wicket when he unleashed an unplayable inswinger to clatter through Woody’s defences. By drinks the oppo were struggling on 55-3 and we wondered if we were on for a repeat of Croxley’s collapse a fortnight earlier.

But that was not the case. Joining his skipper Dom in the middle Chipperfield’s star signing, the young Aussie Cody, kicked the oppo’s innings into gear as he clattered poor Bruce repeatedly to the square leg boundary. Combined with Dom’s nippy running between the wickets, Chipperfield’s rate rapidly increased and the 100 and then the 150 mark were passed without any difficulty and, despite our best efforts, it became increasingly evident how much being a man down in the field was costing us.

With local rules dictating that batters must retire once they reach a half century, we were thankful to see the back of both Cody and Dom who left the stage unbeaten with 53 apiece. Nevertheless, the oppo charged on with Kingy similarly belligerent with the bat. Ron managed to nab one final wicket, bowling Liam for 1, but by then the damage was done and Chipperfield closed on 221-4 – a very respectable score especially considering the heavy conditions underfoot.

As we tucked into our sandwiches over tea we contemplated the task ahead – a challenging target which felt inflated due to being a man down in the field. Having walked back out to bat we found conditions hard going – at one end ‘Mental’ Martin instantly found a mean straight line that offered us nothing whilst at the other end Cody roared in at a steaming pace, roughing Gav up with a succession of body blows forcing the big man to call for his lid.

The pressure paid off with George the first to depart as the ball stuck in the pitch and he chipped it back for mid off to take comfortably. Spencer, in at three, fell for a rare duck as he unluckily played on to a skimmer from Cody. Gav stoically weathered the barrage Brian Close-style and mercifully managed to see off the seamers but with our score still dwindling in the low twenties, chanced his arm with an off drive that wasn’t there to hit and finally fell foul to Kingy’s off spin.

However, in a manner brilliantly mirroring Chipperfield’s own 4th wicket stand, Ron and Harry regrouped so that by drinks we were slightly ahead of where the oppo were at the same stage and then afterwards mounted a full on counter attack, Ron swiping the first ball after the interval for four through cover. From here the pair tipped, ran and traded cheeky trademark singles between frequent flayed blows through the on side and Dom looked nervous as our run rate shot up and took us into three figures.

With Harry reaching his half century in next to no time and duly having to then retire, our fears that the local bylaws might be our undoing were gladly abated as Nidhish picked up the baton without skipping a beat to keep the scoring rate up until he ran himself out for 27. Ron, upon also hitting his own fine fifty, also had to leave the stage and made way for Somanka – making his welcome return to the Strollers – who, in his effort to keep up the pace, tragically fell short of his ground and was run out for 3.  A trio of quick wickets fell as Tarun top-edged behind to Dom, Dickie chipped a catch up to mid off and Bruce was tragically caught and bowled for a golden duck.

However, the dismissals gave us the silver lining of the return of Harry and Ron who carried on where they left off and led the charge towards the 200 mark. The nerves in the field were matched by the mounting excitement on the boundary – was this still on? Unfortunately for us, the prospect of an unlikely victory coming into view meant the ominous return of paceman Cody who managed to finally dislodge Harry for a splendid 69. Undeterred Bruce, as lowest scorer, gamely returned to the middle to join Ron who was by now running like a man possessed (as Ron does) as our runs required tantilisingly dipped below twenty.

Ultimately though we simply ran out of overs and, despite a wide off the penultimate delivery, 15 from the last two balls seemed unlikely, even for Ron. Pinching a single from the final delivery we marched off 13 adrift – a margin that felt frustratingly close to the number of runs an eleventh Stroller might have saved us in the field. Nevertheless it had been a great game, contested in an excellent spirit by both sides in a stunning setting. A splendid summer’s day in all but the result. Never mind!

Gavin Richardson

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