Strongroom hold their nerve
Sunbury, London, 7/4/2019
Strongroom won by 13 runs
Strongroom: 236-4 [G.Jones 110, J.Gower 68*]
Sunbury: 223 [L.Brierley 40, S.Karoo 4-25]
View the Scorecard
This was the earliest scheduled game ever for Strongroom in a domestic season, and sure enough it turned out to be pretty cold, never getting much above 12 degrees. Nevertheless, it was our first game, and it was inevitably accompanied by that hunger and excitement to get bat on ball at the start of a new season. Dave P won the toss and batted, though we were suffering from some late arrivals courtesy of a broken-down train. We fielded three debutants - Stan, Alastair and Shahid. Mike Gabbay and Gwyn Jones got us off to a steady beginning, with Gwyn going on to smash a tremendous century, with wonderful shots all around the wicket. He presented a strong defence, stylishly clipped ones and two’s and on occasion some brutal pulls, cuts and drives for 4 and 6. Jon Gower (68*) proved a good partner, and Strongroom accumulated a good total by the 30-over stage. Vinay was possibly over-excited when he arrived at the crease, courtesy of recent IPL binge-watching, and sadly holed out to mid-wicket for 9. Shishankh played an energetic cameo in the final overs, and we ended on 236, which was a good total, albeit with one very short boundary (‘same for both sides!’).
Tea was a solidly English affair, but beneath the surface there was abundant variety, including a range of fruit, kipling cakes, tuna sandwiches, good little sausage rolls favoured by DP, tasty hot tea and orange juice. The only flaw were some irregularly shaped and unidentified body parts of deep-fried pieces of chicken. But overall, you really couldn’t complain with what was also excellent value at £5 per head.
Sunbury’s youthful opening pair batted very well and took their time in getting established. Alastair bowled nicely, whereas Gabbay never quite found his length, and strayed too often down the leg side. However, first-change bowler Vinay also fired deliveries down the legside, much to the frustration of DP. The pick of our bowlers was Shishankh Kharoo (4-25) who revealed much craft and guile with some really good, accurate off-spin. Shishankh was sporting a new haircut, winter weight-loss and overall proved to be a Renaissance Redemption Man! He also snared a very smart caught and bowled with one hand.
Shahid bowled well, firing in an accurate, heavy-ball medium pace off just a two-step run-up. Stan bowled some excellent probing deliveries in among being hit for leg-side 6s, one of which was lost in a front-garden. Sunbury were always in the chase, though throughout they were always 25 runs adrift where they probably should have been. With 10 overs to go the game was very much in the balance, with 80 runs needed and 6 wickets in hand. Then, I caught the hard-hitting skipper on the mid-wicket boundary, but in doing so dislocated my finger. I promptly left in an Uber for Kingston A&E. I learnt a few hours later in the waiting room that we had won by 13 runs, in what was a great game against a very pleasant opposition. Dislocated finger aside, this was a good start to the 2019 season.
Written By: J.Gower