FLOWER POWER NOT ENOUGH
Chairman’s XI (95ao) tied with President’s XI (95-9) – Swans Nest Lane, 23rd August 2015

The Stratford Cricket Club President’s Invitation XI v the Chairman’s XI match, took place at Swans Nest Lane, despite the rain, be it that the format was changed to that of a T20. However, it produced a thrilling finish with the scores tied at 95.

The Chairman’s XI, under the leadership of Ed Cunynghame, batted first and got off to a brisk start with 27 runs coming in the first 4 overs for the loss of Nick Jones’ wicket. Harry Abell then departed at 37 for a well struck 16, Archie Walker picking up his second wicket. Ben Cooper was looking dangerous with four 4s to his name, but was then caught by Andy Flower off the bowling of Will Noble for 24 with the score on 52. This seemed to be the signal for an England type batting collapse with 4 wickets falling for just 19 runs, Will Noble picking up three of them and Andy Flower picking up the other thanks to a very smart stumping by Chris Calcott. It required the heavy bat of Jimmy Harcourt to redress the balance with some trade mark extra cover drives. He was finally out for 19 including three 4s and the innings closed 1 run later on 95 with Thadius Kaminsky being run out with 2 balls of the last over remaining.

The innings of the President’s Invitation XI, got off to a disastrous start with the Emery opening father and son pairing and number 3 John Price falling for just 6 runs to the bowling of Tom Grundy and Mike Brown. The ship was steadied with the help of youth and experience in the guise of Chris Calcott and Jon “Boy” Walker, who took the score to 40 off 9 overs before Walker was out caught for 25 off Ade Witts. The appearance of Andy Flower walking to the wicket must have stirred up nightmares for some of the older Stratford players on the ground who had to bowl at him in the 1990s when he scored over 200 when playing for West Bromwich Dartmouth against Stratford. He showed he had lost none of his flair with some classic drives and deft reverse sweeps, but then with the score at 67, he was beaten by the guile of Thadius Kaminsky and caught by Ade Witts for 16. Calcott and Will Noble moved the score to 89 before the 6th wicket, that of Noble (9), fell with 8 balls remaining. With 4 wickets still left, a wealth of batting experience to come, the odds were on a President’s Invitation XI victory. However, with 3 runs needed Calcott’s patient innings of 27 ended when he was the victim of a “schoolboy” run out. One run later Victor Khumala was also run out for a duck. That brought skipper Mark Pidgeon on strike with 3 runs to win off 3 balls and still with Steve Kerby, pads on, waiting to join the fray. A dot ball and a 2 brought the scores level. One run to win off the last ball, skipper facing. Urquhart bowled, Pidgeon swung, the ball went up in the air and there were the safe hands of Ben Cooper to take the catch. Match tied at 95.

Afterwards, President, Ali Troughton, praised both teams for providing a wonderfully entertaining match, but insisted her team had won as they had lost one less wicket!

Report by Colin Davis