Thursday, 6 May 2021


Near Arkley, semi-rural  green belt just south of the M25.  Convenient for players living in Archway or Amersham, less so for denizens of the seven other tube stations beginning with ‘A’, of SE22, or of Rochester.  A vast expanse of playing fields – long boundaries, and nothing to stop the ball going for a throw-in several soccer pitches away.

The burning questions of the day were clear.  Would Somerset win at Taunton?  Who was H?  Who was the geriatric relic who now reappeared from series long ago, having associated with Holmes, Hadley, Ho’Shea, Hawkhead,  Hurst et al?  Would this be his last match?  Or was another series in prospect?  
At first glance, H was obviously Highgate, who looked and played like an OCG [organised cricket group].  Mandarins looked like - well, the Mandarins, and were a man short to boot.  The Taverners very decently lent us a sub throughout their innings; and their opening pair were too polite to decline much early generosity, with the bowling being of variable length and several chances forgone.

After not many overs, the Taverners had passed 100 without loss, and Mandarins needed divine assistance.  It came in the form of hail and rain.  After a break, fortunes improved: Wilmot juggled a depleted attack, miserly swing from Healey, wickets for Tunbridge and Eastaway, and a first ever victim for Brown’s leg-spin.  Bowlers were supported by some impressive pouching in the deep,  topped by the catch of the season at short mid-wicket – fast, low, on a downward trajectory from the bat, Mother of God, who else but Healey?

249 to win.  Useful contributions from Taylor, Tunbridge, and Lowin.  A dominant half-century from – yes, of course, it was so obvious!  Bowling, fielding or batting, H had been Healey all along.  Mandarins challenged for a while before succumbing in some early evening sunshine.  Taverners winners by 60-70 runs.  And deservedly?  Definately.

And the mystery had been solved.  Or had it? Was Healey really H?  The last wicket stand endured a pulled hamstring.  Was that indeed the end?  Or is H actually Hamstring?  If so, might that possibility leave open the prospect of another series ?

Mike Richardson

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