Tuesday, 25 June 2019

Limited Overs, Limited Excitement, Limited Spirit, but Unlimited Curry

Sunday 24 June was not a day for classic limited overs cricket matches in London. At Lord's Pakistan batted their way to a par score first innings with some steady accumulation at the top and some late hitting at the end, but all the while with enough wickets falling to keep the total just about in check. South Africa then put up a respectable if insufficient effort in chasing it, with several batters getting a start but none going on to a big score. Eventually nine wickets fell as the run rate escalated and the chase became less competitive. The game technically went the distance but, with several men now posted on the boundary, the contest had ended quite a few overs previously.

Meanwhile at the real home of cricket south of the river - where the only egg and bacon is to be found inside our bellies rather than out and the actuality of the spirit of cricket is tested in ways the other MCC's laws could never completely define ...

Streatham and Marlborough Sunday first XI batted their way to a par score first innings with some steady accumulation at the top and some late hitting at the end, but all the while with enough wickets falling to keep the total just about in check. The Mandarins then put up a respectable if insufficient effort in chasing it, with several batters getting a start but none going on to a big score. Eventually nine wickets fell as the run rate escalated and the chase became less competitive. The game technically went the distance but, with several men now posted on the boundary, the contest had ended quite a few overs previously.

Naturally, we all said it for him before Eastaway had a chance: 'If this had been a time game these would be exciting overs now' etc.* 

[What's that you say Ed? You want actual match details/highlights/gossip/notable incidents for the archive rather than just this poor attempt at humour? Oh go on then]...

Match details/highlights:

SMCC 174-5 from 40 overs. Eastaway 8-1-20-2. Forman (D) 8-0-54-2. But McIntyre the pick with 8-2-17-1 - now there's a man who knows and loves the modern formats.

Mandarins 144-9. Warren 25* the stand out. Healey being caught for 21, followed by Eastaway bowled next ball and Forman run out without facing three balls later pretty much ended it as a contest, although McIntyre then dug in for the 'Mandarins draw'.

Gossip/notable incidents:
The drop count was less embarrassing than usual, although Manian almost added the best one of the year yet, trying three or four times to get rid of it with a juggling act more suited to Zippo's Circus up the road in Peckham Rye, before eventually deciding to let it settle in his hands.

Warren took a stumping standing up to Eastaway (perhaps a sign of George's skill or Rob's, er, reliance on guile as much as pace these days). One of their bats played a cut so late and so far outside leg stump that he actually placed it not just behind square but behind the stumps (perhaps a sign of his skill or your correspondent's non-existent guile or pace).

Healey chuntering about fielders chuntering and bowlers not quite respecting the umpires or spirit of Sunday cricket enough for his liking.

Lowen chuntering about Pharoah running him out.

Tunbridge chuntering about excessive numbers of fielders on the boundary.
(I do love a bit of passive aggressive pretending we're all getting along just fine on a Sunday).

But what our hosts perhaps lacked a touch in grace on the field they more than made up for it off it, with a lavish and delicious tea, a jug of ale sent to our changing room and a spectacular chicken curry that had been brewing all afternoon on the boundary served at no charge. Those of us who stayed late enough to enjoy double helpings decided that the spirit of the game was alive and well in south London after all, whatever the format.

*(Now a one-day timed game world cup would be an interesting concept. If only we knew a mathematician-cricket fan with an obsessive interest in declaration formats who could devise a scoring system for it...)

Dan Forman

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