By Richard Higginbottom
The Gardeners were richly augmented by some Thomson Reuters colleagues of Richard and Stuart but were unfortunately rather tardy so we got underway at 6.25 by which time 6 of us had arrived – therefore Richard agreed that we’d bat. Laurence got a Jaffa pretty early so Richard headed to the middle just as three laggards arrived and put on 100 with Sam who was in great form. Richard caught the bug and was frequently driving the ball aerially to try to catch Sam up. As we applied the accelerator Sam reached his half century and retired and Richard was castled for 34 trying to drive Faizal down to Finsbury Park. Chris and Paul perished quickly trying to force the score up; Matt was a little more circumspect but played some attractive shots in an unbeaten 18. Gopala run out off the final ball and we closed our 20 overs on 136.
Opening batsmen looked good for The Ladder until Stuart produced a magnificent Yorker to send back Laddie for 13 then bowled fellow opener Yates for 9. Osborn had the nerve to try to hoist Stuart away but succeeded only in finding Paul who took a good catch. Faizel’s looking a little scratchy early on but we know he’s the danger man. Gopala had opened with Stuart and now he takes centre stage, removed Levett, Lang and Goodman in short order and we have the Ladder at 49 for 6. But Faizel now opens up as Stuart and Gopala end their spells and gets good support from Sherwood. Raj campaigned successfully to get into the attack and we got back on track with a flying edge from Sherwood that was taken brilliantly at slip by Matt. Faizel retired on 50 but Eugene Walsh took up the fight, hitting a couple of excellent boundaries until Sam showed he can bowl a bit as well by skittling him for 12. Nelson was rather less successful than he had been at Trafalgar though at least he escaped with his life – bowled by Sam for a duck. So now Faizel came back in but he wasn’t alone in being able to bat – Joe Walsh played a splendid pull for 4 to beat us agonisingly by 1 wicket. A great match.