Harrow recreation ground, 7/18/2020
Strongroom won by 95 runs
Strongroom: 150-9 [J.Gower 56]
Lankians: 55 [M.Godhi 4-11, O.Proctor 4-8]
View the Scorecard
Finally...we got to play some cricket. After four months of COVID-19 lockdown, Boris Johson relented and allowed recreational cricket to resume in early July. Following completion of mind-boggling risk assessments with Harrow council and the opposition, both sides managed to navigate through the administrative obstacles and get this fixture up and running.
Thankfully the weather was also on our side, and we were met in Harrow by lovely conditions and a light breeze. Strongroom presented an interesting side, including three debutants (Mario, Marco and Alan), and the return of Ayon. As skipper David P was late, procuring his formidable lunch from local Indian eateries, and so the toss was arranged. Lankians didn’t fancy batting first, and half our team were still en route, so we opted to bat first with an improvised batting order.
Openers Dan Gush and Ayon, however, were both out quickly. Dan was gushing with his usual flamboyance - and his stumps soon paid the ultimate price. Ayon went back to a length ball and was adjudged lbw, much to his chagrin. Dan’s mate Alan showed some dogged determination, but a lack of cricket in recent years made it a tough ask, especially on this pitch. By now it was clear the surface was not conducive to even bounce, and it seemed to deteriorate as the innings progressed. Otto gloved one that popped off a length, and all of a sudden we were teetering at 31-4. Thereupon, two Strongroom stalwarts in D Proctor (29) and J Gower (56) dug in, and put on 54 for the 5th wicket in 15 overs - and this proved to be the key partnership in the match. These two grisly veterans demonstrated the value of hard lessons learnt of years past, tapping singles, pushing two’s, defending doggedly and dropping their hands when the occasional ball ballooned off a length. Following this partnership, Marco showed he had a nice natural touch, and Mohmed and Guy swung the bat, leaving us with a reasonable total of 150-9. Infact, anything over 100 looked decent, given the vagaries of this surface. Roshan was the pick of the bowlers, his combination of off-spin and doosras were a challenge to read and play.
We all had a DIY tea, as prescribed by COVID-19 government guidance.
With the pitch playing tricks, this was going to be interesting. And indeed it was. Mohmed (4-11) and Otto (4-8) both bowled tenaciously and deadly, and picked up four wickets each. Otto clean bowled all four, his curving inswing and zippy pace proving too much on an uncertain surface. Mohmed deserved his haul as well, given his loyalty to that off-stump line. Debutant Mario got a wicket with his first (legitimate) ball, and one more in the same over. And that was that, all done and dusted in 11 overs. Lankians clearly possess some talented batsmen, but they were too aggressive and the track required a bit more grit and application. However, given the last few months of lockdown, this was a great game for us to simply get back into cricket. We look forward to taking them on again at the woods in August.
Written By: J.Gower