"And of THAT district I prefer
The lovely hamlet Grantchester." - Rupert Brooke, The Old Vicarage, Grantchester (1912)
Don’t you just get tired of match correspondents writing loads of useless prose in the hope of catching the judge’s eye in the Best Written Match Report of the Year Competition?
Rupert Brooke’s association with, and attachment to, Grantchester is well known and he continues:
"For Cambridge people rarely smile,
Being urban, squat, and packed with guile;"
Well I can’t comment on that but we realised, at once, that we were on hallowed ground in this idyllic spot bordered by the river, The Orchard Tea Rooms, meadowland and the Archers (the Lord and Lady variety).
Winning the toss, Pearson senior opted to bowl, confident that the mixture of youth and experience at his disposal could keep things tidy and then chase down the resulting total.
The two youngsters, Tilbury and Roebuck opened up with good pace; the latter grabbing an early wicket with a quick, darting delivery – Grantchester 5 for 1. Thereafter, the pretty steady bowling continued to constrain the home team – Coteman 1-15, Ragnauth 1-25 (including a fine caught and bowled tumbling backwards), and Campbell in off-spin mode, 1-22.
The long awaited return of the legendary Gill to the Philanderers’ side was marked by a mis-field off the grumpy Coteman, leading the Club doctor to wonder if the Gill thumb was yet ready for this kind of exposure. But any doubts were soon allayed when the prodigal son caught a fiercely hit drive at deepish mid-off without so much as a wince.
At the end of their twenty overs Grantchester had scored 118 for the loss of 4 wickets.
The returning Gill couldn’t wait to get cracking with the bat and he joined Charlie Pearson to begin the Phillies’ assault on the modest total – the former in typically marauding fashion, and the latter slightly more watchful. So back to the poet:
"Ah God! to see the branches stir
Across the moon at Grantchester!"
Well, the moon wasn’t quite up but the branches certainly began to stir as Gill plundered the bowling into the woods at the Archers’ end and the blackberry bushes at the other – eight fours and three sixes and only three singles later the lad retired on reaching 50 (53 actually), which I gather is the protocol for some of these matches. He was replaced by the ever-ready Pimblett who set about the bowling with purpose.
Pearson’s demise for 3, brought in the reliable Cox who started with respect but soon unleashed a terminator period and finished with a quick-fire 33. Cox and Pimblett (25) had won the game in style and the Phillies had triumphed by 9 wickets. So, with the evening drawing to a close, it was fitting to return to the poet:
"Is sunset still a golden sea
From Haslingfield to Madingley?"
Well it certainly was, as some of us dropped into the Blue Ball to toast the Führer’s health.
'Jane scoring whilst being assisted by Campbell and adjudicated by Pimblett'
'Although the dress code was optional we suspect that Charlie Pearson had turned up a week late for the "Rock by the River" concert'