Chris Smith stars in Hurlingham stroll
Hurlingham 166 all out (Mumby 3-26, Bridcut 2-30)
Jesters 167-2 (Smith 80*)
Won by 8 wickets
It was all over by tea at Ranelagh Gardens as the Jesters cruised to an eight wicket win. There were three wickets for Nick Mumby and a stylish unbeaten 80 for Chris Smith. Jonny Bridcut's match report reveals all...
It was a beautiful day. The stunning pitch at Hurlingham was as flat as ever, with the customary short square boundary towards the shimmering white clubhouse. It was a day pregnant with runs. So the Jesters won the toss and bowled. Our opening attack started strongly with the ball, finding late movement and rare bounce. For every well-placed cover drive across the smooth croquet lawns there was a fortunate edge through or over (or straight into) the cordon. Just as their no 1 batsman was starting to find his feet, he was unlucky to drag a loose long hop into the bucket-like hands of Adnan Mohammed at mid-wicket. The Hurlingham no 3 was soon strangled down the leg-side and the impressive Noah Hillyard then followed up with a well-deserved break-through of his own (to cap a superb opening spell of 6-3-9-1). The introductions of DJ Chak and Nick Mumby into the attack caused further damage. The home side had collapsed from 32/0 to 43/5. A counter-attack was needed, and the Hurlingham no 6, S Rhys, duly delivered, scoring a fine 66*. However, the Jesters continued to chip away at the other end, including the crucial dismissal of the home captain, who fell to a devilish delivery from Nick Mumby (the pick of the attack, with 3/26) that spun and spat, and two fine run outs courtesy of Messrs Bambi and Butler. Even the ungainly off-spin of Ollie Doward found success, the highlight of an eventful four over spell that allowed the umpire to work through his full repertoire of signals (and brought back memories of a certain leg-spinner's travails at Eversholt in 2016). The home side fell for a potentially competitive, if slightly under par, 166 all out. The Hurlingham opening attack was one of their best for many years and could easily have caused the Jesters' top order much discomfort. However, the experienced duo of Chris Smith and Simon Butler used the pace on the ball to good effect; one early straight drive from Chris was a particular highlight, crashing into the sightscreen behind the bowler (not Chris' usual sightscreen of choice) within seconds of disappearing from his blade. The pair put on 68 in just 8 overs, without playing a shot in anger, before the speedy Hatteen breached the Butler defence and rearranged his woodwork. Louis Harris (22) and Sahil Kher (12*) continued to provide stability at one end, but the chase was all about the sparkling 80* off just 52 balls from Chris, who at last found the pedigree we all knew he had somewhere deep within him. The Jesters eased to their target in 20.1 overs, which on paper looks extremely one-sided, though in practice was due to the class of our top four, who blunted the impressive home attack with great skill and composure. Many thanks indeed to The Hurlingham for another wonderful day in this leafy oasis in SW6.