Friday, 13 May 2022

Normal Service Resumed at Millfields

Millfields 234 for 5 off 40. 
Mandarins 166 for 8 off 40 (Stancombe 64*). 
Lost by 68 runs.

Blue sky, fresh sunshine, Spring trees at their peak, the South Circular, although within reach of a Millfields slogger - he actually hit it over the road -, strangely silenced as if in thrall to the spirit of nature: it was a near perfect day for cricket on a good track. The West Indians on the adjacent pitch clearly thought so too, and clones of Michael Holding and Viv Richards pummelled each other all afternoon. As I went to the gents at tea time they hit the ball onto the pavilion roof. As I came out of the gents they did it again. It was high quality stuff.

Our game was a bit less consistently spectacular, but lots of good cricket nonetheless, unfortunately most of it played by Millfields. That said Mandarins made a good start, Zac picking up a couple in his opening spell. It would have been better still had we taken the three chances offered by Tom Collis, none of them particularly taxing, but we let him score 40 odd before snaring him. It would have been better had Rob not tweaked the hamstring after three overs and had to retire. Fortunately Adam the GCSE troglodyte was on hand to do some subbing. Rob returned unable to bowl but picked up a surprisingly athletic catch at square leg to give Dan his only wicket. This was in the middle of the first Millfields acceleration after Hursty and Rakesh had tied them down tight - a combined 16 overs for 46, with Rob included, 19 for 54. Do the maths on the back of your envelope to work out what the rest went for. The short boundaries and fast outfield tested us, and whilst we bowled some good overs in the second half, and Healey got a couple of them out, the pendulum was definitely swinging to Millfields. Their second acceleration was more of a shock and awe blitzkrieg as the last two overs were blasted for 42.

Pensive described the Mood at tea. Skipper Graeme led from the front scoring 28 in the reply, but like the whole of the top order he lacked fluency. We took drinks at 62 for 3, still only 20 behind the Millfields score at the same stage. A good game to win from there to coin a phrase. Then Millfields brought on Cairan Cooper, their opening bowler who will be the fastest thing we see all season. Suddenly it looked like county cricket with the four slips 20 yards back. We fell away further, chances reduced by George "baxtering" Chris Healey. This followed closely on his "baxtering" of Baxter on Thursday, so those batting with Warren be warned, a new contender for the Robin Butler/Mike Richardson Trophy is emerging this season....

As we went to 81-7 the prospect of being close to the top ten heaviest defeats of all time was still in play, but having just avoided this statistical calamity when the 8th fell at 87, Cooper came off and Millfields withdrew their jackboot from our jugular. The beneficiaries were Zac and Rob, who played some pleasing shots, not merely to reduce the margin of defeat to respectability but to post a new Mandarin all time record of 79 for the 9th wicket, overtaking the 75 scored by JC Jarvis and JC Gray against Charlatans in 2008. Congratulations chaps, and in particular to Zac for his maiden club 50, a consolation prize for a day when we definitely came second.

Chris Baker

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