Mandarins beat Brightwell cum Sotwell by 6 wickets BCS 117 for 8 declared off 46 overs (Eastaway 2-22, Healey 2-14, Chave 2-31). Mandarins 118 for 4 off 27.4 overs (Baxter 56)
It is a long time since we won at Brightwell, so the manager had selected a strong XI, even with the luxury of leaving Pharaoh and all the Formans on the bench. The troops did not disappoint. For veteran Mandarins followers it was all there: the match manger late for the start; another timed game; Heard and Eastaway in harness; JP evergreen; Williams keeping wicket with all available parts of his anatomy; skipper Tunbridge making all the right calls and scampering around the field; the usual smattering of drops and misses, although none truly egregious. We did however manage two off one ball, JP getting enough fingers on the caught and bowled chance to make it difficult for Graeme backing up at mid off - and down she went. The running totals for the year are 8 caught, 18 dropped, so make of that what you will.
The Outfield was dotted with numerous coloured cones marking the worst of the rabbit holes. Sadly these played no part in the proceedings. The grass was lush, but the pavilion boundary short, so many shots still got full value. The pitch, I think it is fair to say, although spared the rabbits, was sporting. Very. A number of batsmen fended lifters off the gloves whilst others grovelled to reach the grubbers.
The Mandarins bowling was tight throughout. Andy's opening spell of 8 overs 1 for four (yes 4) with 5 maidens can rarely have been bettered. The smooth, shortened run up, the rhythm, the nagging accuracy. He felt so good he even took a sensational slip catch off Fraser to round off his day. Rob was also niggardly and threatening under cloudy skies. The newly reinvented Chris Healey seamers also swung prodigiously, his two wickets meaning he is still the man to beat this season in the "most wickets" column. And congratulations to Will Thornton on his first Mandarins wicket, almost immediately followed up by stop/ drop/ scare of the season as biffer Forster smashed one straight on to his right hip bone, causing him to crumple. But showing the resilience of youth he soon resumed after the icing spray had been applied, and did a great job with JP in restraining the scoring of a dangerous 9th wicket partnership.
Gloomy Mandarins reckoned 110 a good score. An old salt in the pavilion said 126. Brightwell declared midway between the two, having upped their run rate to only 2.5.
In the event we were guided home comfortably by Tim, swashing and buckling, swishing and missing, with 11 boundaries out of 56. To the disappointment of their fans, with his bat so much in evidence, the pads played only a subdued part in this innings, but their day will come. Brisk Partnerships of 37 with Drew, 24 with Chris B, and 32 with Fraser meant we were always ahead of asking rates and notional d/l par scores. Tim's dismissal near the end did however allow Graeme to demonstrate how not to play the unplayable delivery - half track, straight along the ground at speed it went. His horizontal batted crouch shot, although not in the coaching manual, would have kept it out if he had bent down low enough in time. But he didn't. Bad luck Graeme.
And so to the delightful Red Lion for refreshments. Many thanks to Brightwell for going the extra mile to get a side out, and for their hospitality.