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Match 17 (29th scheduled) 2022: September 20

Chipperfield Clarendon CC vs Pimlico Strollers CC

Skipper Harry stars as Strollers end season in style
posted: September 20, 2022

Pimlico Strollers v Chipperfield Clarendon, 18 September 2022

The curtain came down on our domestic 2022 season on Sunday with an impressive win away at Chipperfield Clarendon, led from the front by captain Harry Brown.

For the benefit of those who may be unfamiliar, Chipperfield is a picturesque Hertfordshire village which boasts an idyllic cricket pitch, nestled as it is between thick woodland on one side and a church spire and country pub on the other. Before the start of proceedings both sides lined up along the edge of the wicket for a minute’s silence to remember the passing of our dear recently departed Queen Elizabeth II with the ground bathed in late summer sun.

With the weather set fair the skipper had no hesitation opting to bat first upon winning the toss and joined his old man George to open the innings. Together father and son succeeded in seeing off a probing opening spell from the Chipperfield seamers Ross and Hunt, securing the valuable platform of an unbeaten fifty opening stand at which point Harry began to press his foot on the gas and the boundaries began to fly. However, with the introduction of the oppo’s first change bowlers, Brown Snr was tempted and lobbed one up from Jones to be caught in the covers for 15.

This brought Abhik to the middle who immediately found his rhythm and, with a series of lusty blows square of the wicket, eased us over the hundred mark as we headed to drinks with Harry notching up a fine half century on the way. However, as is so often the way, the break in proceedings aided the oppo and we faltered upon the resumption with Harry holing out to long off for 60, Abhik edging to gully for 30 and Gav failing to trouble the scorers at four as he was bamboozled by Arslan’s off spin.

Spencer – looking more fluent than for some weeks since his injuring his wrist – was joined in the middle by Ron and, thankfully, the pair righted our ship as they took advantage of the looser stuff now on offer from Chipperfield’s slower bowlers with aggressive strokeplay all around the park, pushing our total above 150.

Eventually Spencer succumbed to spin when he was stumped off Astridge for a valuable 28 but Ron ploughed on, hoiking a brace of sixes through midwicket. With one over left we only needed four more to press home the psychological advantage of posting 200 and this we gladly did as Ron scampered through. Unfortunately his scampering ultimately stitched up his pals Karthik and Avnish – both victims of a ‘Ron out’ in the final over but nonetheless the job was done as we closed on 205-7 with Banerjee unbeaten on a handsome 46.

With the prospect of the ground’s sizeable and slowish outfield alongside our wealth of bowling options we felt it should certainly be a defendable total but, after we emerged refreshed from our home made teas (and some pub grub from over the road) concern mounted as we shed 12 from the first over. This was largely down to the efforts of Chipperfields 1st elevener Arslan whose belligerent batting pounded us relentlessly for the next ten overs or so, easily eclipsing the rate required as he smashed a quickfire fifty in seemingly no time. Oh dear.

Thankfully, as drinks approached, the skipper’s decision to turn to late call up Avnish paid off as Deshpande made the first breakthrough when Chappel – furious with himself – played on. He followed that up moments later when Abhik, now keeping wicket having completed a luckless opening spell, took a textbook catch behind to see off Ross.

Spencer was introduced from the Pavilion End and, aided by bowling out of the setting sun, was rewarded with the instant dismissal of Liam who lost sight of the ball and was trapped LBW without scoring. With three down at drinks things were starting to look more promising but, as long as Arslan was there, the target looked well within Chipperfield’s reach.

Mercifully he wasn’t there much longer. With Rohit brought on at the Church End after the break to replace Avnish, the opener took one swash too many and top edged the ball up between point and cover where George made excellent ground to pouch the all-important and likely match-turning catch to the hollers of delights of the onlooking Strollers.

However, there remained a job to be done and whilst the oppo were starting to slip behind the required rate, their middle order proved difficult to shift. Spencer managed to nab one more – bowling Hogan through the gate – but eventually ran out of overs, leaving himself just shy of 4 wickets to become the Strollers’ most prolific bowler ever.

Harry therefore took matters into his own hands to give a master class in mopping up the tail as he clattered through the Chipperfield lower order with a trio of dismissals, in so doing notching up 100 Strollers’ wickets (just as Ron had done a couple of weeks earlier at Croxley, criminally un-reported – Ed) when he gleefully took a return catch to see off Rich.

Still, the fat lady had not yet warmed up her lungs and when Harry spilled 16 off his penultimate over, a mild panic set in the field as the oppo’s target dipped beneath 30 needed. We needn’t have worried – Harry righted matters in his final over, bowling Chipperfield’s cheeky chappie Hammond out for a duck to end with impressive match figures of 4-65.

Ron returned, having been somewhat savaged by Arslan earlier on, with more success this time to collect the final wicket clinging on to a skier and thus sealing our season with a win. A wonderful game whose fortunes swung this way and that and, in a manner matching our win at Croxley two weeks previously, demonstrated again how hanging in there can reap rewards.

Despite the various challenges of the summer we ended up handsomely in the black, having won 11 games out of 17 and so it is with a spring in our step that we prepare to board the plane to Munich this Friday… as we stroll on to Oktoberfest. What could possibly go wrong?


Gavin Richardson

20.09.2022

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