Monday, 27 July 2020

Things I've missed about Mandarins cricket in the past 10 months

Mandarins (138-8) bt Superstars (137 all out) by two wickets
Dulwich College, 19 July

Winning the toss. And making the blindingly obvious decision to field first on a wet and uncovered wicket to be met with hearty congratulations from my teammates immediate dissent regarding how hard it will be to hold the ball.

Not having 11 players at the allotted start time. So I am only half joking when I say that it will be Josie and Adam Eastaway at first and second slip as their father opens up (luckily Arvind appears just in time but latecomers don't get the luxury of fielding at slip, even when Rob is threatening to find edges with his usual unerring line and length).

Mandarins fielding. Yes, really. Brand and Brockbank both take sharp ones and McKeon (C) is tidy behind the stumps. Dare I say we are actually doing okay in the field? Well, at least until I come onto bowl an overlong spell when singles suddenly seem to start to get stolen and a much easier chance goes down at long off. But even I became bored with my bowling after a while so lapses of concentration are, for now, forgiven.

Fatherly pride. Stan (6-1-17-3) applying the brakes in the middle overs with big wickets as some aggressive Superstars batting threatened to take the game away from us. Harry (6-1-38-3) coming back strongly at the end to clean up the tail having taken a bit of tap in his first spell. So 138 to win with a few overs back in our favour having bowled them out. Gettable on a good enough track, but also definitely not-gettable if we don't play well. Good game.

Baker stats. Tunbridge's 2000th run for the club is roundly and rightly applauded from the boundary, a lovely moment that no one would have known about had it not been for Chris's diligent data analysis. Graeme was a young man when he started of course but now sits in the older half of this side. Befitting of this senior status and the man himself, his 28 runs are deftly judged and worth more than the bare statistics might suggest. He sees off some very accurate seamers and some very useful spin, constructs a controlled 50 partnership with Manian (25), and by the time he departs we are well on our way to our target. Well batted Mr T, well batted.

Finding a new player. Rakesh Ramani (5-0-12-2 and 22*) is very welcome in our club indeed. Especially as he is keen to play as often as he can. That he is a thoroughly nice bloke to boot is also a massive bonus. 

Good spirit. Exemplified by Superstars' Konrad refusing to claim a low catch that no one would have quibbled with had he said he held it.

A tight finish. Not quite all results possible territory but close enough to keep everybody interested to the end. Rakesh and a composed Harry (17) got us almost to the line in a partnership of 33 just as the Superstars sensed a sniff of victory. Rob does the rest and we get there with 10 balls and two wickets to spare.

A shaft of sun to defy the weather pessimists. A pretty ground. A couple of cold beers. Who's playing next week? Don't forget your match fees! Anyone get a photo of the book? God I've missed it. But it's great to be back.


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