Dodgers v Science Museum

Thursday 28 June
South Park

Dodgers won by 51 runs

Dodgers are totally spoiled by the facilities at Chiswick, but even so the track in South Park was a horror: rutted, bumpy, covered in cinder and sporting a sizeable dog turd. The outfield was also in very poor nick, with more dog turds waiting for the unwary.

It was with some trepidation, then, that Dodgers openers Priest and McBarron strolled out. Phil has been in better form this week: an unbeaten 30 on Tuesday and a fifty for Superstars on Wednesday, but today wasn't his day. First ball up, he got a delivery that lifted quite sharply and only succeeded in steering it to first slip who held a decent low catch. Reports from the sidelines suggested that Phil had complained of "variable bounce". Call me a traditionalist, but when I went to school variance was given by åi(xi-m)²/(n-1), which is, of course, invalid when n=1!

Wise heads suggested we'd get 80 but would win it, and they were partly right. Priest struggled to cope initially with the slow pace and strange bounce but ground on; Carr, dropped from a facile chance on 1, took advantage by making a rapid 19 – including a beautiful straight six – before playing down the wrong line and being bowled. John Cooper departed soon after for 5, but Andrew Crawford and an increasingly assured Priest took toll of some quick but wayward bowling as the score mounted rapidly.

Crawford fell for 23 including four boundaries to be replaced by Mike Coronno. Mike's demotion did not reflect his form or ability, rather the result of a bizarre journey that started at 4pm and ended when he reached the ground... at 7.10pm. Speaking of bizarre, Priest's excellent innings ended in unusual circumstances as he over-rotated trying to hit one of Science's lesser bowlers and trod on his stumps; two balls later Coronno's innings ended when he was stumped off a wide for 16. Neil Benn and Kim Matthews scrambled a few singles and Dodgers ended at 142-6, a fabulous effort in the circumstances.

No one doubted that Dodgers would win and so it proved. Terry Hawton looked out of sorts opening from one end, but John Adey cashed in with two early wickets (courtesy of Messrs Carr and Coronno) while conceding just 14 runs as Science quickly fell behind the required rate.

First change Benn bowled poorly, but also cashed in: his first ball was a long hop that kept ridiculously low and hit middle stump and he also picked up a wicket thanks to a smart catch by Hawton at a short gully. At the other end Matt Leach was extracting a great deal of turn, and though his length wasn't consistent enough he picked up 2 victims – both bowled – for only 20.

With the match well and truly won, Crawford took up the attack... and promptly went for two fours. He had the last laugh though. Bowling to a field with four slips he ripped one through Science's only major contributor (Hopkins) for 46, then with his seventh ball of the 19th over bowled a tail-ender to record a double-wicket maiden as the jeers from the boundary rang around west London. There was also a rare sight for Dodgers aficionados as the Cat shed his flaps and bowled a couple of overs at the death.

This was a comprehensive victory for the Dodgers. Man-of-the-Match Priest's skill and belligerence being the centrepiece for an excellent batting effort with several cameo contributions. The bowlers were never pressured, but made the most of a very poor pitch where extra pace didn't always help. Bring on the Superstars!