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.