Monday, 4 June 2018

Mandarins fall short against Charlatans
Charlatans, 220-7 declared, beat Mandarins, 149 all out, by 71 runs

A last-minute change of venue, as the Woolwich groundsman confessed to having failed to prepare a pitch, saw the Mandarins once again take the field on a delightfully sunny Sunday at Streatham and Marlborough’s leafy ground in Dulwich.   The match was designated our home fixture, with a re-match to take place later in the season further east.  As a result, a declaration format was adopted, rather than the advertised 40/40.

Batting first, the Charlatans openers both made 50s, rattling along at about 7 an over, with plenty of thick edges and aerial drives failing to go to hand.  But Captain McIntyre, in what he claimed was his first game as skipper in 10 years, rotated his seven bowlers sagely.  Baxter (3-21), Eastaway (3-40), and McIntyre himself brought things back under some control, though ‘control’ perhaps doesn’t do full justice to Baxter’s appealing. 
Despite the heat, the Mandarins ground fielding held up well, and George Warren produced a fine performance behind the stumps, happily showing no after-effects from the dislocated shoulder he suffered in the Oval nets in April.  The general feeling was that the Charlatans’ 220 could have been a lot worse and that a true pitch and fast outfield left us with a fighting chance.

Baxter and Davidson got the Mandarins run chase off to a solid start after tea, adding 55 for the first wicket, the propulsive and sonic qualities of Baxter’s pads (and calling) sowing their usual confusion among the opposition, and a fair few long hops in the first few overs helping the scoring along.  Warren, top scorer with 30, Venky (25), and a couple of dropped catches that would have shamed even the Mandarins kept the momentum going even as the bowling became tighter. 
A series of ducks in the lower middle order led to McIntyre’s eventual consent to bat out the draw with about 7 overs of the final 20 left.  Sadly, Forman H. was unable to repeat his heroic effort for Superstars on the same ground a few weeks earlier, last man out with three and a bit overs to go.  So, in the end, we came close to a first draw of the season, but not quite close enough.

Nick Davidson

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