Bexley CC v Streatham and Marlborough CC
By Steve Griggs
Joe Howard and Steve Shanks see us home.
Arriving at the Griffin Sports Ground in Dulwich in brilliant sunshine, it was certainly going to be a very hot afternoon. An early pitch inspection of which was a very dry and interesting track swayed the skipper into thinking a bowl first if the toss of the coin was favourable. It was and the decision to bowl was probably the right shout.
Young Ollie Smith and Charlie Hills opened up and whilst Ollie bowled a tight line and length, Charlie struggled a bit bowling a tad too short with the two Streatham openers seizing the opportunity and a few boundaries were dispatched. Ollie returned fine figures bowling five overs for only 7 runs. Charlie on another day would pick up wickets but with the bounce and pace, he was taken to task but there’s always next week!
The skipper took over from Charlie and Steve Shanks at the velodrome end. Shanksy soon had the breakthrough with an LBW, their opener going for 26. The lad at the other end was looking good and batted well for 56 giving only one chance. Soon followed another run out for Joe Howard who has fielded so well this season. It was, to be fair, a suicidal run but Joe was composed and did his stuff. Griggsy soon had another with their skipper being caught by Mike Shelvey. Two more followed for the skipper with a well directed Yorker to their left handed number 4 and a sharp catch at first slip taken by Steve Shanks. Max Hallett was not at his usual best but still picked up a good LBW followed by a good catch by Viraj at extra cover. Shrikant toiled away but then decided to upset their umpire, who had turned down what was an absolute stonewall LBW appeal; it couldn’t have been more out. Words were exchanged following a hearty extended appeal from Shri and then another. The captain was called over and calmed the situation and the game continued, much to the amusement of the fielding side! It was left to Mike Shelvey to follow Shrikant’s wicket with two at the end of the innings. Another catch for Viraj in the covers and another even sharper catch by Shanksy at slip. Awesome stuff from the big man, who by now was suffering the effects of a pulled something behind his knee……no quick singles today.
Tea was taken under the trees and Joe Howard and Neil Cleave prepared to knock off the 122 required to win. A promising start was compounded when Neil snicked off to the keeper diving at full stretch to take what was a rather good catch. It was the only thing he took all afternoon. Joe continued and was soon firing off boundaries with some excellent square cuts, the ball racing over the quick outfield. James Willis batted intensely and was very watchful of some interesting bounce until one climbed on him a bit for a catch off the top of the bat. Viraj fell to a strange played on around his legs and Shanksy then joined Joe in the middle. With ease, both started to find the boundary rope and the score ticked along well until Joe managed to drag one round onto his stumps finishing on a very good 56 which included 9 fours. Steve kept hitting and young Charlie walked out to join him with the words of advice from the skipper still ringing in his eras…”block the straight ones, no quick singles and let Steve hit the big ones”. Charlie prepared to face his first ball and with a total lack of respect for the bowler, hit the biggest six of the match over backward square leg followed next ball by a four. That was it really, Steve scoring 37 with 8 fours. 123 for 4 and a very satisfying win bagging another 20 points in the chase for promotion.
Shri suitably admonished for his outburst (which was very amusing) apologised but it was all taken in good heart. We left our friends at S&M with them wishing us well in our new division for 2018. Bit premature I thought but a nice gesture.