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Chippenham v The Philanderers, Sunday 21st May

The Philanderers CC (232-4) beat Chippenham CC (228-7) by six wickets

It’s been a tough winter for The Fuhrer; his usual winter slumber rudely interrupted by one bad news story after another. First, Pelham went under the knife, his career in jeopardy. Then, The Perse arranged an old boys game clashing with the Flycatchers fixture and robbing him of players. Skinner, his most reliable acadamite, announced he was moving to America. Theresa dithered over triggering article 50. The Lifeboat at Thornham rang and asked if he needed thirty portions of fish and chips on the first Thursday in June. Campbell returned from pineapple picking in Australia. He gave up (cut down?) smoking. The opening game of the season was rained off at Stapleford. The crisis in Syria rumbled on. And then his golden cherub Hammond broke a collar bone in a rugby match before his very eyes. Indeed, it was a tough winter.

With the Fuhrer still recovering from such a traumatic winter, newly appointed assistant-administrator-brackets-temporary Dean collected the scorebook and kitbag, and was left to supervise the opening hour at Chippenham. The assistant-administrator-brackets-temporary felt confident he would be able to pass on much needed good news as Davidson, captaining a very strong bowling line-up, won the toss and Rutt charged in off his farcically long run up, the beautiful parkland behind him. Three balls and two fours through mid-wicket later however and the assistant-administrator-brackets-temporary winced - this was not the news the already fragile Fuhrer needed.

Sherwin shared the new ball with Rutt and fared little better, though he did induce an edge dropped by Pearson G at first slip, and captain Davidson was forced to make a double change after 11 wicketless overs. Into the attack came Gimson and debutant Butler. They too struggled – with Butler’s first over going for 14 and neither finding a much-needed wicket. As The Fuhrer arrived Chippenham were cruising, reaching 100 without loss inside 20 overs. The assistant-administrator-brackets-temporary hobbled to the other side of the ground to avoid bearing the bad news.

Increasingly desperate Davidson turned to experience in the form of Sir G and Gerald Coteman, another winter recruit. Though Sir G bowled extremely tightly, his six overs going for just 11, and Coteman threatened with his offspin, neither could make a breakthrough. Davidson, with nowhere left to go, brought himself on to bowl but even he could not take a wicket. The assistant-administrator-brackets-temporary remained in hiding in the long grass.

With 33 overs gone the partnership was past 160 and at last, the chance came – Coteman induced a thin edge and Pearson E, strangely keeping wicket, dropped a dolly. Furious, captain Davidson ordered him to hand the gloves to recognised stumper Gill and bowl as punishment. The very next over Coteman at last made the breakthrough. At the other end Pearson’s first over went for 14, however in his second he struck twice in two balls and suddenly there were two new batsmen at the crease. Pearson was on the roll now and took four more wickets, all clean bowled, leading to an eventual declaration at 228-7 after 48 overs, Pearson himself finishing with 6-36, and moving some way to becalming Phil.

In reply, Gill, as is his won’t, started fast – his first ball speeding away for four. In contrast Nunez was all soft hands and dead bat, blunting the opening bowlers and working the singles – the languid Gibraltarian struggles with the two’s. But gradually the two converged, Gill reigned himself in, sure he punished the bad ball, but this was a proper innings of uncharacteristic measure, and Nunez, as he does, grew into his innings. The two looked assured against whatever Chippenham threw at them and the game drifted somewhat. The assistant-administrator-brackets-temporary felt safe to venture over to Phil.

Gill continued to work the ball around. Nunez continued. The Fuhrer’s mind began to wander. Sir George spotted a spotted woodpecker and Jeremy Davidson went off to investigate. Sherwin tucked into some pasta he had bought along to top up tea. Rory’s mother fussed around the boundary and applied a plaster to our skipper’s knee. Gill hit a four. Nunez continued.

Samit (Tim) arrived on his motorbike, a touch of glamour. The Fuhrer ignored him. The assistant-administrator-brackets-temporary greeted him. Samit admitted the assistant-administrator-brackets-temporary match report of this fixture two years ago, recounting Samit’s match-winning 50, was now framed on his office wall. The assistant-administrator-brackets-temporary wondered how he explained to clients why he had an alter-ego called Samit Patel. Gill hit a four. Nunez worked one round the corner for a single.

The clock struck 6.30, rousing the spectators and refocussing them on the game in hand - twenty overs remaining, with The Philanderers requiring 116 to win and all 10 wickets in hand. Gill and Nunez edged closer to the club’s record opening stand of 140, until a fraction shy the languid Gibraltarian was struck on the pad in front and on his way for an assured 31. Pearson E came in at three, and briefly decided to try and outhit Gill, but realised he was better off working it for one and making snide remarks to his batting partner such as “even your mishits are going for four”.

Gill reached his 100, accelerated and any doubt the game would finish with a Philanderers’ victory was gone. The skipper let him pass Will Wrights total of 135 to move to second in the top score list, before calling him in for the somewhat odd total of 142, prompting some cynics to suggest that the captain just fancied a bat himself. Dillon came, and an eventful four balls later, went again - his innings consisting of a wild swing and miss, a top edged two, straight driven four then a glorious forward defensive, timed so well he was caught at long off. The skipper, having promoted himself to number five in the absence of his great captaincy rival Hammond, came to the crease to finish the job, which he duly did, though there was just time for Ed to embarrass himself, again, this time playing on to his own stumps attempting a showboating reverse sweep.

The Philanderers won by six wickets, and flicker of a smile past The Fuhrer’s lips, the assistant-administrator-brackets-temporary thought he might even just have seen a puff of celebratory cigar smoke. At last, summer is here, let’s hope The Fuhrer’s troubled winter is behind him.

George assistant-administrator-brackets-temporary Dean

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