The great run is dead, long live the next
As ever, Exning Park was a picture, but there was trouble brewing with thunderstorms forecast.
A 30 over contest was agreed, the toss was won and the Flycatchers inserted. The Bristol Alumni (Messrs Davidson and Jelly) bowled with considerable vigour but the visitors started brightly. Rory did strike (1 for 17) but his wicket taking delivery damaged his back and he spent much of the rest of the innings diving forward in the field to avoid bending over - surprisingly effective if most uncomfortable looking.
Dean (1 for 29) and the evergreen Coteman (3 for 20) took over the attack and began to work their way through the Flycatcher order. George with a cunning high full toss that ‘dipped’ and was miscued to short fine leg and Gerald bowling full and straight to great effect.
The Flycatchers number three cast an imposing figure like the fearsome blacksmith of legend who strode to the wicket, tightened his belt against his considerable girth and proceeded to strike the ball into the far distance in all directions. Unexpectedly, our giant opponent proved to be a gentler soul who was caught meekly top edging off Gerald to your grateful scribe for the day.
Urged on by members of his team, the skipper then showed far too graphically why his retirement was the only humane course. He bowled comfortably his worst and most expensive over ever for the Club. To the credit of the new batsman, he did strike the series of filthy high full tosses very sweetly to and over the square leg boundary. The aforementioned, a fellow named Scammell (perhaps, he does produce tank transporters when not playing cricket), went on to score an undefeated 53 with some panache.
Even he, however, was forced back into his shell by the introduction of Fullarton. Delivering five overs of accurate and fiercely spun orthodox left arm, Alex was both economical and threatening (2 for 17). He was ably supported by a short spell from Pearson C (2 for 9). Quite suddenly the opposition were heading for the pavilion, 161 all out in 28 overs.
By now, peels of thunder were becoming louder and more frequent, the wind was rising and skies darkening. What should happen next; an immediate start to our innings; a curtailed tea - all academic, the rain started and we settled into to a very fine spread provided by Phil’s daughter Katie (many thanks).
Was it all over? Should we all adjourn to the bar operating courtesy of a generator in the absence of mains power? But no, Wayne the groundsman was on hand to encourage further action. His weather radar suggested that we had about 40 mins between what had proved to be a brief shower and the main bank of rain heading in from the south.
After some negotiation and considerable generosity from the Philanderers captain a target of 90 in 12 overs was agreed.
Arriving almost direct from A&E after a nasty bike crash, the irrepressible and almost unhealthily brave Gill opened with our international (England Over 60s) Gadsby. Rob’s stay could not have been briefer (you can work out what that means) but we were all very grateful to him for playing and admired his near total disregard for pain.
The growing crowd was then treated to four sumptuous drives from Pearson E and shots all around the wicket from the apparently ageless Nigel. We were up with the rate and looked in full control. Unfortunately, this was cricket and the departures of Ed (23), Alex and then Nigel (33) exposed what might have been the longest tail of the season.
The skipper, a mere shadow of his former self, a rusty Charlie and a very self-deprecating Tom all tried but ultimately failed as we fell 13 short of the target.
Rory was unfit to bat, the now rarely sighted but particularly welcome Beddoe very happy not to bat and Messrs Dean and Coteman held in reserve but ultimately not required.
The undefeated run was over but Stokes and McCullum would have been proud to have been there (although reportedly busy elsewhere).
On his retirement it would be remiss of me not to mention George’s immense contribution to the club during a period exceeding thirty years. He’s in the top half dozen or so for runs scored, wickets taken, catches held and appearances made. George part holds 2 club record wicket partnerships, has a career best bowling analysis of 7 wickets for 11 runs and is one of only 2 members to bowl more than 20 consecutive overs throughout a complete innings. He expertly captained the team on many occasions and always set the standard for fair play and enjoyment yet with a subtle steely edge. In other words, George was the ultimate all-rounder and a wonderful club man. I am exceedingly grateful for his contribution. Thanks George – The Fuhrer.