Despite a booking mix-up and the late arrival of half the opposition, a reduced Dodgers team of just nine faced the Kensington Wanderers on the far pitch at Chiswick. Captain Ralph won the toss and elected to bat first in view of the overcast conditions and potential loss of light. The Wanderers kindly promised to lend us the services of their young talent Ishan in the field.
Mehboob opened the innings with Sachin, welcomed back to the Dodgers fold after his debut performance for us last year at Parliament Hill. The Wanderers bowling attack was relentlessly accurate and it proved difficult to get the ball off the square in the initial overs. Worse still, the outfield grass was so long that even the most powerful shots ended up as no more than singles or, at best, twos. Mehboob was caught and bowled for 6, Jatinder played on for 8 and Tawhid was caught for 5 as the Dodgers tried to increase the scoring rate. By this time Sachin had got into his stride, driving beautifully through the off side and punishing the bad balls ruthlessly, so that before long he was back in the pavilion with an unbeaten 25. New recruit (and Chiswick local) David Barnes pushed on with Noman before they too were replaced by Jack, who hit out powerfully, and Ralph, who came in for the last few balls. Our total of 93 for 5 may have looked meagre, but with the outfield as unresponsive as it was, this was not such a bad score.
Jack (4-1-1-10) and Noman (4-1-1-15) opened our bowling attack extremely tightly, so that the Wanderers managed to post no more than 22 off their first seven overs. Sachin came on as first change and promptly took two further wickets in his first over, leaving Dodgers as strong favourites for the win. The Wanderers were far from finished, however, and their strongest batsmen Diago and Tom proceeded to drag them back into the game, both retiring unbeaten after a flurry of boundaries. John and NJ joined Sachin in the attack (NJ guesting for us briefly from his parallel game for Ad Hoc) but neither was able to stem the flow of runs. Mehboob was brought on to bowl the final over, but by this time the odds were stacked against us. The Wanderers passed our total with one ball to spare, winning what was a compelling and very pleasant game.
Man of the Match votes: Sachin 8, Jack 1
The Dodgers core, ready for anything