Dodgers v South Bank, 13 April 2024

Dodgers were offered an extra pre-season fixture by our old friends South Bank, and the sun shone as we gathered at Turney Road for a most pleasant afternoon's cricket. Recent rain meant that we were restricted to an artificial wicket, while the outfield was long and lush. Many thanks to Komal for arranging the game and lending us a couple of players to make up the team.

We batted first, with Simon (club Batter of the Year 2023) opening with John Peaky, on debut with Dodgers. When the latter was bowled by one that skidded along the astroturf, Brendan joined Simon in the middle and the two proceeded in cautious fashion until both succumbed to the accurate bowling of Theo Dean. Captain Mike, Abbas, Zach and Matt all pushed the score along nicely, while the champagne moment of our innings came when Ritik Jaat (also on debut for Dodgers) lofted a glorious six over long on and promptly hit wicket with his follow-through. However, the main knock came from the cultured bat of Neil Bishop, who retired on 50* before reappearing briefly with Brendan at the end to help our total to a respectable 175 all out. Given that we had only made 13 off the first nine overs, this was a healthy recovery and surely a competitive total to defend.

Ritik and Zach opened our attack with pace and accuracy, Ritik showing his pedigree as a former Rajasthan under-17 bowler with figures of 8-1-10-2. Matt and Abbas maintained the pressure as first change, despite stubborn resistance from Aru for South Bank, who was finally removed for 52 thanks to a spectacular slip catch by Zach off Abbas at lightning speed. John and Neil took up the challenge as second change bowlers, the latter adding to his performance with the bat by bagging three wickets in four balls and ending with figures of 6-0-10-3. The game was finely poised as we came into the closing overs, but South Bank had lost too many wickets in their attempt to force the pace and ended up 21 runs short. Special mention for Peaky behind the stumps, the equally safe hands of Matt in the outfield (two more catches to add to his Dodgers tally) and Mike's excellent captaincy throughout. The season is off to an auspicious start!

Man of the Match: Neil 9, Ritik 1