Chorleywood by a nose, but certainly no stroll!
By Steve George
Splendid match played in just the right spirit
Submitted by Kevin O'Donnell (Chorleywood Strollers captain)
Dear Strollers and Cublingtonians
On another glorious summers day that we are now becoming used to the Strollers team gathered in true preparative style at the charming Unicorn pub. We were royally welcomed by former Chorleywood CC captain and VP Steve George (Stalky) who has been a pivotal figure in the village and at the Cublington cricket club for many years now.
Once at the ground both teams were soon to gather in front of the pavilion to remember our dear departed Rex Vine. Many there wouldn’t have remembered Rex but as a few of us spoke they soon gained a picture of a man who was not only an exceptional cricketer but a true gentle man in every sense and who will always be remembered fondly. A warmly felt few minutes silenced was shared in his memory.
Having lost the toss the Strollers took the field, two drinks breaks please. .a 35 over game. It was soon clear that the constant heat and lack of rain had taken its toll on the track and that batting would be far from easy. Johnny Rice and Josh Kitt opened up the attack impressively. Josh soon taking a wicket. Cublington opener Tom Gadsby flayed away gallantly making occasional contact with the ball and eventually top scored for his team. Strapping young debutant Harry Rothband playing in the Strollers with his dad for the first time ( see pic.) came on first change and proved his worth with excellent figures of 1 for 8 off his seven overs. Rob Moore, also playing with son Tim came on second change and was soon encouraged by the occasional variable bounce bowling a very tidy Veterans spell. So it was time perhaps to encourage the entrenched Cublington batsman into playing a few shots. Enter on stage with their flight and guile Messrs Rothband ( very senior) and Chorleywood legend Andy Rennard. Sure enough runs and wickets were forthcoming bringing Steve George to the wicket.. I always said this game was for youngsters.. A few lusty blows and then that “oh no “ moment as a miss timed drive loops up to deepish mid-off. Whose underneath it but the one and only.. our inimitable welsh mascot Mr John Jones standing poised as the ball falls, gaining pace inexorably directly towards him.. My money is on the ball but ye of little faith the champagne moment is in creation as the ball is duly pouched with a toppling backward flourish and victory roll accompanied by a cry worthy of inclusion in this year’s Eisteddfod.. One of Rothband N’s three wickets for a few. There were occasions he showed his dissent at some of the fielding with his customary static hands on hips stance unmoved glaring at the offender whilst ignoring the ball being passed back to him…So the Cublington innings closed at 148 for six off their 35 overs.
After a fine tea Rothband N and Jones open up looking to blunt the attack.. The left handed Jones after a few stalwart overs departs LBW for 2. Followed some overs later by Nigel R on unlucky 13.. We then settle in and watch some class batting from Foxy and Rennard, always a pleasure. They’re finding it tough too but move the score onwards taking advantage of the occasional loose ball …They both fall for credible 30’s. Rennard showing a touch of decent as he comes off mumbling something under his breath like “ I wouldn’t want to play on that every week” a heavy fine there… Laurie Kitt joins the village ducks but his previously solid fielding deserves a mention. Josh Kitt and Tim Moore keep us up with the run rate with some good running between the wickets but both perish in their teens.. seven down now with 35 still to make.. Most of the damage is being done by Cublingtons highly talented young leg spinner Harry( I think) Gotzheim whom I believe is in his very early teens.. Daddy of the hour Johnny Rice fresh from giving his son Alexander an early batting lesson ( see pic) enters the fray with some lusty blows including a fine 6 and is looking to take us to glory.. Three overs to go two runs required. Then previously bowling slow right arm, opening bowler Fairhurst is instructed by skipper Adam Farr to come on and revert to his Saturday 1st X1 opening bowlers pace.. Johnnys off stump is immediately knocked out of the ground..” Phew that was quick” he was heard to say when coming back which wasn’t exactly music to the ears of incoming number 9 bat yours truly.. I can tell you I was glad I’d packed that spare pair of underpants.. So much drama.. The rest of the over somehow negotiated and the wicket maiden is complete..2 overs left. Up the other end Harry Rothband had survived well to this point. The young leggy bowler comes up for his last over, a maiden, the quality of which wouldn’t have been out of place in the latest Indian bowling attack. Harry Rs bat needless to say wasn’t troubled. One over remaining.. much discussion now going on amongst the Cublinton’s great minds heightening the tension as designed to do. Fairhurst like a raging bull kicking up dust as he goes charges in. In a flash his first delivery is speared down the leg side, an elegant leg glance ensues Steve George still making his trudging way back to fine leg watches the ball whistle past him 4 runs match over…
An absolutely memorable day with a perfectly good sporting wicket making an absorbing game. Many thanks to our hosts. Skipper Adam Farr and all the Cublinton lads and those that laid on an excellent tea. A special thanks also goes to Roy Rosenthal who stood at both ends and kept us all in check. Here’s to next year.