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Match 01 2023: April 30

Croxley Guild CC vs Pimlico Strollers CC

Spencer makes history as Strollers kick off with comfortable win at Croxley
posted: May 1, 2023

Strollers vs Croxley Guild, 30 April 2023

The Strollers hit the ground running with a resounding win yesterday over the Croxley Guild to start the 2023 season in style.

Having won the toss and with the weather set fair, the oppo confidently opted to bat first but were met with a Strollers attack that offered no quarter. Seemingly in no need of pre-season practice our bowlers immediately found a miserly line and Harry made an early breakthrough as he cleaned out Rose’s stumps.

With the oppo’s score still dwindling in the low twenties after the first 10 overs Ron was brought on first change and struck when Woodford chipped one up to Viral prowling in the covers. However, this brought Croxley’s dangerman Danny Dallas to the crease who immediately looked to impose himself with a trio of lusty blows through the midwicket boundary and it looked as though the oppo had finally found their mojo as they romped onto 76 without further loss at drinks.

Thankfully, as is so often the way, the interval yielded the all-important breakthrough when Danny, cursing himself, chopped onto his stumps from Ron’s first delivery after the break – much to our delight. At that, Croxley’s remaining opener Cusack took it upon himself to cut loose and opened his shoulders to cart a succession of powerful drives to the long on boundary.

Despite that, the oppo never managed to re-assert themselves as, at the other end, skipper Spencer replaced Viral and promptly claimed the wicket of his opposite number Chris, in so doing drawing level with Graeme Holmes’ longstanding record of 275 Strollers wickets. Spence didn’t have to wait much longer to draw clear when he clean bowled Akers to make history with his 276th dismissal – a superb effort 17 seasons in the making!

Fowler’s celebrations almost went into overdrive when, next ball, he set up the hat trick when he bowled Kemp. Much to grinning Ron’s schadenfreude the next delivery to Coyle simply plopped legside but straight after that the Croxley number nine chipped the ball straight back to Spencer who happily collected his fourth wicket of the afternoon.

With little left to lose, Cusack continued his charge and notched up a well-earned fifty before skying one to Ron for his own three-fer. All that remained was for us to mop up the tail which we easily did with débutant Harshit steaming in at a searing pace to blow away Croxley’s last pair standing as the oppo crumbled to close on a paltry 95 all out.

Perhaps knowing their only chance was to slow us down in our tracks, Croxley served up a sumptuous tea in the finest cricketing traditions with bountiful sandwiches, jam tarts and cupcakes on offer. It was perhaps this that caused Gav to literally take his eye off the ball as, no sooner had we marched back out to bat, he was sent back to the hutch without scoring after Manners Snr’s second delivery turned a little off the slope, crept past the big man’s bat and plopped onto his stumps …not the start we wanted.

However, that was all that remained for Croxley to celebrate as from here on in it was one way traffic. Connor, promoted to open in George’s absence, rode his luck a little with a brace of dropped chances but took full advantage with some expansive shots powering through the thick grass in the outfield to kick start our innings.

Joined by Satyaki Bose – another mate of Ron’s making his début – the pair marched on untroubled to reach the fifty mark and accelerated on as our target came into view. Connor notched up a fine half century, his second against Croxley, and without further incident we romped over the winning line in just the 18th over, the resounding nine wicket victory every bit as convincing as it sounds.

Croxley, the gentlemen that they are, warmly congratulated us knowing that they have given and will doubtless again give us sterner tests but on this day the spoils were ours and it was truly delightful to get back underway with a win. Stroll on to another great season!

Gavin Richardson
01.05.23

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