Match report by special correspondent Michael Dollin
It was a grey evening for the renewal of our Ken Block Trophy rivalry with Superstars on Thursday last and Ralph agreed to a normal rule match, swapping ends etc. Then lost the toss and Barry chose to bat, leaving les grognards to well ... grogner about chasing in the dark etc. We didn't start too late after 6 and Superstars lent us a fielder to help with the usual straggling and get on with it. All very typical really.
Superstars showed intent - coming out swinging, mainly missing and occasionally connecting (initially from the ever aggressive Conway). But throughout their innings they lost wickets and momentum with depressing (for them) regularity. Allen-Gaught called it as wickets seemed to fall off the last ball of an over like a kind of malfunctioning mechanical toy. Allen-Gaught himself fell first, bowled trying a straight drive off a swinging ball from Charlie. Conway creamed a glorious off drive off Christian then fell trying the same shot next ball - leg stump pegged back. Warren then held up the Dodgers surge for a time supported by Jack L (down to play with us though we got Arun as a late trade). But when NJ replaced Christian he tore out the heart of the Supes middle order - Warren cloth'd one to Ralph at short cover, Vijay then clubbed one to him too and Barry, within touching distance of 10,000 career runs, got pinged on the front toe lbw and a painful hobble off for 0. Jack replaced Charlie and nipped out Farnham (bowled coming back through the gate). Merv tried to blast Ralph down the ground only to be well held by Christian at long off. Foreman was stumped/run out by Mike off Ralph and then Duggan was run out in a mix-up between him and Konrad trying for runs (well, one of them was, but both ended at the same end). Supes innings ended with another run out - Charlie's throw from deep long on pinging high to Christian who threw the ball onto the stumps to save the last run (running out a despairing Konrad). Supes all out for 83.
It wasn't a perfect performance in the field* but our bowlers were close to it and Christian's full stretch dive at mid off to convert a certain four to a shot for nothing was both a champagne moment and emblematic of our commitment. Special mention to Jack Lovell, whose unbeaten 33 gave Supes whatever hope they had for a win.
83 all out looked awful light, though, and so it proved. The tale of the chase is therefore swiftly told. I opened with Arun and we set a quick run rate but Konrad got us both with big inswingers (aided by a stiff wind). Vijay then trapped TQ in front and there was the hint of a wobble. But with a modest total to get, NJ and Jatinder soaked up pressure, saw off Konrad and Vij (each giving away a maiden to Vijay's new look spin) and picked up the rate again off first change. Jatinder eventually got trapped in front off Mike Duggan, but that only brought in Dave who crunched repeatedly down the ground to end it before light became a big issue, in spite of previous grousing, finishing it in the 16th. Dodgers comfortably home by 6 wickets, and 1 up in the series.
Man of the Match votes: NJ 7, Dave B 1, Christian 1, Ralph 1
* in true JH style a veil shall be drawn over our flaws, though for the record we put down 3 that went to hand...
Photo courtesy of the Superstars instagram account