Dodgers headed out of London to the glorious venue of Windsor Great Park for this new fixture, arranged through the excellent initiative of Milind
and hosted by gracious permission of Her Majesty the Queen. The ground was ringed by majestic parkland oaks and we played to the accompaniment of red kites screeching and wheeling overhead. Add to this a sumptuous tea and it was truly the sort of Sunday afternoon one could get used to very easily!
Dodgers lost the toss and were put in to the field on a turning wicket which also showed signs of extremely variable bounce. Bilal and NJ started very tightly (5-2-8-1 and 4-1-9-1, respectively) and the Windsor openers found it hard to score in more than ones and twos. Raj pouched a nice looping catch at first slip off Bilal to set us on our way, and when keeper Komal leapt salmon-like to remove the Windsor captain off NJ it set the tone for an exceptional Dodgers fielding performance. Jim took a sharp diving catch off David before helping himself to two caught-and-bowleds in a healthy spell of 3-1-5-2, while Tom rose to World Cup standards with a diving catch in front of him and Captain Ralph backpedalled to pluck a skier out of the air from over his head. Milind, playing against his sometime Dodgers team mates, anchored the Windsor innings, making a solid 35 before he was struck LBW in his crease by Gary, who removed two further batsmen in a devastating spell of 4-0-29-3. Loss of wickets proved Windsor's undoing, as they were all out for 162 four overs shy of their 35. Dodgers used eight bowlers in total, all of whom contributed in keeping the opposition total below what it could have been.
Komal and NJ opened cautiously for Dodgers, and were soon experiencing the worst vicissitudes of an unpredictable pitch. Komal was particularly unlucky to play on from a ball which signally failed to do what was expected of it; as a mark of the sporting spirit in which the game was played, he received apologies from bowler Milind and Windsor captain Harry alike! Jatinder replaced Komal at the crease, and before long the crowd was being treated to a master class in how to build a winning partnership as both he and NJ battled their way past 50 in difficult circumstances. The two put on 131 for the second wicket, thus earning them immortality on the all-time Dodgers top partnerships board
. When Jatinder was finally caught behind for 61, there was still a bit of work to do but Raj showed fine form in notching up 17* of his own and steering us home with four overs to spare. A good win on a gorgeous ground in the friendliest of matches - what more could one ask for?
|The lovely ground|
|The final reckoning|
|The post-match debrief|