Dodgers v Marauders, 16 August 2023

Like the Kai Dragons, whom we played last, the Marauders have traditionally ranked among our strongest opponents, and the team that we saw warming up in the Chiswick nets gave every indication of being just as powerful as in previous years. With several of our players running late, we agreed to bat first with a slightly improvised order. Chairman John was deputised to give the team talk, which turned out to be less of a conventional call to arms and more of a 'if we're going to lose, boys, let's lose gracefully'. As it transpired, reverse psychology has its moments.

Jack and Charlie opened our account magnificently, both hitting the ball sweetly and pushing threes where lesser mortals might only have risked a single, so that we raced to 36 off just the first four overs. With Charlie retired on 26* and Jack yorked on 23 by a deceptive slower ball, Harry and Bilal took up the challenge, the former unlucky to be bowled by one that kept low, the latter depositing a soaring six over the mid-wicket boundary before losing his off stump to another slower delivery. Dave B was unfortunate to be run out seeking a quick single, while our two Putney guests Satya and Harshit combined to push the score relentlessly upwards, both retiring unbeaten. Captain Ralph played another of his trademark cameos, including a spectacular sweep off his toes to the square leg boundary for four, before Gary and John saw out the final balls in experienced fashion. Despite the greenest of wickets and an enormous outfield, we had reached the impressive total of 152 for 5 off our twenty overs, but we were aware of the potential for Marauders to chase down pretty much anything they set their minds to.

With Charlie keeping wicket, it was up to Bilal and Harshit to open our attack, and both showed commendable pace and accuracy, with Harshit's first ball dismissing the dangerous Paddy Malins via a full toss sliced to a smart catch by Satya at third slip. Jack and Satya came on first change and continued in similar vein, with Jack bowling the equally dangerous Neil Bishop off the first ball of his spell. Captaining Marauders rather than playing for Dodgers, Dave Hoggins shook off his divided loyalties by hitting out strongly (including a cracking straight six) until he too lost his leg stump to Jack. Gary and Dave B took up for us as second change and also bowled tightly - it should be noted that not a single wide was conceded by any of our bowlers. With the light fading, the game was by now beyond anything but a Marauders miracle, and Dodgers ended up winning by almost 50 runs. Special commendation for Charlie's agility behind the stumps - including a backhand run out that could have been given and a stumping that was (until we retracted the appeal in the spirit of the game) - as well as Harry's tireless fielding in the covers and the courage of our guest female debutante from Putney at fine leg. A great team performance and a famous victory!

Man of the Match votes: Jack 4, Charlie 3, Harshit 2, Satya 2.


The victorious team

The devastating openers