Mandarins 115 All Out
Enfield Town 116 for 9
Enfield won by one wicket
If the Brexiteers have their way, we'll soon be going back to how England
was in the early 1970s. In which case they'd be delighted with how the
Mandarins scoreboard looked 20 overs into this match: 42 for 2, reminiscent
of the days of Boycott and Edrich grafting their way to lunchtime on the
first day. The fact that one of the Mandarins batsmen at the crease was
David Lowen, one time producer of Geoff Boycott documentaries, was surely
more than a coincidence.
The pitch wasn't one of those sticky dogs of old, but it was low and slow,
with a lush outfield that made it very hard to force the ball to the
boundary. And our batsmen were struggling to come to terms with it. With
the score on 25 a frustrated Baxter cracked the ball to point, called
himself for a quick single, changed his mind, fell over, and succumbed to a
slow motion run out as he crawled back to the crease. Somerville and Manion
came and went trying to force the pace, and there then followed a middle
order collapse as Munro, Swanson and a brace of Davidsons fell victim to the
But Lowen was pacing himself, and having realised there wasn't much future
in strolling singles, he began to take the aerial route as he suddenly
discovered his timing. When he was finally out, he had made somewhere
between 54 and 60 (there was some dispute between him and the scorers) out
of 97. It was down to the final pair of Eastaway and Hurst to lift the
score to 115, the former endeavouring to get himself a batting average this
season by calling a couple of Baxteresque singles. Some might say there was
a certain inevitability about how this would end, as Eastaway clipped a ball
a ball to wide mid on and called for a single but Hurst (who had by this
stage gone on strike when it came to backing up) ignored the call until his
partner had covered 20 of the 22 yards.
Would 115 be enough? After three overs, Enfield had lost three wickets and
scored two runs. After ten overs they were 17 for 4. The batsmen were
struggling to do anything more than keep Hurst out. But the pressure slowly
lifted as Enfiield's batsmen began to find the boundary. A couple of loose
overs from the change bowlers and they were 80 for 4 and coasting. With a
last throw of the dice, Davidson persuaded a reluctant Harry Swanson to bowl.
Nobody knew quite what to expect, but what Harry produced were awkward,
popping leg breaks reminiscent of ex-Mandarin Mike O'Shea. A double wicket
maiden followed. Eastaway came back at the other end and had the No.5
batsman caught brilliantly by Munro diving forward at square leg. Another
wicket from Harry. 95 for 8. The new batsman decided to give it a bit of
humpty. Somerville, returning for a second spell, finally trapped him LBW.
Six to win and one wicket left. A no ball hit for four. Then another full
toss, pulled in the air towards midwicket - clipping Arvind's finger tips
but not sticking.
Enfield had won, but it was by far the closest game of the season so far,
and all the more enjoyable for that.