Butler & Chris Smith club Hurlingham
Jesters CC 301/9 dec (Butler 79)
Hurlingham 197 all out (C Smith 5/60)
Jesters won by 104 runs
A batting line-up laden with Jesters luminaries was too strong for Hurlingham, who were thrashed by 104 runs. Chris Smith's fine all-round performance earned him the man of the match award. Skipper Jonny Bridcut elaborates below...
Having lost the toss on a baking hot August bank holiday Saturday, the Jesters were relieved to be invited to bat first on what looked a typically benign batting paradise in this leafy south-west London oasis. Simon Butler and Oscar Howie settled in quickly, despite an impressive start from the new ball bowlers, and both of them were soon caressing cover drives to the boundary boards in a fine opening partnership of 64.
Following Howie’s departure for a polished 28, Louis Harris joined Butler in a sparkling second wicket partnership of 78. Butler became increasingly confident once he passed 50 (his first for any team in three years he claims!) as he eased the ball to all parts of the ground. With another Hurlingham hundred on the horizon, Butler surprisingly edged a sharp chance to slip when on 79, which was one of several fine pieces of fielding before lunch. 142/1 soon became 147/3, as Louis’s gritty contribution of 37 came to an end an over or so later, just as he was starting to open up. Rowan Clapp and Fred Pugh steadied the ship and took us to the interval at 171/3.
However, both regretted their decision to pile into the fine Hurlingham BBQ as they struggled to find any fluency after the burger break. Rowan perished in customary fashion, being a slightly off-ballance when he lofted a length ball to mid-on, and Fred was soon-after snaffled at slip.
At 188/5, the stage was set for another old-timer, Chris Smith, and a Jesters debutant, DJ Clark [the Hurlingham scoreboard's erroneous spelling of Chak - ed.], to prove their all-round credentials. Having spent a painful two minutes trying to unfold one of the pavilion deckchairs moments before, Clark wasted no time in unfurling some crisp glides, cuts and drives, while the experienced Smith looked in superb form, striking the ball to all his favourite pArts of the ground. The two put on a fine 81 and, at 269/5, a score of approaching 330-340 looked on the cards. However, a fantastic one-handed catch at midwicket denied Smith another Jesters 50 and Clark fell soon after for a composed 42. A late flurry from Shorbo Nag and the tail edged us over the 300 mark before the skipper called the troops in.
A shortened 35 minute session before the tea interval allowed the Jesters’ opening attack to steam in without concern for stamina. Ilija Krunic didn’t take long to find his metronomic lines and lengths and was duly rewarded with an early wicket. With the smell of smoked salmon and cucumber sandwiches in the air, the Hurlingham no3 couldn’t resist a dash at the early introduction of Chris Smith’s tasty off-spinners, and Fred Pugh clung on to a leading edge at point to reduce the home side to 33/2 at tea.
However, the game was soon very much alive as Oliver Logan and Oliver Martyn-Hemphill saw off the surprising second spell from the skipper and began to exert some pressure on the visitors. It took an extraordinary intervention to break their partnership, when debutant DJ Clark’s first ball, a filthy wide full toss, was smacked into the covers only to be plucked out of the air by a sprawling Louis Harris diving two-handed to his right. A tremendous catch.Moments later the magic was repeated, as this time Martyn-Hemphill bludgeoned a knee-high full toss from Smith into orbit towards cow-corner, where, ironically, Louis Harris was prowling – with his heart racing he eventually steadied himself under the ball and pocketed another super catch. This was the Louis Harris from 2010.
83/2 had become 93/4. Smith continued to whirl away from one end, as DJ Clark and Andy Mortimer rotated from the other. A further strike from Smith and a first for Mortimer saw the home team skipper, Tim Francis, arrive at the crease with 171 needed from 20 overs. Having hit his first 5 balls for 18, the game suddenly looked alive again. His aggression rubbed off on his partner, as they plundered 52 in about 5 overs, before a fine catch at long on from Butler off Smith brought an end to the brief mayhem. 182/6 soon became 188/9, when Smith picked up his fifth wicket to cap a really strong all-round performance (he finished with figures of 15-3-60-5) and then DJ Clark returned to bring an end to the tenth wicket resistance and finish with 3/23. Surely the start of a promising Jesters career for Clark.
Many thanks as ever to Hurlingham for being wonderful hosts.
Jesters XI: Bridcut (c), Nag (wk), Butler, Howie, Harris, Pugh, Clapp, C Smith, Chak, Mortimer, Krunic