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Match 9 2023 (11th scheduled): June 25

Chesham Bois CC v Pimlico Strollers CC

Shorthanded Strollers suffer stinging defeat at Chesham
posted: June 26, 2023

Strollers vs Chesham Bois, 25 June 2023

With only seven regular Strollers plus Spencer’s mate Sanj at our disposal, our threadbare side returned from sunny Chesham Bois yesterday evening empty-handed, having been handed a decisive 7 wicket defeat at the hands of the home side.

The afternoon had started off well enough. With blazing hot sun searing the forested amphitheatre of Chesham Common George won the toss and naturally opted to bat first, much to our relief with none of us relishing the thought of fielding in 30 degree heat. The skipper joined Gav to withstand a probing initial spell from the Chesham openers but, before long, the bowlers tired and we got the scoreboard ticking over nicely with George boldly marching down the pitch with menacing intent to send the ball into the bushy boundary.

With 50 up without loss Chesham turned to their young leg spinner Reeve who managed to get one to turn sharply off George’s toes, bowling the skipper for 22. However this brought Abhik to the middle who wasted no time in brutally mauling the youngster’s bowling, lofting ball after ball into the surrounding trees with a lengthy intermission between deliveries whilst each missing cherry was located.

Gav got into the act, saving his still knackered knees with a few lusty blows of his own and blasted three successive fours off the bowling of off spinner Norton, brought on first change, before he sent down a loopy straight one and bowled the big man for 33.

This didn’t deter Abhik who charged on, sending the ball to all parts on his way to a fine fifty and took our total into three figures with Harry who also didn’t mess about finding the middle of the bat until, having made it to 23, he was bamboozled by another leggy one from Reeve. Varun, in at five, defiantly carried on regardless and made his intentions clear with a brace of huge sixes over long on.

The oppo looked on demoralised as messrs Ghosh and Deo helped themselves to anything off line and, as we sped towards the 200 mark, it took almost everyone by surprise when Abhik finally missed a straight one from Uma and he was bowled for a superb 71. Spencer joined Varun to continue the charge, taking the score over 200 but snicked behind for 12. Varun’s assault eventually came to an end when he holed out to Verai, having hit an excellent 40, ensuring that we would post a respectable total.

Sanj was unable to get off the mark before getting bowled by Verai but Avnish, making his first appearance of the season was able to chip in a couple more with Spencer (recycled as our lowest scorer) and we closed on 240-7… in normal circumstances a handsome total.

Chesham’s weary fielders finally made their way back to the shade to join us for a truly sumptuous tea – by some distance the best spread of the season thus far with freshly cut sandwiches, jam tarts and a wealth of cake choices on offer. We supped in good spirits, feeling we had acquitted ourselves well with the bat and as we trotted back onto the pitch with a couple of fielders kindly lent to us from the oppo to make a game of it, we felt quietly confident we could get the job done.

Three overs in we felt even more chirpy when George clung on to a well taken catch at point off Abhik to see off opener Alex early doors. Norton bounded on at three exuding an air of swagger with a bit of chatter and looked handy with good technique but made it only as far as 23 when he marched down the pitch to Avnish who foxed him with a looped straight delivery and he was satisfyingly bowled. So far, so good.

However this brought the heavy-hitting Uma to the middle who immediately announced his presence with a soaring six over mid on. At the other end, Paul Withams nurdled the ball around with ease and the scoreboard ticked over only slightly behind the required run rate. Hmm, perhaps this wouldn’t be so easy.

Oddly, it was perhaps the third wicket that turned the game when Avnish collected his second dismissal of the day, again bowling Withams through the gate. That, unfortunately, turned out to be our final breakthrough of the day.
Wicketkeeper Ali joined Uma at the crease and any initial thoughts that he might merely play second fiddle as the supporting act were quickly undone as he sent a barrage of quickfire boundaries into the fauna square of the wicket.

By drinks the oppo were well ahead of the run rate at 136-3 and from there on nary a chance came our way. Our only hope was the threat of rain as the gathering clouds overhead spat out a quick shower, but it didn’t last. Increasingly the gaps in our field came all too easy to find and our cause clearly wasn’t helped by the lack of an eleventh man. With your writer hobbling round like an invalid in the outfield – his knees no longer co-operating in any sense – in truth we only had nine able bodies at our disposal and, despite the continued efforts of our bowlers, we bled runs all over the place.

By the end it was simply a case of when, not if the oppo would reach the winning line and in truth we did well to hold out until the 31st over when Ali carved a cover drive to the boundary and, with that, victory was Chesham’s. Deflated, we trudged off to the kind handshakes of the oppo having again failed to defend a total – a task made all the tougher by our lack of numbers. There are of course still plenty of games ahead to get back to winning ways but we’ll need greater participation to get there.

Step up, Strollers …your club needs you.

Gavin Richardson

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