Mickleham Memories - A Fairly Honourable Defeat
Mandarins 159 all out; Mickleham 160-6 from 31 overs; Mickleham won by 4 wickets
The scorebook tells the tale. We fell 25 or so short of the total Robin Pharoah's typically defensively solid, attackingly hard-hitting 59 put us in contention for. They had enough lower order batting to make it despite an early flurry of wickets which made the game competitive.
Mickleham's battery of seamers bowled well on the type of decent-paced track that offers seamers just enough lift and movement to ensure few batsmen look set. Robin aside, only three Mandarins made double figures. Nick Davidson's 17 in a 56 run partnership alongside Robin was central in nudging us into three figures; Rob Eastaway's well-timed 27 not out the stroke-making heart of successive 20+ partnerships for the 9th (with Paul McIntyre) and 10th (with Jean-Christophe Gray) wickets, ensured we made it to the middle of the 35th over before succumbing.
Rob and Jean-Christophe's (1 for 13 from 7 overs) tight opening bowling partnership reduced Mickleham to 30-3 after 9 overs. But we couldn't dislodge that mainstay of village cricket, the limited but limpet-like opener - his ground out 29 in 20+ overs enabling the opposition's strongest batsmen, reliably tucked away in the lower middle order, to whittle down the total.
The boundaries from Mickleham batters ticked over rather than ever flying. The odd wicket fell, deservedly, in particular to Rob (3 for 29 from 7 overs). We dropped their best bat 15 runs shy from the end, but it wasn't a howler. And so the slight of feeling of what might have been on our side was accompanied by Mickleham's sense that it was a game they had to work for. Which, in what was a 35-overs game, in a season in which we have struggled, made for a decent match to play in.
And if it's not a fixture you have played, the action was set to a leafy Box Hill back drop, included a fine tea, and was gently reflected on afterwards in a good pub 100 yards from the ground.