For the opening game of the 2021 season, we were hosted in the glorious surroundings of the Buckhurst Hill main ground at Roding Lane. Sadly your correspondent was badly delayed when the A13 was closed by the police for several hours, so the first part of this report is reliant upon the facts as recorded in the scorebook. Dodgers won the toss and chose to field - this is one of the very few timed games that we play during the year, adding an extra dimension to Captain Ralph's strategic skills.
The opening pair of Charlie and Mike McIntyre were successful and economical, picking up two wickets each in their first spell. Support from Sarfraz and Nitin at first change was equally accurate, with further help coming from Ralph and John. With the game looking under our control at 8 wickets down, Buckhurst Hill managed to put on rather more for the last two wickets than we would have liked, and 178 seemed a fair total for us to aim at after the break.
Opening the batting for Dodgers, Mehboob and Komal began at a cracking pace against a high-quality Buckhurst Hill attack, taking 32 off the first five overs. The bowlers began to turn the screw, however, and the run rate fell back considerably before Mehboob was bowled for a commendable 21. Sarfraz and Tawhid perished cheaply, while Jatinder pushed on nicely for his 21 before becoming the first of four victims to the leg spinner Oxlade. Mike Dollin's dismissal was the cue for our middle-order collapse, memorable only for the moment that Chairman John at last reached his 2,000 career runs for Dodgers with a sweep to the boundary (and was then bowled next ball). As the game drew to its close, Komal started to hit out in the hope of smashing us to victory IPL-style, but eventually he and Mike Mc realised that this was beyond the realms of possibility and held out for an honourable draw. A great game played in the best spirit and in lovely surroundings, with Komal's unbeaten 76 the stand-out memory of the day.
Man of the Match votes: Komal 10, Mike Mc 1
The Dodgers XI at the interval
Man of the Match Komal