It had been several years (the Fuhrer is unsure exactly how many) since we had beaten the Flycatchers, and were eager to avenge recent defeats, including ‘the one at Burrough Green where Hesketh dropped the game and Rutt got hit for several 100m sixes’.
Our latest battle was to take place at the picturesque and somewhat large ground at Babraham on a cloudy but warm day. Captain Davidson lost the toss and the Flycatchers decided to have a bat. We had a relatively limited bowling attack, and knowing the Flycatchers are usually a strong side, were quietly pessimistic about a declaration and having to chase a very high total.
Two Philanderers veterans opened the attack; Hugo White coming down the hill and John Burnett, on an astonishing 294 club wickets at the start of the game would struggle up the hill. They set about their business well and despite a few looseners, took early wickets. Hugo enduced a top edge which was pouched by our safe handed skipper D’Voe, and Burnett removed numbers 2 (a brilliant catch by Gill in the gully) and 3 (another top edge this time to Simon Shaw behind the stumps).
We had them 26-3, although the incoming batsman was a ‘full kit w*****r’ (FKW) with Durham University stash and a high elbow who looked able enough to trouble us. Early on he was let off the hook by an unacceptable bit of fielding by young Paul Leary who let one through his legs for four, the spark for a regrettably lousy fielding performance from the OP. After FKW had knocked it around for a bit with his expensive bat, we pegged ‘em back again as the excellent and determined Carew got an edge from number 4 batsman Cullen (decidedly no Lara / Tendulkar), and celebrated when the ball wasagain pouched by Simon behind the stumps, now 61-4. Davidson tossed the ball to himself and came steaming down the hill. He castled the hapless number six for a duck and at 71-5 we were right on top. There followed a recovery of sorts as their weighty number 7 (one of three Banks in the Flycatchers side and possibly the tormentor of Rutt in 2015 - we weren’t quite sure) middled a few boundaries, but his middle stump was then sensationally removed by our inspired, 1920s style leader, trousers as ever pulled up to chest height and shirt unbuttoned most of the way down.
Jono Butler did a good job supporting him at the other end, making the ball move about a bit on quite a challenging pitch, and took two wickets in an over to leave them 136-8. After another stint from Burnett and Davidson, we managed to contain FKW who kept the runs ticking over. With Davidson intimidating the number 11 (FKW’s Dad) with a well-directed beamer, we had broken the back of their innings and in the 37th over Davidson’s opening ball was smeared high out to long on by FKW who was caught by your humble correspondent to widespread disbelief, thus ending the Flycatchers innings on 181. Davidson finished with 4-39 and the remarkable John Burnett 2-23 off ten overs, moving thus to 296 wickets (#Burnett296).
With about an hour until the 20 over countdown, we finally finished the delicious tea (supplied by Hugo, Butler and Gill) and got out there. The opening attack were steady and quick-ish but liable to spraying a couple, and the recently prolific Gill immediately showed his impressive array of shots (leading with the ‘clear front leg and swipe through off side’). He had us in raptures with some huge blows into the trees surrounding the boundary, and after being dropped right out on the long long leg boundary, reached his 50 off just 7 overs. At the other end Leary, who looked very correct and comfortable, was unlucky to hole out to midwicket with a skiful and middled flick.
This brought Rudkin to the crease, who attacked bravely for 20 odd runs, hitting some powerful shots down the ground. We were well on top, and even when FKW steamed in from 30 or so yards, his first delivered was dismissively carted back over his head by Rudkin. Henry then missed a straight one a couple of overs later and Cassels went out to join Gill with us on 121 – although our tall spindly run machine would soon hole out to (and be embarrassingly sent off by) FKW for a brilliant 79.
Carew joined Cassels at the crease in what is surely the most notable partnership in terms of cranium size that the club has ever seen. The amply sweded pair sustained a decent run rate against the second string Flycatchers attack and it was a great shame when Carew, who had looked good, was yorked by a floatey kind of ball for 14 with just eight runs needed.
Heggers came in to finish the job and in typical Heggers fashion smashed a brilliant four down the ground from his second ball, followed by a hook for two, leaving Cassels to moo one away to complete victory the following over – which turned out to be only 30 odd minutes before the rain came. Our 182-4 came off just 22 overs, completing an emphatic and satisfying victory for the Philanderers. The performance, against a solid opposition, was very good all round, with the exception of Leary’s fielding.
With a large and youthful Sunday squad the team are in good position going into the second half of the season. Meanwhile local cricket journalists and enthusiasts including George Dean are expected to gather at upcoming midweek games to see our dear John Burnett hopefully pass his incredible milestone and doubtless when he does he will have to buy a jug or two. #Burnett300