Another strong Dodgers team faced the auld foe Superstars in the first round of the 2021 competition for the Ken Block Trophy. Having lost the trophy last season after a five-year run of keeping it in our victory cabinet, we needed to get this year's rubber off on the right foot.
Dodgers went in to bat first, with Mehboob and Mike starting hesitantly against the Superstars bowling attack. The pitch was slow and spongey and the outfield even slower, making it difficult to get the ball away, and it took us a good few overs to get into our stride. Mehboob was bowled trying to push the run rate up, and Mike was joined in the middle by Jatinder, who hit out with similar intent before being caught. With the score stagnating, swift running between the wickets became a necessity - but, in true Dodgers fashion, this had the opposite of the desired effect. Mike D, correctly calling for a quick one, pulled up half way down the track with a torn calf muscle, and limped off the park in considerable pain. He would take no further part in the match, and our woes were compounded when Ben was run out soon after. We had made just 39 off our first ten overs, and things were looking shaky.
Luke, on debut for Dodgers, teamed up with Jack in the middle but still it proved hard to score freely. Only when Adam came in and unleashed his long handle did things begin to move: his strong 26 together with some equally good hitting from Captain Ralph pushed the run rate back up again, and it was only a smart caught-and-bowled from Lovell that finally sent Adam back to the pavilion. With wickets tumbling, Noman, John and Mike Mc saw us through to the close. Our final total of 101 was better than it might have been, but still looked short of what we should have achieved.
Despite some excellent bowling by Mike Mc and Noman, the Superstars openers began their chase strongly, with Conway and Warren finding the boundary more regularly than we had managed and posting an unbeaten 53 off their first ten overs. Once Jack had broken that partnership, however, the game began to swing back in our favour. Adam bowled a magnificent spell of 4-2-7-3, his three wickets coming in the space of just four balls, and Superstars were soon looking distinctly vulnerable. We tightened the screw still further and, with 12 needed to win off the last over, we should really have emerged victorious. In the end Superstars equalled our score of 101 exactly, and the tie was a fitting result for a match which could have gone either way.
Man of the Match votes: Adam 10, Ralph 1
Photographs courtesy of Rachel Allen
|Chairman John with sunset and new club mascot Harry|
|Harry watching nervously as the game hung in the balance|
|A glorious evening at Chiswick|