Peper Harow 106; Mandarins 107 for 6. Mandarins won by 4 wickets.
The Mandarins’ first match of the season was a celebration of the club’s finest traditions, against opponents we first played before Britain joined the European Economic Community. It was a declaration game: no 100 ball gimmicks here. Overnight rain meant a delay, to the old starting-time of 2 30. The man with the kit was nonetheless late (and the bag contained no wicket-keeper’s pads). The dressing-room denounced the ECB and all its works. We lost the toss. Eleven chances were missed. Malcolm Field, a valiant twentieth-century Mandarin, came to watch and was reassured that little had changed.
Except that we won the match. At 68 for 4, a familiar mid-innings wobble was on the cards. Actions modelled on Murali and Malinga were threatening. But Jon Porter (11) steadied the ship, and Manian’s patient knock of 24 was rewarded with the winning runs at 7 00 on a glorious sunny evening. Earlier, Tunbridge was caught when looking well set. But Brand ignored the convention that you don’t drive on a slow pitch to make a decisive 45, including a straight six.
Tait (39) batted through for Peper Harow, and a violent late flourish from Jones at number 10 spoilt McIntyre’s figures to take the score past 100. There were bright spots in the field amongst the many mishaps: McIntyre (slip) and Eastaway (running in from deep mid-off) took decent catches; Williams saved countless runs in tricky conditions for keeping; and Gemma Porter showed her county class with some arrow-like throwing as well as 2 wickets. There were also 2 each for Heard and McIntyre, and one each for Eastaway, Forman and Hurst – whose mean opening spell of 6 overs for ten got us off to the right start.
Mandarins XI: Eastaway (cap), Brand, Forman, Heard, Hurst, Manian, McIntyre, Porter G, Porter J, Tunbridge, Williams.