Stokey hold nerve to edge Marshes thrilla

Saturday 7 May 2011:  SNCC U11s - 76 for 9 vs North London Muslims U11s - 53 all out.  Won by 23 runs (friendly).

A sodden outfield and skiddy artificial pitch made for attritional cricket in the first clash of the season with our Marshes cohabitees.

Chasing 76 for victory, NLM appeared comfortably in control at 37 for three from ten overs, despite a tight line from Stokey's pace attack.  The unexpected dismissal of NLM's best batsman by what could charitably be described as a shooter then proved the turning point in the contest.  Three direct-hit run outs reflected the pressure imposed by the introduction of Stokey's young spin twins, Harry Tanner and Thomas Holden (combined figures of five overs, four maidens, two wickets for one run) whose leggies and googlies mesmerised NLM's middle and lower orders.  A very sharp caught and bowled by Clem Harrison saw NLM dismissed for 53, having lost seven wickets for 16 runs in the last seven overs of the innings.

Earlier in the day, excellent bowling by NLM's medium pacers had shackled Stokey's batsmen, whose difficulties were compounded by injudicious shot selection and lackadaisical running between the wickets.  Some urgency was injected to proceedings with the pitch invasion by a near-rabid shaggy dog, who set about NLM's fielders with a ferocity that had hitherto eluded the Stokey batsmen.  It took some hearty biffs from keeper Cal Fitzgerald and a late cameo from last man Flint Drummond to hoist Stokey nearer to respectability, although the final total of 76 was undoubtedly below par.

A young Stokey side deserve great credit for holding their nerve for key periods of the match and for an excellent collective effort in the field.  However, the slightly flattering margin of victory should not mask the hard work that awaits Stokey's batsmen in our (as yet metaphorical) nets.