On a hot and humid evening an eager Philanderers crew gathered at Babraham, proud to represent the club in the home 20/20 fixture against Harlton. Three champagne moments were to come.
Fielding first, with the help of a Harlton sub or two until latecomers arrived, we found the opposition difficult to contain in the early overs. This soon changed as our bowlers tightened things up and the fielders (some of whom seemed to be both physically and psychologically challenged by the needs of the hour) upped their game. Matt Samson, a new young Sydney-sider in our ranks, took 3 wickets: Hegarty two and White one. The first champagne moment came as Mihir Chandraker offered a splendidly lively throw from the deep which was collected for a runout by our revered skipper, Stomper Harris. He ended triumphantly sprawling on the floor, having taken the bails and stumps down, not caring a jot for his undignified pose. Young Chandraker also looked an intriguing spin merchant and I am sure there is more to come.
The second champagne moment arrived as Hegarty was bowling. In the middle of a crafty spell, he was no-balled by the umpire for bowling the beamer that probably never was. Heggars went rapidly through disbelief to incredulity to incandescent rage. The incident culminated in him retreating to the boundary at the end of the over offering unseemly advice to the umpire. His voice rent the evening air and could be clearly heard by your correspondent in the Pavilion: thank heavens there were no stump mikes operational.
The opposition totalled 123 for 7. The Philanderers were quietly confident that this could be chased down.
And so it proved. Our openers, Gill (46) and Leary (60), took the battle firmly to the Harlton bowlers. The balls (for several were required) disappeared with pleasing regularity into the wood behind the bowler's head, some never to return. The rest of the team sat with feet up in the Pavilion thinking this all looked very rosy. But both were out to catches. Others were called upon. And the third champagne moment arrived. Your hapless correspondent was promoted up the order by a reckless skipper. Attending the crease to face a demon spin bowler in the gloomy gloaming he was promptly dismissed first ball playing all round the slowest straight dobber imaginable. This caused much unwarranted hilarity back in the Pavilion. The sounder technique of Bailey and Samson saw the team through to victory with space to spare.