Friday, 10 August 2018
Unfortunately, they were watching England thrash Panama in the World Cup while the Mandarins toiled in the field, guessing the score from the occasional shouts from inside the bar.
It was a tough day, made tougher by the heat and some generous (to the batsmen) LBW decisions, as the opposition batsmen proved difficult to dislodge.
One in particular, an ageing and irate Indian rumoured to have played at a much higher level, was particularly challenging until his arrogance got the better of him. Gesturing to a teammate on the boundary he told him to prepare to take a catch (translation services provided by A. Manian). A few balls later, he did indeed offer up a gratefully taken catch, albeit to a Mandarin well within the boundary.
Special mention must also go to the bowling of G. Warren, who “made things happen”. A lot of those things were runs – history and the opposition's indecipherable scorebook do not record how many – but two of them were valuable wickets.
Streatham and Marlborough completed their 40 overs having made an intimidating 256.
A few Mandarins made starts – Venky (32), Warren (23) and Baxter (19) – and Eastaway, batting well up the order, made an attractive 16 before getting run out, conveniently just before he would have had to leave anyway.
However, with the total still quite some way off, the lower order had no alternative but to swing and hope – in vain, as it turned out. Streatham and Marlborough completed their victory with seven overs to spare, Hurst the not out batsman with 4.
Tuesday, 7 August 2018
Monday, 6 August 2018
Thursday, 2 August 2018
Saturday, 14 July 2018
Alas there was indeed a run out that split the opening pair but this was entirely (I think) David’s fault though he could reasonably have expected to take a single to the man on the boundary; the fact that he was quite so short of his ground showed quite how short the boundary was and quite what a good arm said opening bowler had. But this was after they had added 78 runs, doing the radical thing of keeping out the good balls and scoring off the bad ones and seeing off the opening bowlers. Baxter moved to his 50 soon after and Tunbridge and Warren came and went fairly quickly, both content to give the strike to Tim who was seeing the ball beautifully and picking up the pace but both falling trying to press things on. This only brought Wilmot to the wicket who scored a sparkling 48, taking a particular fancy to the returning opening quick who, getting carted around a bit, charged in faster only to see the ball return past him faster. Tim continued to press on and brought up a marvellous hundred, a rare sight in a Mandarins shirt and thoroughly deserved for a brilliantly judged innings. Tim and Jonathan eventually fell though this turned out to be a good thing as Inder came in and smashed a brutal 40 off only 16 balls, making the most of the short boundary and taking us to a very imposing score of 254-5 off our 40 overs.
Rather than going for the jugular, the Mandarins eased off, and the North Enfield number 5 played a lovely innings of see-ball-hit-ball (though Stan was unlucky not to see him off several times) to score 113 not out of 80 balls. Thankfully Forman elder, Manian and Inder did the job with the other bastmen (none of whom scored more than 15) and North Enfield ended up on 205-9 off their 40 overs.
Friday, 22 June 2018
WG XI 168-7 - Mandarins 113 a.o.
Dr WG Grace may not have recognised the form of cricket being played by the Mandarins and the team named in his honour at Regent's Park on a midsummer's evening in June, but one hopes he would have appreciated the spirit of competitiveness yet conviviality in which it was conducted, even if he may not have been quite so full of admiration for all of the strokeplay.
In what was the WGXI's first ever Twenty20 fixture and only the Mandarins' second (who would have thought we would ever be trendsetters in the modernisation of cricket?), 'white ball captain' Forman lost the toss and was asked to field. Despite the best efforts of Heard, Manian and Venky it was a bracing experience with the new ball flying around and WG putting on 55 for the first wicket and bringing up 100 in the 12th over. The slower bowlers managed to exert a touch more control and a few more dot balls against the middle order, with McIntyre the pick with 4-0-22-3 and supported by Forman and Inder with a wicket apiece. But our groundfielding has a way to go yet to match the standards of the Blast, Big Bash or IPL, and giving up 33 extras – mostly in wides - was also somewhat unhelpful.
The target of 169 therefore always looked a tad ambitious. But a promising opening partnership of 37 between Brand (who top scored with 22) and Mills got us a good start, before towering sixes from Baker and Tunbridge threatened an all out assault on victory for a while. However it was all out in the more traditional sense eventually, although not before we had at least used up all but all of the overs. Two run outs did not help our cause and neither did WG's slow right armer Sykes who picked up four wickets with his nagging dobbers on or just outside off stump.
The great man Grace would have appreciated the old fashioned virtues of that and one suspects he may have enjoyed one or two of the cold beers kindly provided by our hosts as well. They certainly enjoyed the experience and were up for renewing on the same terms next year. But arch modernisers that we are, perhaps it will be a 100-ball game we are playing by then. No doubt the good doctor will be turning in his grave at that.
Monday, 11 June 2018
Ad Hocs 86 for 3
As the Mandarins walked off the pitch after another defeat, what was the reaction of the players?
"Hmm" said one.
"Meh," said another.
The afternoon had started promisingly enough. The opposition only had eight players at 2:30 - a situation that might normally have led to an agreement that they should bat. But Healey, captaincy thrust upon him, won the toss and ruthlessly decided the Mandarins should bat, on the basis that it was a warm afternoon and we had a team that looked on paper to be one of our stronger batting line-ups.
And there was also the pitch - the Old Alleynians rugby ground off the South Circular, which was dry and dusty and likely to deteriorate as the afternoon wore on.
Healey successfully persuaded the opposition to go for a declaration game, 20 overs from 6:30pm, a format that few of them were familiar with.
With the Mandarins 11 for 1 off 11 overs (Brand defeated by a fast ball that cut away and kept low), many of the opposition were clearly baffled as to what it was about this format that made it superior to the limited overs version.
When the change bowlers came on things got worse. The bowler from the lower end was so slow that the ball barely reached the stumps, but Wilmot and Lowen struggled to get the ball off the square, and when they did, it only twice made it to the boundary, thanks to the painfully slow outfield. It might have been a situation for quick singles to put pressure the fielders, but this wasn't the batting pair you'd choose for such tactics. Pharaoh replaced Wilmot but he too was stymied by the slow and variable bounce. At 40 for 2 off 22 overs, with the realisation we were only an hour away from a gentlemanly declaration, there was an attempt at acceleration. Alas all that accelerated was the rate at which wickets tumbled. Before long we were 54 for 8. At which point, Healey joined Chris McKeon, and showed that a class player can master even the trickiest pitch, and even when suffering from tennis elbow. A flurry of boundaries from both batsmen nudged us above 70. McIntyre then stuck around for a cameo before Healey was caught behind. We were 85 all out at precisely 4:30pm, a masterful bit of timing that ensured no embarrassing declaration would be required.
Hurst and Healey opened the bowling. When Ad Hocs dispatched Hurst's second ball for four, it looked like humiliation might be swift. But the bowling tightened and the batsmen were clearly finding conditions almost as hard as we had found them. Two wickets in two balls from Hurst, both bowled, had Ad Hocs teetering on 10 for 2. New batsman Peak came in with guns blazing, and smashed a ball back at Hurst which he gamely got a hand to and wished he hadn't. Had that catch stuck it could have made things interesting. As it was, the batsmen steadily broke free from the shackles. When Porter relieved a wicketless Eastaway he got a wicket with his first ball (60 for 3) and there were fleeting whispers of a fightback. But it was not to be. Ad Hocs struck the winning runs on the stroke of 6:30pm, the very moment when the 20 overs had been due to start.