Wednesday, 31 July 2019
Try Again Next Year
After poor weather on the Saturday and a dodgy forecast for Sunday it was with some relief that the Mandarins turned up in Mickleham to find a ground bathed in sunshine. And a fine afternoon it proved. After the usual debate over who should captain Paul McIntyre agreed to take on this onerous responsibility, knowing that even if he lacked decent batting and bowling, he would never be short of advice.
Having won the toss, the Mandarins batted first, with Baxter and Somerville opening. Mickleham’s bowlers found plenty of bounce which did for Drew and then Chris Baker, before Tunbridge and Baxter steadied the innings and accumulated against the change bowlers with a stand of 66. After Graeme missed a straight one Arvind came in and moved the score along nicely. (I should add that we are reliably informed by Arvind that these match reports have at least one keen reader in cricket-made India. So I am pleased to report that Arvind scored 12 and fielded well.) Baxter reached his fifty before also missing a straight one from Gary Plahe, whom Dan Forman, for reasons best known to himself, had kindly lent to the opposition. Wickets fell quickly as the Mandarins edged towards respectability; our self-appointed running coach Chris “that’s a single, run” Baker helpfully provided encouragement from the boundary, whilst Wilmot shepherded the tail. In the end the Mandarins reached 158 -8 off 35 overs; having successfully defended a similar score in 2018 the Mandarins took tea with a certain amount of sadly misplaced confidence.
Tea as ever at Mickleham was excellent, and it is quite possible that Heard and Hurst had overindulged in that department as neither was at their best in their opening spells. McIntyre made an inspired bowling change by bringing on Somerville, who proceeded to take 2 wickets in 2 balls, and a rather less inspired change by bringing on Baxter, whose second over went for rather a lot, as Mickleham’s excellent Number 4 Henry Smith hit the ball all over the ground. McIntyre brought back a level of control, as did Forman, and McKeon almost pulled off a fine stumping, but Smith accumulated relentlessly, eventually falling for 98, lbw to Heard, when victory was in sight. Mickleham finally won by five wickets with lots of overs to spare. In a good fielding display special mention goes to Tunbridge, ever active on the boundary.
We then retired to the Running Horses pub for the traditional post-match awards ceremony – for those who have never played this fixture, this involves five players holding up a ski, to which are attached shot glasses, and consuming Malibu. I wouldn’t particularly recommend it, but apparently it is a thing in this part of Surrey.
And so the day passed, another enjoyable fixture against fine opposition. Roll on next year.