A very nice summer's evening saw Dodgers take on Ad Hoc in the open expanses of Regent's Park, close by the canal, the zoological gardens and the English Folk Song Society's headquarters (Cecil Sharp House, for those who are not regular visitors).
Dodgers went in to bat first, with Jack and Ben leading off in fine spirit against some useful Ad Hoc bowling. The grass in the outfield was very long, so that even shots out of the middle of the bat ended up as no more than singles. The scoring rate chugged along, with Jack retiring unbeaten, but wickets began to tumble as we tried to force the pace by accelerated running between the wickets. Theo, on debut for Dodgers, played some excellent shots, including a spanking six over the long on boundary, while Noman pulled out first a reverse sweep and then a ramp shot in a Dilshanesque display of inventiveness. Still we were unable to score with freedom, and when the Ad Hoc openers came back to bowl at the end of the innings, things tightened up even further. A glorious straight drive from Bilal was caught in the deep, more Dodgers batsmen ran themselves out in the cause, and we ended up with 99 off our twenty overs. Not a huge score, but with the shaggy outfield this still looked eminently defendable.
Dodgers had brought a strong bowling attack, with Bilal and Noman both leading off well from the start. Ad Hoc obviously knew the ground better than we did, however, and managed to score more freely, with some good boundaries early on. Two brilliant catches from Mike and Bilal broke the opening partnership, while Bilal claimed his own wicket with an excellent clean bowled off the last ball of his spell. Mike and Theo took over as first change, the former limping as the result of a turned ankle sustained while batting, but Ad Hoc continued to hit out and were always up with the required rate. Jack and John came on for the final overs, with the oppo needing 22 off their last three to win, and it remained close right to the end. With 2 required for victory off the very last delivery, the ball skidded away into the off side and we lost by one run. A great game, played in the best of spirits and with several memorable moments. Special mention must be made of Captain Ralph's excellent wicket keeping, with numerous balls fizzing into his gloves at great speed and at least one from Bilal knocking him over entirely.
Man of the Match votes: Jack 4, Theo 4, Bilal 1, Noman 1
|How could this lot ever lose??