Sunday 13th August 2017
Bank of England 158 all out (39 overs)
Stoke D’Abernon 159 for 8 (30.2 overs)
Stoke D’Abernon won by 2 wickets
By Thursday morning this match looked highly unlikely as a succession of injuries, other withdrawals and an alarming absence of regulars left us with just four players and a reluctant fifth. Our thanks to Bank of England CC for giving us enough time to have another ring-around – miraculously an XI was completed and we kept one of our best Sunday fixtures alive.
All the effort and stress was worthwhile as the sides played out a close game.
As we all know dealing with banks is always a challenge, and Stoke were presented with a new one in the form of getting a toss done. It was their young home skipper’s first game as captain and none of the senior players wanted to take the honour away from him, despite him arriving one minute before the scheduled 2.30pm start time. He then chose to bat on winning the toss and the Stoke players hurriedly changed having expected to be batting first when listening to the pre-toss discussions. We eventually started at 2.45pm.
Stoke did their best to keep the over-rate good but the blue ‘wide lines’ painted on the pitch that was used in the previous day’s league match were more than used as a guide by a home umpire who was very strict – for both sides – on anything going through outside of them. Each side was called for 15 wides, add in two no-balls from the BofE bowlers when it was their turn and the match would only have had 71 overs had it gone the distance.
Richie Parrett bowled eight off the reel at the start, a spell that saw Hussain clip lazily to Ralph Coleman at square leg where the ball lodged somewhere. Parrett Jnr completed a good spell of 8-2-12-2 with the wicket of Andrews who liked to run on the shot but gave it the charge once too often.
Andrews’ dismissal came with the score on 46, (extras chipping in), but the total was also due to a nicely constructed innings from League player Goodwin who made 44 before pulling a ball from Freddie Whichello onto his stumps. Whichello was one of two players sourced by Adam De Swardt who himself was in Cobham house-sitting and enquired about the possibility of a game this week.
Somerville, (26), and O’Brien, (32), played positively to take the total past the 100 mark, but both were back in the pavilion by the time the board showed 134; both wickets to Coleman courtesy of catches by Robbie Parrett at backward point and Jeremy Connell who kindly agreed to keep. Coleman, (5-1-14-3), also bowled Milligan for a duck after one of a succession of full deliveries squeezed under the bat.
Stoke were then left with a conundrum: open the game up or continue to squeeze knowing BofE are notorious for batting on too long. They got an appropriate score to chase more by luck than judgement. De Swardt bowled a tidy four over spell, after which opportunities were given to more bowlers who all did well. Faizan Mirza took two wickets in his first over when Jackson and Dilshad both slashed at wide deliveries but only succeeded in edging to Connell; De Swardt effected the direct hit run-out of Soofi after he was called through for a suicidal single.
Robbie Parrett tried some leg-spin that was remarkably good, (although the plan was to get a few more runs to chase so weirdly he didn’t bowl to plan), and he closed the innings on 158 after 39 overs when Sivaraman hacked across the line and was leg-before.
Tea, and a not particularly prompt start afterwards, left Stoke with the prospect of only 45 minutes plus the mandatory last 20 overs. Agreement was reached to put the last hour back to 6.45pm, and had the game gone the distance Stoke would have eventually had just 32 overs back.
The chase started well, though, as Moumer Khara and Mirza got bat on what balls they could reach. Ten wides and a no-ball were sent down by opening bowler Dhami, and he then, (kind of), did Stoke a favour by getting the wicket of Mirza, earning himself another couple of overs, (one of his earlier sets lasted eleven balls.)
37 for 1 in the 10th and Robbie Parrett finished that over with two 2s and a nice four through square. Sadly he pulled the next ball he faced two overs later onto the stumps in a near identical dismissal to that of Goodwin in the first innings.
No.4 Talatsahid “Tim” Babi, another player sourced by De Swardt, joined Khara and the board started ticking in Stoke’s favour. Babi hit some nice shots in his knock of 21 from 19 balls, his dismissal was one of two in successive deliveries as Connell was unable to clear the man on the circle. 85 for 4.
Next to join Khara was De Swardt. The pair added 51 runs in just over seven overs to keep Stoke ahead of the asking rate. Khara reached fifty with an all-run four, and clearly short of oxygen he was run-out soon after for 51 from 79 balls when he failed to run his bat in.
De Swardt was scoring runs at the effective rate but was starting to lose partners. Khara’s wicket fell with the score on 136, (leaving 23 needed off 43 balls), but further wickets fell at the other end on 140-6, 143-7 and 151-8 to leave him with just No.10 and No.11 for company, the former being Richie Parrett.
A De Swardt four and a single got Stoke to the brink, but keen to keep the strike he turned down runs, (plural), when Parrett Jnr carved one over backward point – a two to tie the scores and keep De Swardt on strike for the next over was possible in hindsight, but a dot ball was recorded in the scorebook as the batsmen ended up having talk about whether to run in the middle of the pitch whilst the fielder chased the ball to the boundary.
Nerves were the tested further as De Swardt then took a single off the first ball of the penultimate over with two still needed. Clearly enjoying his batting this year, Parrett tried a repeat of the shot he played off the previous ball he faced, this time it ended up going somewhere over two fielders on the leg-side and the batsmen ran through to complete a two wicket victory with 10 balls to spare at gone 8pm.
Never in doubt!
Again a massive vote of thanks to those who made this game possible; notably De Swardt who we allowed to look at the Australia Cup he won on our return to HQ, (he missed last year’s awards.)
We have a blank in the fixture card next Sunday, but we will try and source a fixture appropriate to the availabilities we get in. (Hint!)