MANDARINS VS DEFRA AGRICOLA, WEDNESDAY 22 JUNE 2022
There has been some debate about whether the Mandarins should adopt more of the new England approach of unbridled positivity. Certainly Dan “Baz” Forman was seeking to channel that spirit with his team talk before our latest 20:20 game at Chiswick, addressing a surprisingly large number of Mandarins who had managed to negotiate travel problems to be there before 6pm. Only one was absent, of which more anon.
I am a bit hazy about who won the toss, or even if there was one. In any case Defra batted first. Joey Hale and Martin Hurst opened the bowling, and both caused problems. Martin got a ball to leap and George Warren behind the stumps took an excellent catch, and Martin followed this up by clean-bowling the next batsman. Joey dismissed the other opener, courtesy of an excellent catch by Matt Brown, keeping his cool to take a skied top edge. Forman then called upon the leg-spinning duo of Baker and Baxter. Defra’s Number 4 duly got to 25* courtesy of Baxter’s full tosses - in my defence it emerged that the pitch was set up for juniors and was only about 19 yards long. Thereafter wickets fell steadily, as Forman and Lowin made inroads.
Finally, our 11th man arrived – one Andy Heard, who had had a hellish journey, courtesy of GWR and TfL. There is an old adage that you should never upset a fast bowler, and it obviously applies to Andy as well, as he proceeded to bowl fast (well it was a very short pitch) and straight to take 3 wickets for 1 run, all bowled, the final wicket seeing the middle stump removed from the ground.
The target was only 100, but we take nothing for granted in the Mandarins. David Williams and George Warren opened; David proceeded to play extremely well off his legs, as befits a keen hockey player. There was a brief flurry of excitement on the boundary: had we ever had a significant batting partnership where one batter scored all his runs on the leg-side and the other on the off? The archivist complained that the available data could not resolve the issue and then David ruined the speculation with a cover-riven four. David duly retired on 25*.
George was well caught and bowled for 16 and there was a brief wobble with both Matt Brown and Jamie Brockbank being bowled cheaply (Jamie in particular can be excused, given sleepless nights with new daughter, for which many congratulations are in order). But this brought Joey Hale and Jules Lowin together who proceeded to take us to the target with seven overs to spare, Joey reaching 25 with the winning runs. A very satisfying game against a good opposition and another cracking victory for Baz Forman, last seen heading to the bar to commiserate with the opposition.