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The Philanderers v CamCeylon, Sunday 25th June at Babraham

Having been persuaded out of retirement from the beaches of Ibiza your correspondent could have been excused for thinking he was still resident on the Balearic Island as Babraham CC was bathed in 30-degree sunshine with a resident DJ banging out the Sri Lankan-street vibes from a large speaker on the boundary. Was it all just a dream and I would awake on Cala Salada with an ice-cold Estrella to hand. Sadly, reality struck when, after a negotiated toss, the Philanderers found themselves in the field. Some solace that a 35 over match was agreed but it still remained for the best Aussie currently on tour to lather up the factor 50, with a hint of the obligatory “rid”. Trevor had flown in specially, responding to Phil’s emergency cry for troops, nothing to do with spending 5 days in St Johns Wood on a reciprocal from the MCG.

Great to see Jamie Rutt steaming in from the far end for the start of a spell of impeccable line and length. And at the other end George took the new ball and with a not so metronomic variety of guile, differing lines and length he accounted for the lefthanded opener with a full toss which was nailed straight down the throat of a very surprised and shocked Ibiza correspondent. The pre match catching session with Mel immediately proving fruitful. Jamie took out the No 3’s off stump and following a few lusty blows the other opener decided to run himself out for an early tea courtesy of Dodson and Dean. The CamCeylon innings never really got going, despite 14 wides, due to some excellent bowling from the aforementioned duo, together with Ed Pearson, Tom P-T, Nick Cox, Alex Lockie (not keeping due to late arrival and Gill’s need to protect his stitched knees) all contributing. By this time the DJ had been replaced by his daughters and the genre of music changed to I’m a Barbie Girl, Celine Dion and Britney Spears which inspired Ed to actually turn one of his leggies to hit off stump and Rutty to pull off an unbelievable catch at point, diving backwards as the ball appeared to have gone over his head (a la Ben Stokes). After a few late lusty blows the CamCeylon innings concluded with another diving Rutt effort at mid-on. 157 all out. There were a few drops along the way, no names mentioned apart from Trevor who, standing at wide slip to the spinner, appeared to take a diving right-handed blinder but then inadvertently decided to transfer the ball to his left hand. only for it to fall tantalisingly out of reach. Tom P-T took 4-25 but the pick of the bowlers was Jamie Rutt with 7-2-19-1.

We adjourned for tea, delicious Sri Lankan chicken and tuna curries with rice, bread and a selection of sides including a very hot spicy chilli pickle. A definite first, and personally I hope not a last, for the Philanderers.

After some debate and changes to the order, skipper Ed P and Henry Rudkin strode out to the middle. After 5 balls and 8 runs it looked like the pair would make short work of the target but then shock/horror as Ed was cleaned bowled by young Navod. (We do have photographic proof of this, surely a collector’s item, but sadly it is covered by the strict Pearson Group publicity rights). Dodson joined Rudkin in a 42 partnership, mostly young Rudkin (apart from a six over log off from the elder statesman!!) before Henry was deceived by an off spinner that didn’t spin. In strutted Gill to up the scoring rate with some sublime drives through the covers and as the score neared a hundred Dodson having been turned back for a quick single slipped and fell on his thumb in a very inelegant yet successful attempt/scramble/crawl to get back in his ground. Immediately retired hurt this brought two quick wickets, Gill and Aussie Trev both bowled before Nick Cox joined Mel in an unbeaten stand of 65 to steer the team home by 6 wickets. Mel having started with no timing at all began to flow with some serene drives and pulls whilst Nick give a fantastic impression of Kane Wiliamson with every scoring shot behind square on the off (paying the ball so late!!) before a club over wide long ended the game. Mel 38*, Nick 22* and Henry 36 being the main contributions.

The day was rounded off in the early evening sun with a bottle of beer and barbequed spicy Indian sausage, both courtesy of CamCeylon.

A big thank you to Rakesh for standing at both ends all day in that heat and to the CamCeylon team, chefs and supporters who made it a memorable day. Let’s hope they remain on the fixture list in 2024 and beyond.

Ed Dodson

Aussi pro Trevor eagerly awaiting the start of play - unlike Ed!

Delicious Sri Lankan food for tea


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