RCDS: 171-7; Mandarins 173-9.
This match was witness to a conjunction of rare events this summer: the sun beat down; we didn’t drop a catch in the field; Hurst played a restrained innings; Heard unfurled his much hidden off-drive and to cap it all, the Mandarins managed to pluck victory from the jaws of defeat!
As usual a splendid venue for what turned out to be match which came right down to the wire. Due to illness, Mike and Wendy Foot were unable to join us this year for the Rob Foot memorial match but there was much in the match which would have appealed to Mike’s love of the more quizzical aspects of the game of cricket as practised by the Mandarins CC.
RCDS won the toss and contrary to the norm, elected to bat first. A tight opening spell from Rob (“I only came to drop off the kit, …oh, go on then, one more over”) Eastaway and Owen Cooke saw RCDS reduced to 25-4. By this stage we had seen their umpire gently admonishing the opening pair after the first over for not having played a single defensive shot and the full multinational/multi-service nature of the course at RCDS on display with debuts to representatives from Norway (fielding for us) and Latvia (1 run before being ruthlessly stumped by Baxter in full “jack-in-the-box” mode). However, the fall of wickets brought RCDS’s captain to the wicket to join opening bat Squires (RAF) for what proved to be a very productive century partnership. They calmly yet effectively accumulated runs, playing the good balls sensibly and cutting loose with anything full or wide. Baxter rotated his bowling with spells from Porter (Gemma), Heard, Hurst, Manian and Porter (Jon) but it was only really the retirement of Squires on 60-odd that opened up one end. Nevertheless, the RCDS skipper marshalled his remaining troops through to a very competitive 171 runs.
The Mandarins started brightly with Tunbridge in particular looking well-set. After Manian had perished to a “death or glory” heave, Tunbridge and Mills combined well with Tunbridge providing the “languid style” (copyright T.Hawkhead) and Mills the brute force. Tunbridge (46) and (28) Mills fell in relatively quick succession (Mills adjudged lbw by umpire Andy (“friend of the bowler”) Heard to one that looked a tad high from 75 yards away) but then Hawkhead and Hurst belied the years (and their team mates’ expectations) with a display of controlled batting that meant we were ticking quite along nicely. Then it all went a bit pear-shaped. A sudden flurry of wickets meant that when the 9th wicket fell and with no sign of Andy (“Don’t worry, I’ll be there for the second innings”) Somerville, RCDS thought that they were victorious. However, they reckoned without the 3rd member of the Porter family – Helen (“I’ll bat if you’re really, really desperate”) Porter. Relieved of scoring duties and hurriedly padded up, Helen was sent in with the instructions to bat out for a draw. In true Mandarin style, she treated her captain’s instructions as merely advisory and she and Heard proceeded to knock off the remaining 16 or so runs from 3 overs with Andy bludgeoning the winning runs (for which he duly received the traditional “champagne moment”).
So with the Mandarins recording only their second win of the season, there was just one question for the statisticians. When was the last time that the Mandarins fielded three members of the same family? Speculation was that it might have been in the time of the Jarvii (plural form of Jarvis? [Les Jarvies, surely; Ed.]) but we await confirmation.