Thanks to our enterprising and resourceful fixture secretary this last minute fixture was clutched from the ether and proved to be a jewel that will be worth keeping at all costs. Following a very eventful journey for some (including avoiding head on crashes with yellow sports cars, dodging Hare Krishna and avoiding being sideswiped on the A1) we found ourselves in the deepest wilds of northern Hertfordshire in an ideal bucolic setting (however any idea of moving there were soon discarded after a look at local house prices on Zoopla!)
Skipper won the toss but having elected to bat, a popular decision, he thought things were going wrong very quickly with the uneven bounce and some poor shots sending back the first 3 (Dancer 0, Parnell R 2, Collins 12) in 10 overs with few coming off the bat. Luckily extras supplements the score and they came in at 35, a not inconsequent amount. However repairs were don with President and Captain first absorbing the bowling and then attacking it.When Parnell P left for 20, a low total was still a real possibility, but younger sibling Stephen was the replacement and launched his innings with a grand boundary. Woodcock (63) and Parnell S (79) put on 87 together at a rapid rate and despite the loss of both before the close their run rate meant that those following (well not Christie 0). John RSPCA Loveday struck 7 * and began to realise the importance of a “not out”!! Hausler struck a six and managed to avoid being run out by Loveday’s erratic calling.
231 –7 was a fine score, and illustrated the importance of building an innings .. those that did reaped the rewards of looser bowling later on.
Prasad and Christie opened the bowling and bowled well, with Christie particularly parsimonious, but without luck .. and just a dropped catch to show for it!
Then Loveday and Dancer, the spin twins came on and, though turning the ball little, they ended with contrasting figures. Loveday (22.214.171.124) lulled top batsmen into charges and won 2 stumpings whilst Dancer kept thing very tight with 2 maidens and a caught behind. 2 run outs contributed to the decline of the Strollers with quick thinking and accurate throws to the keeper from Hausler and Parnell P. As Strollers were up with the run rate it was important to slow things down and Woodcock came on to bowl 2 batsmen spectacularly with stumps uprooted. With Hausler and Woodcock bowling accurately the run rate soared and Strollers took risks before closing at 181 All Out, 50 short.
And after the match we repaired to a fine hostelry, The Orange Tree, in Baldock and mixed with our superb hosts. For some it was a school night and an early departure was required (oh those were the days…). As the nights draw in and October arrives, this will be a venue to remember and treasure.