Almost a month after the curtain came down on our last T20, Dodgers rounded off the 2023 season with a topsy-turvy game against a Buckhurst Hill side almost entirely composed of colts. With three of our own players forced to pull out at the last moment, we were boosted by the kind loan of four Buckhurst replacements, one of whom batted only and one who just fielded and bowled.
Dodgers elected to bat first, and were soon in all sorts of trouble. The High Road pitch was behaving in most dramatic fashion, with good-length balls bouncing unexpectedly skywards, and we lost wicket after wicket to the two Buckhurst openers. With the scoreboard registering 31 for 7, things looked bleak indeed until the undaunted Matt S launched a courageous rearguard action, first with the excellent young Kai Mistry of Buckhurst Hill and then with our own (and sometimes Superstar) Gary P. A total of 112 all out was a poor return for a 35-over match, but infinitely better than it could have been. Without Matt's unbeaten 41, far and away the highest score of our innings, we would have been properly humiliated.
Batting was never going to be easy on such a green pitch, and Jack launched our attack with his usual pace and accuracy, conceding just 18 runs off his 7 overs. Yet it was Gary who ripped into the youthful batters with even greater success, claiming two wickets in two balls from his first over (smart catches to John at square leg and to Charlie behind the stumps) and finishing with the astounding figures of 7-4-8-3. Captain Jatinder turned to our youthful guests Steve and Josh as first change, both of whom picked up important wickets to keep us in the hunt before NJ and Kai stepped up to take us towards the close. The Buckhurst colts were still up with the run rate, however, and despite neat catches by Brendan and Jack we had been unfortunate enough to drop numerous chances in the slips and outfield as the game progressed. It came down to the final over, with Buckhurst nine down and needing just three to win, when young Kai produced a spectacular off-break to bowl the last bat. Dodgers had won a thrilling encounter against the odds, and the 2023 season could end with a smile.
Man of the Match votes: Matt 4, Kai 4
Concern on the boundary
NJ and Jack preparing to open our account