Saturday 8th September 2018
Stoke D’Abernon 198 for 7 dec (42 overs)
Old Rutlishians 116 all out (34.1 overs)
Stoke D’Abernon won by 82 runs
Pessimism that we would be able to play a Saturday fixture as everyone seemed to be available on Sunday this week, (two Sunday friendlies for the first time in years), took a nice twist mid-week when one of our regular friendly oppositions was in the same boat as us and were looking to see if we had a fixture or spare players if we didn’t. Solution? See if resources could be pooled and source a fixture.
A speculative call to our friends at Old Ruts in response to their ad was met with a positive outcome, so for the second week running a Stoke team travelled Poplar Road; eleven happy players who were only available Saturday now having the chance to play.
The Stoke contingent were all on time, the remainder with one exception had a few traffic issues, so by default we got the outcome we wanted at the toss as we wouldn’t have had enough to take the field.
Thomas Dennis took strike with debutant Azam Ahmed, the latter hastily changing in the car before running out to the middle. Sadly he was back just as quickly as he steered the first ball he faced to slip.
Dennis invested good time getting himself in on a sluggish pitch; No.3 Ali Khan played some nice shots and Stoke were well placed at 62 for 1 despite Khan then falling for a nice 21. One Khan was replaced by another, Danish K hit the bad ball very hard and a 55 partnership of which he scored 44 kept the rate around four per over.
Stoke then had a bit of a wobble. Harris was well caught trying to hit over the top, Umair Anis was caught low down; then Dennis was bowled by home skipper Lambert, (9-1-27-3), for a well-constructed 47. Repair work needed at 134 for 6.
Debutant Saleem Mohammed and official captain Ralph Coleman calmed things down. The former struck the ball the ball the cleanly, the latter less so but a 47 partnership nine overs brought an early declaration back into play, time called after 42 overs on 198 for 7 a few minutes after Coleman’s dismissal with Mohammed unbeaten on 43 and debutant Michael Rossi hitting a nice four.
After an excellent tea Stoke had an hour and a half plus the mandatory last 20 overs to get the job done. Raja Singh and Richie Parrett gave Stoke control of the match with five early wickets.
Singh took out No.2 and No.3 courtesy of a great catch by keeper Mohammed and a nice in-ducker; Parrett took his 250th career wicket for the Club when he found the other opener’s edge; and given one last over before giving other bowlers a chance, Singh made full use of it and castled two more to finish with a Stoke career best of 5-2-10-4.
Harris and Rossi were an effective slow bowling combination. They took a wicket each to make it 52 for 7; and a wicket for Anis in the last over before drinks had the locals, including Ryan Patel who popped in to have a look at proceedings, mulling over what might have been.
However, this was a timed game so Stoke still needed to get the job done. 14-year-old Wyke showed a temperament way beyond his years. In partnership with veteran Mills they ticked off over by over. The pies were smashed to the boundary or blocked appropriately and the pair doubled the score as overs started to run out.
The atmosphere on the pitch was certainly different to the one before drinks; plenty of ‘advice’ on field placements and bowling options was put forward; but Stoke’s skipper had another ace up his sleeve. Dennis was thrown the ball and bowled very quickly.
He got one through Wyke for a fine 52 off the last ball of his second over, and off the first ball of his next he shattered Lambert’s stumps to complete an 86 run win with 5.5 overs to spare. Mills, (10 not out), had gutsed it out for 47 deliveries.
Thanks to Old Ruts for offering us the fixture, a great tea and supplying an umpire. Apologies for the punctuality issues. Players on both sides had fun and hopefully we can repeat this sort of fixture in the future.
As availability starts to thin out we will see how we go week to week. If you want to keep playing, please advise ASAP as fixtures are very difficult to secure this time of year.