Tuesday, 14 June 2022

Red Kites Scent Blood at Brightwell



Mandarins 150 all out off 37.1 overs (Baxter 61) lost to Brightwell-cum-Sotwell 151 for 9 off 28.3 overs (Ramani 4 for 33) by one wicket.

After four consecutive failures to play the fixture over three years, we finally managed to get 11 cricketers to Brightwell almost on time, and amidst much muttering played a timed game. One of the BCS players put it succinctly at the start: "I didn't drive all the way from London for a boring draw." Pah! We did.

The Red Kite (Milvus Milvus) eats mainly carrion and worms, but is described by the RSPB as "opportunistic." The sight of a lot of old men dressed in white staggering erratically was clearly seen by the local population as an opportunity, and they swooped very low around us all afternoon.

Chairman Jonathan consulted all the players in the middle about whether to bat or bowl. Bowlers said bowl, batters said bat. He batted. The pitch played as it always has - very low at the Glendenning end, erratic bounce at the Forster end. Cricket is often called a sideways on game, but when Tim Baxter plays it can also sometimes be a horizontal one. Tim swung, missed and collapsed on numerous occasions, was hit on the helmet but declined the concussion test. We were deeply indebted to his effort on a day when scoring was never easy.  Next highest effort was Zac with 18. The limited over brigade seemed convinced that the Mandarins top order were making the draw inevitable by slow scoring but a slump from 81-3 to 130 for 8 meant that Jonathan never had to give consideration to his declaration.

Anticipation was intense as Arvind, batting no 7, made his way to the middle on a run of three golden ducks. In a replay of his previous dismissal he toppled forward and was stumped first ball. Umpire Jonathan, torn with compassion, briefly contemplated the largest diplomatic incident since body line, but eventually raised the finger in the face of pretty incontrovertible evidence. So Arvind's count rises to four........*

As usual when Brightwell batted the game started to look very different. The openers quickly moved to 80 before Nik Kulkarni shook off the rust of two years and made the break through. BCS moved on to 106 for one, then Rakesh brought a measure of control and pressure suddenly shifted. Four wickets fell for 6 runs, two each for Nik and Rakesh, and we had an opening. Then Nik bowled an over too many, hit straight for 20, and Brightwell back in the driving seat with only 19 needed. Then another twist as Brightwell showed Mandarinesque lack of application and lost another four for 14, Raki pressurising and Arvind, given the chance of redemption, rising to the challenge and getting a couple ( at least, in his view) to set up a thrilling finish as five were needed by the last wicket. More nervy shots, playing and missing, then a full toss smeared through mid wicket to secure the win. End of another dull timed game, with 13 overs to spare!

*Arvind's four golden ducks is undoubtedly a Mandarins record, although it will have to remain provisional in view of missing data. Only four other players (three of them active) have scored 3 consecutive zeros in the past 15 years, but few of these will have been golden. No one has got four in a row, let alone goldens. Rooting for you in the next innings, Arv!

Chris Baker

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