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The Philanderers v Highgate Taverners, Sunday 7th July at Fitzwilliam

Although living the closest to the ground, your correspondent arrived later than the Führer would have decreed and picked up only the last knockings of the pre-match team bonding process. But that only gave the Phillies nine, having lost the toss and been invited to bowl. The remaining members of an otherwise august squad arrived in dribs and drabs; the Vicar of Dean running onto the field barefooted sometime later, and Leary sometime later still, blaming Brexit for his late arrival.

Once settled under the watchful, albeit loquacious, captaincy of Hammond the younger, all hell was let loose with Rutt, from the old allotment end, firing on all cylinders. Length, pace, late movement, it was all there and, if truth be told, it was a bit much for the Taverners. One may have been led to the conclusion that drinking Grantchester dry the night before was their downfall but, in fact, Rutty was a bit too good on the day.

At the other end ‘Big Bird’ Jonah Munday was also a bit of a handful, and was unlucky not to bag more than one scalp, whilst Rutty eased himself to a ‘5 for’ in only his fifth over. Hammond, in the guise of party pooper, then took him off, presumably to avoid the embarrassment of a Jim Laker moment. Enter the finishers; Ryno Stephens and the evergreen (or ever-grey), Coteman. Once the former had discovered which set of stumps to aim at he took a pleasing 2-18, whilst the venerable Coters (or Gezza) finished with 2-12. Early reports that he had turned one were corrected in later bulletins.

Highgate had mustered a disappointing 69, with 20% of these coming from wides.

So clinical had been the Phillies’ bowling that the tea urn had not yet come to the boil, and so it was that our intrepid openers, Ed Dodson and John Howe, set about the lowly total. Both batters looked comfortable against the Taverners’ bowling, Howe looking particularly good for his 44 not out. Dodson was out for 18 with the job almost done and it was left to Dean, and the imperturbable Howe, to conclude matters in style.

Fitzwilliam boasts Christopher Martin-Jenkins as one of its cricketing alumni. He narrowly missed out on a blue but captained the Crusaders whilst at Cambridge. Although ‘Fitz’ does not have the vista of say, St Johns or Jesus College grounds, it is a good place to play proper cricket, with a really good wicket and outfield courtesy of Groundsman, David Norman – known to some of us as ‘Billy’. During the afternoon, David (or Billy) was questioned several times by Phillies’ players about his shorts, which had clearly fitted him quite well when he was in his teens – typically, he enjoyed the banter. As for the Führer, he had arrived after the presentation ceremony, the epilogue, and the interviews by Mark Nicholas, to much leg pulling; younger Phillies telling him that we had been bowled out for 69. As a precaution, the Führer was immediately made to sit down with a cup of tea but the pretence finally faded and a broad smile eventually came over our beloved leader’s face.

And so, Highgate started for home, via The Castle pub, where they went through their fines protocols – they were in good heart considering the last game of their tour had lasted only 24.5 overs.

Gerald Coteman

'Rutty the destroyer with his "5 for" match ball'

'The opening pair of Howe & Dodson'

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