Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Signs of Mandarin Sunshine Between the Showers

Ad Hocs 166-5
Mandarins 80-4
Match abandoned as a draw

It was a game with more interruptions than a John Humphrys interview but a conclusion less satisfactory than a Jim Naughtie monologue. Credit though to the Ad Hocs who persevered through a morning of weather in which most local cricket matches were called off and an afternoon in which the covers came on and off again more quickly than batsmen in a Mandarins middle order collapse. The opposition weren’t going to give their goal of a game of cricket against the Mandarins up easily but, while we may or may not have gone on to beat them, the Dulwich weather eventually did.

Between the showers, there were some signs of Mandarin-coloured sunshine, both metaphoric and even at one point literal. On the basis of our recent batting form, match manager Eastaway negotiated an 80-over declaration game with the Ad Hocs batting first. And it was a decision they may soon have been regretting, wth their upper order looking distinctly uncomfortable in the face of a hostile spell from Gray (6-1-15-2) and some trickery from Hurst, both extracting good bounce with the new ball. However the Ad Hocs number four Sarson rode his luck and took advantage of a couple of drops (mentioning no names as one of them might have been the Chairman) to make a streaky but brutal 65, while at the other end number three Davis made a steadier and unbeaten 67.

Drops aside, the fielding was otherwise most unMandarinesque, with Baxter doing his best Jonty Rhodes impression and the faultless Chris 'no byes' Mckeon making a good claim for the England gloveman's spot being debated on TMS that morning with a 'keeper's hat trick hat trick of a caught behind, stumping and run out to his name. Your correspondent and McIntyre picked up one apiece, while Healey and Baker both deserved better than their figures suggested as the Ad Hocs opened their arms for some declaration hitting at the end of the innings to set us what would've been a season's best 167 in 45 overs.

In reply Baxter and Baker were solid in defence in the four overs before tea but they both lost their patience thereafter. Manian played nicely at number three for 22 but a couple of wickets fell either side of another rain delay and at that stage the latest in the series of this season’s low batting totals was looking marginally more likely than a Mandarins win. However Healey (32*) and Mckeon were going well when a further, frustrating – and what proved to be final – shower began and the only solace was to be found in a pint of the local Brockley Brewery’s excellent (if somewhat ironically named in the circumstances) Summer Ale behind the bar.

Danny Forman