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May 14, 2008

Chigwell Fall Short, Despite Glorious 123 from Tim (Stallion 11/5/2008)

Our league adventures continued on 11th May with us playing hosts to Stallion. Once again I managed to arrive later than most of the team, but was able to palm a little of the blame onto Nigel, whose homemade pizza was just about to finish its spell in the oven when I called to pick him up. I won the toss and made the usual league call of fielding first. Our team had a strongish look to it and I was confident we could compete. During the week I had made the schoolboy error of failing to confirm the availability of a schoolboy - Charlie - and we were fortunate indeed that Roger was able to fill in at short notice. Adam was back in the team too, so happy days! Stallion's openers were of the normal league variety; impressively powerful hitters. This type of batsman seems to enjoy the pace that Dom generates, and once again Dom was unceremoniously carted. After 5 overs the score was on 49, 43 of them from Dom’s 3 overs. Roger meanwhile was proving more difficult to get away. He saw both batsmen dropped off chances that would normally be taken (except the one I dropped, which was virtually impossible!). In Roger's third over A. Rahman was pinned in front and, to Chigwell's immense relief, his gun-slinging partner, B. Mehmood, was bowled by the same bowler in his fourth over. By now Nick had taken over from Dom and was no doubt delighted to have more restrained batsmen at whom to bowl. Roger bowled through his eight overs, his final analysis 2 for 25 even better than it looks. I bowled in tandem with Nick for a while and things were relatively quiet. In my first over Adam executed a superb run out, hitting the stumps from the boundary to leave K. Shazad stranded. Nick trapped W. Ahmed plumb in front in the next over and the score was 101 for 4 in the 19th over. The next two wickets to fall were both good catches by Nick on the boundary, both from my bowling - thanks Nick! Brad and Frank were tried, but neither seemed to give the batsmen much trouble and the run rate picked up as Stallion approached the last quarter of their innings. F. Shazad batted well and made sure their good start didn't go to waste, surviving one difficult chance to Nick off Brad's bowling. Dom returned to bowl his remaining five overs and finally dispatched him for 65 crucial runs. Rob A only got to bowl 3 overs (1 for 16), and as the innings finished on 250 for 9 I had to confess that perhaps I should have given him a full 8 overs. Nigel's reheated pizza was the star of another improved tea, after which Rob A and Tim M girded their loins and strode out to the pitch knowing we needed 6.25 per over to force a win. Whilst not achieving the pyrotechnics of the opening of the Stallion innings the Chigwell openers made an encouraging start, Rob scoring a good 18 before trying to force the pace and edging one behind. Tim, joined by Adam, began to ease through the gears and the second wicket pair added 87 before an untimely run out saw Adam return to the hutch, 30 to his name. Roger was rather unfortunately given out LBW first ball, and the innings was in danger of petering out... but not with Tim at the crease! He had now reached top gear, and was going into overdrive. We needed more than ten per over from the last seven, but when one over went for 20 it looked possible… Sadly it was not to be. Tim departed for 123, a second successive league century, another innings full of grace and power. He'd added a little Pietersen to his Gower of the previous knock, and one and all applauded him loud and long as he joined the throng outside the pavilion to see if the lower order could bring the win home. No. I was out first ball and those behind me crumbled, our last five wickets going for ten runs. The crowd were still in good humour as the game ended with Chigwell 37 runs short, players and spectators alike agreeing that it was a fine game of cricket. What our total might have been without Tim I shudder to think, but at least we are proving that we can compete in this league, and that we can have fun in it too. Mitz of the match: Man!

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