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Match 8 2023: June 15

Highgate Irregulars CC v Pimlico Strollers CC

HICCs hang on to snub Strollers from T20 triumph
posted: June 16, 2023

Strollers vs Highgate Irregulars, 15 June 2023

Our latest clash against the Highgate Irregulars (crumbs we’ve been playing them a lot lately, haven’t we?) resulted in defeat by a margin of just 2 runs as we agonisingly came up just short chasing the 149 target as the sun set on Alexandra Palace.

Initially, Harry’s decision to insert the oppo to bat looked to have paid off as we made early inroads dismissing both openers (including Tony Mitchell) cheaply. Just as your humble reporter made his way into the ground, having been delayed by traffic, the field erupted in loud cheers – not because of his arrival but because dangerman Alex Gray was right then sharply stumped by Connor for just 4 off a loose-ish delivery from débutant Aaron Tanner. A great start!

However the HICCs’ ringer Muhammad, in at five, counter-attacked with a flurry of big boundaries more than once sending the pink ball into the bushes. Rebuilding with skipper Diyen Ramani to mount a defiant fourth wicket stand, the Irregulars were just beginning to wrest control of the game back their way before Davie G, happily making a belated first appearance of the season, was brought on to send down his trademark heavy balls. The change immediately paid off with Muhammad mistiming a drive and scooping it straight to Spencer at cover.

From here on wickets fell with regularity – Abhik taking an excellent circling catch at deep mid on to see off Ralph, handing Dave his second wicket, and Spencer skidded one through to send Nick Woollard back for a golden duck. However, Diyen remained in the middle teaming up with Zahal to end the HICCs with a flourish, closing on 148-7, a decent if not dominating total.

But if we thought chasing that down would be straightforward, it certainly wasn’t. Muhammad, tearing in from the far end, drove a cart through the start of our innings clean bowling first Connor and then Gav with his first two deliveries. Hmm.

Spencer joined Gaurav (promoted to open the innings) to restore some much needed calm although scoring opportunities remained limited. Eventually though the pair got going and by the 10 over mark we were 61-2, just a little behind the required rate. However the change of ends aided the HICCs’ cause and with a lobbed catch to cover off Derek Owen, Spencer was soon gone for 25.

Abhik was fortunate to survive a caught-and-bowled chance to Tony and managed to just about keep us on track with Gaurav who was marching towards fifty until, on 47, he sent an expansive drive up to long off where Zahal took the crucial catch. Andy Silvester, our other débutant of the evening, marched in and cockily asked Abhik ‘how fast are you?’ clearly ready to run.

However, Abhik’s agility took a literal hit when he took one square in the midriff off Zahal who then bowled him for 19 a couple of deliveries later. With thirty odd still needed off the last four overs the tension mounted and bubbled over on more than one occasion – Diyen angrily protesting a no-ball called for an above the waist delivery. However Harry remained unfazed and joined Andy to scamper between the stumps to remain in the hunt.

It was the oppo unfortunately who had the last word as, in our pursuit of quick runs, we suffered a brace of run outs with first Andy and then on the penultimate delivery Ali falling short, crucially keeping Harry off strike. Needing four from the last ball Rohit gamely swung but alas could not connect and the opposition hollered in glee having hung on to win by the narrowest of margins.

As has too often been the case in this early part of the season we ended up on the wrong side of a close contest but with one more match against the HICCs in the diary next month, we have a chance to balance the books. Next up, it’s the Trundlers!

Gavin Richardson

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