HEBER NOMADS 151 All out
MANDARINS 98 All out
The aim of Mandarins cricket is to have a competitive game in which everyone gets to participate. That, at least, is what the captain (me) decided, and might help explain why the afternoon unfolded as it did.
On a pitch still a little damp from a morning shower, and with more showers threatened, Heber Dads won the toss and decided to bat, but soon found themselves 8 for 3 after five overs, with the ball swinging like a banana, Eastaway on a hat-trick and McInerney bowling tightly at the other end. McIntyre had already taken a spectacular one handed catch diving forward at mid on. Would this game make it to 20 overs? That looked unlikely, especially as Martin Hurst was still to bowl.
The captain took himself off after four overs, and brought on Manian (who’d only just found the ground after a frustrating 30 minute search for the gate). Arvind began with a full toss and long hop, both dispatched for boundaries, and then another short ball that was top-edged to cover and comfortably caught by Sam Brand. 18 for 4.
If this game was going to make it past 3 o’clock Heber needed to dig in, and with Rob Elias batting carefully and hitting the bad balls for four, they began to build some sort of respectability. It was roughly 60 for 6 (the scorebook does not show the fall of wickets) when Jules Lowin came in to join Elias, and now felt like an appropriate time to bring Hurst into the attack. Martin bowled well, but the batsmen kept him out, and Elias cruised to 50 before Hurst bowled him round his legs. Baker took a wicket at the other end, but Jules had got his eye in and started launching boundaries. At 130 for 8 it was time to close things down and the openers returned, but Heber managed to scramble themselves to a total of 151.
Was 151 a competitive score? Heber didn’t think so – but the mood among Mandarins was that maybe it was a bit above par. Which probably means it was about right.
However, Mandarins suffered an immediate setback when Warren was clean bowled by a low full toss off the first delivery of the innings. McInerney hit his first ball for six, but was caught and bowled a couple of overs later. Then Mills and Brand continued the attack and at 61 for 2, we were ahead of the rate and on course for victory. But the slow-ish pitch made it hard to play along the ground, and both Brand and Mills fell to good catches. Soon it was 68 for 5.
Hawkins batted doggedly but boundaries dried up and even singles were hard to come by. The required run rate went up from 4 to more than 6. Hurst was sent in to slog us to victory but instead hit a high full toss (too high?) to mid on. At 98 for 9, McIntyre joined Eastaway. Victory was still theoretically possible and there were six or seven overs left. We agreed to play the bowling on its merits. A lobby leg break from Hill looked like it deserved to be smashed through mid wicket, but the batsman was through the stroke several minutes before the ball arrived and the sound of broken wicket confirmed the match was over.
Disappointing, because this was a match Mandarins expected to win, but on the bright side, Heber Nomads were in a great mood and are already looking forward to next year’s game. And despite the gloomy forecasts, it didn’t rain.