Saturday, 3 September 2016

Mandarins come second in high scoring game...again

Elstead 218-7 decl., Mandarins 198 all out

The first thing I was asked on entering the changing room was whether I would captain, in the absence of our esteemed chairman. It is always an interesting experience captaining the Mandarins, from the supportive team-mates ("Lost the toss? Only thing you had to do, and you couldn't do it"- sounds like Lowen, Ed.) to the generous advice from everyone on the pitch. So I said yes.

Having indeed lost the toss, the Mandarins fielded first on a glorious Bank Holiday afternoon. Elstead's opening pair, featuring the septugenarian Pat Murphy and a young lad who looked 12, made reasonable progress against the new ball pairing of Porter pere and Arvind. Thereafter it was all spin (or slow at any rate). Paul Mcintyre induced the young opener to spoon a catch to Chris Healey, the first of two wickets. Murphy chanced his arm successfully against the bowling of Porter fille, whilst Baxter dived ineffectually to try to catch repeated lofts over cow corner. Elstead made steady progress on a good pitch, but never ran away with things, with Chris Healey bowling particularly tidily and taking three wickets. Baker and Baxter also sent down a few leg-breaks. Having bowled a tidy first spell, Gemma Porter came back and took a wicket courtesy of smart work behind the wicket of Jonathan Wilmot (who, for the record, was on time).  This was Gemma's fiftieth wicket of the season. Yes that is fifty, five zero. Other Mandarins could only dream of such a summer. In the end Elstead declared on 218 after 48 hours, with Mandarins having acquited themselves well.

Baxter and Tunbridge provided a Department of Health opening pair, with Tunbridge in fine form. The fifty came up then Graeme inexplicably missed a straight ball. Chris McKeon came in number 3, and once he sorted out the bounce of the pitch hit a number of boundaries, some with a straight bat. Another fifty or so on the board, and Mandarins were set fair. Thereafter wickets fell more regularly, including Paul Mills top-edging a drive and Arvind run out to a not very good call (sorry). Successive batsmen informed me of their various frailties ("no short singles please, Ive got a bad foot".) Chris Healey came in at 7 and was going well when he too was adjudged run out in slightly controversial circumstances. When Baxter holed out for 74 it was time to bat out for a draw. Sadly we were unable to do so, as first Jon Porter then Paul McIntyre holing out, Paul falling in the penultimate over.

All in all an excellent game against good opposition. Roll on next year.

Tim Baxter