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Match 4 (8th scheduled) 2022: May 29

Chesham Bois CC vs Pimlico Strollers CC

Strollers stay strong to stave off Chesham's charge
posted: May 30, 2022

Strollers vs Chesham Bois, 29 May 2022

The Strollers breathed a palpable sigh of relief yesterday evening after we stoically held it together to clinch a nail-biting win away to Chesham Bois after the hosts mounted a spirited charge to pull up just 10 runs shy of our total.

On a sunny (if chilly) afternoon in the natural amphitheatre created by the surrounding woodland of Chesham Common, Harry won the toss and chose to bat first. However, with the pitch offering wildly varying bounce, batting proved tricky as the skipper found himself when he was clean bowled early on. Abhik, in at three, joined George to steady the ship before unleashing some typically aggressive hitting around the ground. George watchfully provided steadfast support and by drinks the pair had mounted a superb 100 run partnership.

Having notched up his fifty, Abhik crashed a huge straight six into the flora and fauna before taking one swing too many and was bowled by Vish. Gav, warned of the temperamental conditions, joined George in the middle and settled in for a war of attrition with scoring opportunities limited. However, after a few misfires, he eventually got going and began to find the boundary. George notched up his own fifty – crucial in the context of the game although not without incident (at one point splintering his bat as he attempted a pull shot resulting in the odd sight of bat travelling further than ball) – but the pitch again had the final say as a daisy-cutter skidded through and Brown Snr returned to the hutch on 53.

With just a few overs remaining Gav tried to up the ante with a few lusty blows and had just smashed a lofted straight drive to the ropes when he chipped one up to midwicket and departed for 29. Débutant Kartik selflessly took his chances but was undone by Naveen whilst Ron, fresh from his blistering unbeaten 96 on Thursday, carted a couple of boundaries square of the wicket before he too was beaten. Thankfully Davids Couldrey and Gorton were able to take us past the hundred mark – the latter clubbing the final ball of our innings straight down the ground for a glorious final four – and we closed on a respectable if not imposing 206-7.

With cricket teas still very much a hit-or-miss occurrence as we emerge from the shadow of Covid, we were beyond thrilled to be treated to the fine spread on offer in the Chesham Bois pavilion – the lemon and vanilla sponge cakes particularly enjoyable and needless to say the Strollers represented well.

We returned to the field duly refreshed and were delighted by the early dismissal of Alex who was beaten by a devilish inswinger from Abhik. From then on though it was a case of both sides grafting to gain any advantage. Rohit, replacing Harry from the far end, ground out a controlling spell that nicely contained the Chesham batsmen, Hussein and Withams. In turn both tried their luck with some loose uppish shots against Davie G but were met with fierce resistance in the shape Ali and Batesy (returning from Kiwiland for his first post-pandemic Strollers outing in two years) who patrolled the onside boundary and threw their bodies on the line to frustrate the batters.

With 80 odd on the scoreboard at drinks and with a required rate above one per ball we felt quietly confident of defending our total. However, after the break, we remained frustrated as neither batsman offered anything resembling a chance and, as their confidence grew, so did their run rate… brows in the field began to furrow as we eyed the scoreboard with caution. Eventually the breakthrough finally came when, in a moment of absent-mindedness, Withams wandered out of his crease and the Kitten, Lineker-like, sharply tapped the ball onto the stumps with his boot to run him out.

Kerai, having struck a thundering pull shot for four from his first ball, was dismissed in similar fashion and Umar was sharply taken for 2 by Davie (who was having quite a first match of the season) but that didn’t allay our concern as Hussein powered on, reaching 90 and bringing his side to within 30 runs of victory. So it was with whoops of utter relief we celebrated when Batesy took a spectacular diving catch off Kartik at deep long on to dismiss the Chesham dangerman.

But, for all the elation, we remained far from out of the woods. Walia, sportingly reprieved by Harry (having believed the ball to be dead when Davie again ran him out), continued the charge with a brace of boundaries and we worried we had offered him one life too many. Mercifully the skipper delivered the decisive blow when he skidded one through the gate and Walia was this time definitely sent packing.

With 16 required off the final over all we had to do was keep our heads. Thankfully we did. Abhik closed out the innings with six wicket-to-wicket deliveries that offered little and, on 196-6, our hosts conceded defeat. Squeaky bums throughout the field collectively unclenched and we walked off mindful that in other games in other seasons we have been known to ‘lose our excrement’ in similar circumstances. Our good hosts graciously shook our hands, agreeing it had been a great game as we all repaired to the pavilion to make use of the newly-constructed bar. Our third win from three but by far the toughest. Well played lads.

Gavin Richardson

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