Much for the traditionalists to enjoy in Sunday’s game against new oppo ‘the weekenders’. A timed game – none of this newfangled limited overs stuff – with the oppo last pair bravely batting out the last 11 balls to secure a draw. A Mandarins collapse for the ages, from 61-1 to 68-5, just as our first three of Baxter, Tunbridge and Wilmott had seen the high-quality openers off and the more variable (polite) first changer had come on. The opposition opener walking for a caught behind despite being given not out by his teammate umpiring. The Mandarins using 5 spinners (or six if you count Arvind’s second spell). Baxter’s pads coming close to securing an offside boundary. A Manian wicket from a ‘pie’ which would have graced many a former match (it didn’t quite bounce twice before sneaking under the bat, Arv, honest). And conspicuous politeness from both sides over an allegedly 21 yard pitch (don't they do chains any more?) - might this have explained the beamers, see below .
That said, a real feeling of transition/passing the baton, exemplified by the 44 years age difference between our two opening bowlers: Hurst and Harry. Is this a Mandarins record? And which one was bowling faster?
So, to the new: the collapse was followed by a distinctly untraditional recovery, Harry scoring 62 ably supported by Hawkins (once again attracting beamers like bees to a honey pot and displaying a Butleresque late cut as his sole scoring shot) and Manian, the latter timing the ball as well as this correspondent has ever seen him. The weather, a symptom of climate change - with the G7 discussions on the subject given an immediacy which if not planned was nonetheless timely. A one hour early tea to watch the footie (what is the world coming to). Mandarins 6s by 3 different batsmen. And a full-ish and frankish exchange of views between the skipper and the oppo, when one of our bowlers, inspired by the opposition’s first change (who was removed for bowling 3 beamers), unleashed a series of (admittedly distinctly unthreatening) beamers himself.
Harry’s 62, 2 catches (yes, he dropped one off me, but it was a rubbish ball and who’s counting anyway) and highly economical onefer apart, all contributed and no-one stood out. 2 wickets a piece for Hurst, Rakesh and Dan. Batting contributions as mentioned above. Good catches also from Wilmot and Rakesh. A much improved ground fielding display from recent games with some fine keeping on a variable bounce and two paced pitch. Noble attempts at hard chances which would have won the game by several Mandarins.
A fixture we will definitely look to keep, but lets play through the footie next time.