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The Philanderers v Barford, Friday 21st June at Fitzwilliam

On the eve of the summer solstice, an odd collection of Philanderers that included two debutants gathered at Fitzwilliam to take on an unknown group of tourists who’d travelled from the Warwickshire village of Barford. Much mystery surrounded what would happen over the ensuing few hours on a lovely sunny day as clouds ever so slightly marred the evening light.

A dishevelled skipper Pimblett arrived from London, bordering on late and grumbling about only having three and a half bowlers, lost the toss whereupon the tourists elected to take first knock. By the time the motley crew had assembled onto the playing field the clock was showing 6:15pm, Hugo White stormed in from the Mayfield Primary School end and promptly bowled the opening delivery to first slip before getting his line correct. His opening partner was versatile Tim Middleton, aka Samit Patel, who to please his skipper converted to seam up bowling and acquitted himself well to the task. It was interesting cricket with very few dot balls, wickets falling, boundaries being hit, singles scampered and the odd obligatory wide. After 8 overs, the unusual but effective opening combination had bowled out their overs and it was clear that the tourists were not a particularly strong outfit with the score on 50 for 4 with Middleton picking up three wickets and White the other.

Pimblett then turned to the off spin of Ragnauth and the left arm seamers of the club’s premier all rounder Hegarty to continue the good work of the opening pair, and indeed they did. Ragnauth teased out two of the tourists and Hegarty picked up a well deserved wicket after a barren tour of Brittany where he’d bowled well without luck. But now came the tricky decision of where the skipper would go next. Debutant Davies was handed the ball, a mere decade and a half since his last trundle, and sent them down with heat and surprising accuracy, including a couple of very useful bumpers, one unfairly called a no ball. Cox bowled leggies from the other end extracting both turn and bounce.

Any resistance shown by the tourists was halted by a great bit of fielding by Holmes who dived to save a hot one then sprung to his feet to lob the ball to the bowler to complete the run out. But the bowler wasn’t required as Holmes under arm hit the stumps. Performing such heroics with a dodgy hamstring suggest a fully fit Holmes would be impenetrable in the infield. The tourists were finished off by a wicket each for Cox and Davies, the latter by means of a good catch standing up by Pimblett. All round it was a solid fielding effort by the Philanderers, who’d kept things tight to restrict the tourists to 103 with each of the bowlers used taking at least one wicket.

So the Philanderers began batting in reply with Rogers and Lawrence at the top of the order. The first ball was wide, then on the first legal delivery Rogers inexplicably tried to pull a straight one that didn’t really get up and was bowled. This brought Matt Mitcham, the second debutant, to the crease and he immediately revealed himself as a class act. With a flurry of boundaries, including a booming six that rocketed into the skippers car, he raced to 34 inside the fourth over before holing out at deep mid wicket. Never mind the game had already been killed off as a contest. Over the next eight overs the match meandered along with wickets falling and runs being accumulated before Ragnauth joined Cox and pair saw The Philanderers safely home with 5 wickets and a few overs to spare. Ragnauth finished on 24 not out and Cox on 18.

As the setting sun lit up the Fitzwilliam playing fields, all agreed that it had been an enjoyable game of cricket played in an excellent spirit with all Philanderers getting involved in some shape or form.

Trevor Lawrence

'Mel Ragnauth hitting the winning boundary'

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