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Match 10 (17th scheduled), 2016: July 31

Railway Taverners CC vs Pimlico Strollers CC

Strollers survive late scares to seal close win over Agricola in a thriller
posted: July 31, 2016

This afternoon we secured a hat trick of three successive wins with victory over our new(ish) friends Agricola but, boy, was it a close thing!

With the oppo winning the toss and predictably choosing to bat first on a typically flat track on the main pitch at North London CC, we did very well to restrict them to a sub-200 score. This largely thanks to an all round excellent bowling effort with wickets taken by all of our eight bowlers, the highlights of which being Sam's first scalp for the Strollers, a stunning running catch in the deep from Tom to see off the troublesome Thody (after he had hit a fine half century) and a near hat trick from Viral who snaffled two return catches off his own bowling in successive balls late in the latter stages of the Agricola innings.

It didn't all go our way, however — and the anguish of 8 runs leaked to overthrows in the final over cast a threatening shadow over what was otherwise another fine effort in the field... the fear being that those runs — allowing the oppo to close on 198 — may return to haunt us later in the day.

In response, we got off to a flier. Gav seemed somewhat light headed to start off with as, in a sea of red mist, he flailed around in the early stages of his innings, somehow surviving several scares with edges and a rank drop at mid off. However the big man rode his luck and, once he got his eye in, began carting the ball to all corners — firstly by lobbing his oppositite number Norledge for two huge sixes off successive deliveries. At the other end Spencer was unlucky to play on and Henry, next in, fell to an excellent diving catch at mid off without troubling the scorers.

However, with Tim now in the middle, we continued to keep the pace up scoring well above the asking rate and when Gav lofted yet another six over long on to notch up his fifty, the win was starting look all but a formality. However having taken us over the hundred mark and thumped his way to 66 the skipper's luck ran out as he looped one directly to point, so ending a corking knock. Kashif steadied the ship somewhat but with our target still some sixty-odd away, was unlucky to bash a fizzing catch directly to cover's waiting hands.

There then followed an alarming period as firstly Tim, having hit 26, holed out to Marshall before our middle order batsmen developed a pattern of getting themselves out with a series of ungainly hoiks. The 150 came up in good time but we were shedding wickets uncomfortably fast with Viral, Sam and Paul all coming and going all rather too quickly. However Tom —in at seven — remained stoic and playing with due care and attention waited for scoring opportunites as they presented themselves and dispatched a series of delightful boundaries, mainly square of the wicket.

Despite some early jitters Ronak, in at nine, quickly understood his supporting role and sensibly farmed the strike to Tom, who continued to time the ball beautifully. Nevertheless nerves on the boundary were noticably fraying with all knowing that just one more wicket would put us perilously close to falling just short (remember those overthrows, anyone?).

However, as we entered the 32nd over Ronak eased the pressure with two lovely lofted fours to mid wicket allowing Tom to finish the job the following over ...much to our palpable relief and joy. Never let it be said that a cool head under pressure counts for little and Tom's assured self control as he took us over the the winning line with a final four — carrying him to a vital unbeaten 36 — was very likely the difference between the two sides and happily restored parity to our results for the season.

A thrilling end to an excellent game, notable by the exemplary spirit in which it was played throughout, and we very much look forward to meeting Agricola for a third time once again next year.

Gavin Richardson


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