Sunday, 13 September 2020

A Lovely Day: Pity About the Result

Saturday, 12 September 2020

Bank of England 3rd XI 195 for 7 (40 overs), Mandarins 112 all out (32.4 overs). Bank won by 83 runs. 

On Mark Carney’s watch as Governor, the cricket match at the Bank’s annual sports day was prohibited (too ‘exclusive’) and soon it was agreed to sell off the sports ground. For some Bank staff, these acts of destruction will be remembered more than his failed experiment in monetary policy (‘forward guidance’) or his passing resemblance to George Clooney. 

Happily, the Bank’s cricket club has survived and is hiring a school ground in Wimbledon for most of its home games. On the way, I passed the end of Bank Lane, which runs down to the former ground. A poignant moment. Many Mandarins have played there, including 44 simultaneously on the occasion of our 30th (?) anniversary. It was the twentieth century when we last played the 3rd XI there: a brief contest, with the Bank dismissed for 70 or so and the Mandarins cantering to a 10 wickets win, courtesy a Mayhew half-century. Tea was taken after the match. The fixture was not renewed. Diplomatic relations were restored two years ago, and two heavy defeats at the hands of the ‘Wednesday XI’ saw the Mandarins relegated back to face the 3rds. 

The new ground, at Oberon Fields, has a fine pavilion, recently refurbished, topped by a handsome clock tower. But, as one of the Bank players admitted, it might be more suitable for rugby than cricket: the pitch was scruffy and worn, the outfield uneven. 

The Bank won the toss and opted to bat, in a 40-overs a side contest. Heard and Stan Forman initially kept the lid on the scoring rate, but the tempo increased as the Mandarins switched to spin. Chave made the breakthrough with two wickets in quick succession. At 74 for 2 off 21 overs, the game was rebalanced. But opener Patel then accelerated, and at 140 for 2, a score of well over 200 looked on the cards. After two overs of dross, McIntyre then picked up three wickets, including Patel for 66, and there were wickets also for Ramani and Stan Forman. But the Bank’s lower order had enough firepower to get them to 195. Plaudits to Lewin and Tivey, who shared wicket-keeping duties, and dealt well with the variable bounce, and (archivist to note) there were no drops, in what was a decent performance in the outfield. 

When Mandarins batted, the ball seemed more responsive to the surface, stopping and popping (was it a different kind of ball?). No batsman looked comfortable except Ramani with 26 and Tunbridge who top-scored with 30 - those fluent drives were not on display: instead, lots of patience and summary dismissal of the bad ball.

At 80 for 9, near-humiliation was on the cards. But Heard and McIntyre put on 32 for the last wicket to earn near-respectability. Heard hit five crunching boundaries in his inimitable style   - some compensation for his luckless bowling spell - but was bowled going for the sixth.  

A beautiful late-summer’s day. Thank you to the Bank. 

Mandarins XI: F Chave, Tunbridge (cap), Lowin, Mills, Manian, Tivey, Ramani, S Forman, D Forman, McIntyre, Heard. 

Paul McIntyre

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