Covid has made us use our cars in a different way - the back seats, once the refuge of aged aunts or for the imprisonment of noisy children on family holiday trips to Cornwall, have now been given over to unwashed cricket kit, as players race to change by their vehicles as play is about to start. Those more prudish members come ready changed, as we used to do for primary school cricket. The dressing room is sorely missed by many, not just for the traditional banter, but by those whose haste results in cricket apparel and under garments being put on the wrong way round or inside out. These sartorial malfunctions notwithstanding the Phillies' first midweek fixture of 2021 got underway against the always competitive Remnants side and under the ever-reliable leadership of Pearson senior.
Austerity has decreed that the Club doctor no longer attends matches which, in view of the long Philanderers’ injury list, is a misplaced economy in my view. Despite this the group of players, resembling a GP’s waiting room, eventually took to the field.
Fitzwilliam is a good place to play cricket - not Chesterfield or New Road Worcester, but reliable with a good track and outfield and an affable groundsman in Billy Norman.
In a match comprising 14 x 8-ball overs per side, the opening salvos for the Phillies were fired by Charlie Pearson from the Huntingdon Road end and Alex Carew from the old allotment end; both a little rusty but mostly steady. The opening bowlers were then replaced by that youthful pairing of Coteman and Burnett. The Remnants’ Chris Badger looked the part until Coteman had him stumped by the dynamic Howe; he departed for 40. At the other end Young spent the entire 14 overs making 22, having been dropped off Coteman (who bowled a tidy spell) and constantly hitting the ball in the air where the fielders weren’t. Williams hit a few lusty blows before being bowled by the skipper for 25 and there is little else to say about the Remnants’ innings which finished on 122 for 2 after 20 overs.
In reply Ragnauth and Leary provided a good platform with 18 and 23 respectively before departing. Gill, Howe and Ed Pearson, the latter to one of several good catches in the deep, then all departed cheaply. This left lots of work to be done and the skipper decided that he should take responsibility for the restoration. Partnering Carew (20 not out) he saw the Phillies home and finished 40 not out with a couple of overs to spare. Needless to say, he was given a hero’s return to the pavilion and the Fuhrer, whose face had been ashen at 60 for 5, beamed as only he can.
Pimblett, who kindly turned up to support and score, put the finishing touches to the record book and another Phillies’ victory was complete.
Not to be outmanoeuvred by continuing Covid restrictions, Billy Norman promptly erected a ‘pop up’ pub in front of the pavilion on a table that looked as if it had come from Ena Sharples’ kitchen in an early episode of Coronation Street. The atmosphere was convivial and both teams enjoyed good humoured post-match exchanges.
As darkness fell, most had departed although there was just time for Pimblett to chair an impromptu discussion on the dimensions of a football pitch - what a wonderful asset to the Club this man is!
The hero of the hour and Man of the Match - skipper, George Pearson.
PS – note the ‘pop up’ pub in the background.
Pimblett explains the finer points of the LBW law to an avid student of the game whilst, in the background, the umpire searches in vain for his ice cream van.
Watching proceedings unfold
The Covid era back-seat phenomenon!