Glastonbury weekend and fresh from a drubbing at the hands of Chrissie Hynde and her band of merry men, Gardeners arrived at a sunny Streatham and Marlborough CC with sinews stiffened and a thirst for redemption. The weather set fine and flat pitch in the offing, Jamie was surprisingly overheard declaring it a toss to lose: perhaps thinking of the oppo's health after the run around he'd given them during his chanceless century in the same fixture back in 2011. With no such qualms (and a three-ball duck in that match), your correspondent was minded more of one of the good doctor's favourite axioms: to win the toss and bat, and if doubt, think some more and then bat.
Evidently, the CDs' skipper, Turbervill, shared these sentiments and Gardeners took to the field first. There was no pre-game huddle and no team talk from skipper Richards, but actions often speak louder than words and both opening bowlers – the Metronome and Struthers – were on the mark straight away. After a testing first over from Rob, it was the left-armer Greg who struck first. A fine ball across the bows of the right-handed Sangster took the edge and Jamie, standing at first slip, did the rest.
This was the early wicket Gardeners needed to further buoy the spirits; as it was backed up by excellent fielding on both sides of the wicket, Carpediems found runs in relatively short supply. Cunners came into the attack and picked up where Greg left off; although, at the other end, some short balls from De Jesus found their way to the boundary via Alford's bat. But, at 50-1 and with the batsmen looking like they might start to seize the initiative, Dan struck – dismissing opener Barrow, who cut straight to Andy O at backward point.
Next to go a couple of overs later was the No 4, Churchill. Having been given a life after Dan shelled a catch that Sir Geoffrey's mother could have caught in her pinny, he played on attempting to drive a well-flighted delivery from Tom L, now interspersing the full tosses and long hops with more regulation left-arm spin.
This brought Turbervill to the crease, whose defining contribution was arguably in the Gardeners cause. With a slow-moving scoreboard exerting pressure on the batsmen, confusion over a single to backward point led to the run out of recent half-centurion Alford. An accurate throw from Struthers and a clean catch from bowler Tom left the batsmen two or three yards short of his ground.
From there on, wickets came at regular intervals. Carpediems never managed to put another testing partnership together. Despite keen running from Green, we restricted them to 151-9 off the 40 overs. A particular mention should go to Greg who finished with a splendid 2-16 from his eight overs. Next best was Tom with 2-23 from his eight, while Cunners, Rob and Dan all picked up a wicket apiece, and Piers was unlucky to see a catch go down, denying him a place among the wicket-takers.
The consensus reached over a very fine homemade sponge and homemade scones at tea was that this was 50 short of par. Glorious sunshine, a flat pitch and quick outfield were ready to aid the enterprising and industrious batsman.
A man of generous spirit, Mike granted Tom another chance to open the innings (alongside the evergreen Woodhouse) after a less than impressive outing two weeks previously. The pair found runs relatively hard to come by in the opening overs, as Baxter and Maplethorpe kept to a tight line. Of the runs that did arrive, a majority were via the outside edge (certainly in Tom's case) to the oppo's mounting frustration. Just as batting seemed to be getting easier, David hit a full toss straight back at Baxter, who took a good return catch low down to his right and celebrated in a fashion reminiscent of Walsh and Ambrose in their pomp. The score 22-1, David's dismissal brought the dangerous De Jesus to the crease, and with Dan as the senior partner, he and Tom resolved to put the game out of the Carpediems' reach.
Sandwich Dan was his usual self, inflicting some heavy damage on his way to 50 (in his 50th game for the club, Ed) via a generous spread of crunching drives, pulls and cuts. At other end, Tom still found the outside edge on occasion, but runs also came from the middle of the bat, with some nice drives off front and back foot. However, on 65, with the score 132-1 and the partnership 110 runs old, Dan was deceived by a slower delivery from Baxter and top edged the ball straight to Green. This awoke Jamie from his boundary slumbers – relaxing in the expectation that Dan and Tom would finish things off. Generously, he allowed Tom to reach his fifty before striking the winning runs in the 35th over, Tom finishing on 51 not out, Jamie on 11 not out, and the Gardeners on 152-2.
As routine an eight-wicket victory as could have been desired or envisaged beforehand, this performance consigned memories of Gallery Road to the dustbin of history. Post match, it appeared most of the Gardeners were eager to get home for Mumford & Sons the on Pyramid stage, and they scarpered quick sharp. However, those with better tastes remained behind to toast the victory in the evening sunshine, and mourn their less sociable team-mates! TL
We play most of our games in Dulwich and net during the winter at The Oval. Send us an email at email@example.com
Matt Aked (life)
Jamie Elliot (life)
Rob Navratil (life)
Hugo Nisbet (life)
David Woodhouse (life)
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