The delightful setting of Windsor Great Park welcomed back the Dodgers for our annual fixture against the estate cricket club on a bright and breezy day with clouds scudding overhead. Windsor won the toss and put us in to bat on a good-looking wicket with lightning quick outfield.
The innings started in unexpected fashion, as NJ (who has scored heavily on this pitch in previous encounters) was caught first ball off one that stuck in the loam. Zubair, on debut for Dodgers, hit out courageously before also falling victim, and Jack was similarly dismissed by one that kept low. Yet it was Diago, also opening, who helped himself to the Windsor bowling with most aplomb, defending the good ball and punishing the bad on his way to an excellent 88. Mike D was similarly fruitful, notching up a brisk 59 before being adjudged LBW to one that hit him suspiciously high on the thigh. Brendan was unfortunate to succumb to a straight ball first up, while Abhishek steadied the ship with some deft nurdling. Idrees and Aamir pressed the total steadily upwards until Captain Ralph gave the innings a final surge with a burst of boundaries, including a spectacular six over the bowler's head. Debutant Ravi faced the unenviable task of coming in for the very last ball of the innings, and was promptly stumped as he tried to force the pace for one last hurrah. Our total of 230 looked impressive, but there was every chance that our hosts could make the same.
Windsor put on an excellent tea at the break (see below) and Dodgers took to the field suitably buoyed up / weighed down (delete as appropriate). Idrees and Jack started smartly, removing the two Windsor openers within the first six overs, but the game shuddered to a halt when Jack pulled up in the middle of his third with a nasty groin strain, ruling him hors de combat for the rest of the match. Chairman John, who had been scoring as twelfth man, came on as substitute and Ralph completed Jack's over before handing over to Diago, who bowled with great pace and accuracy to remove the dangerous Windsor captain Harry Hill. Ravi replaced Idrees at the other end and proceeded to notch up the excellent figures of 7-1-29-3, while Abhishek delivered two crisp overs to take the wicket of another of the most threatening Windsor bats. Zubair and Aamir combined to round off our bowling, and although successive batters continued to find the short leg-side boundary, they had lost too many wickets and were now too far off the rate required of them. Dodgers ended up victors by the comfortable margin of 34 runs, rounding off a very pleasant occasion by having a drink with former teammate Milind, who had come to see us at the ground.
Man of the Match votes: Diago 11, Mike 1
The winning XII