Having read through previous (excellent and lyrical) 2022 match reports I hurried away to the library to brush up on my classics (this particular cupboard has always been rather bare) and all things literary; the aim being to match the earlier style and eloquence of Dillon and Dean. But, alas, I have fallen short, and hereby submit a simple report in the role of the rural affairs correspondent.
Rural it certainly was. The bucolic setting of Exning Park has few peers and the sharply anticipated match between old ‘foes’ got underway in warm weather and with mutual good humour. The prospect of having proper teas (quite a rarity these days) added to the bonhomie one felt. Our umpires were the much-revered team of Rakesh Chandraker & Christopher Dean.
Of course, the Sunday record was still at stake and Sir George, accordingly, decided to chase, having won the toss. A lively opening bowling attack of Perkins from the pavilion end, and Karsten from, well, the other end, kept a lid on things and snatched two early wickets. Banks senior (one of four members of the family playing on the day) was bowled by Karsten for 1 but was quickly consoled by his son, batting at the other end, with the affectionate words, “bad luck Dad.” When batting with my own son I can only remember him castigating me for going back when I should have gone forward. We now live in more enlightened and compassionate times, I guess.
Subsequently, the Flycatchers’ Kirby was hitting everyone for big runs, and some catches went down. Those who spilt chances are asked to donate to this year’s Philanderers charity to avoid being named and shamed – I am no McCarthy! Then Coteman, sporting new boots (why at his age would you buy new boots?), was suffering some of the same treatment when he deployed the double bluff as Kirby went to reverse sweep and was bowled. Kirby was out for a well-made 77.
During Flycatchers’ heavy scoring period Sir George sustained a dislocation of one of his fingers. With no club doctor available (due to austerity cuts) he tried in vain to relocate the joint but had to admit defeat and ultimately trudged off to A&E - given the NHS backlog he might easily still be there.
Philanderers felt they had control at 144 for 7 but a late 60 not out by the Flycatchers’ number nine, Quantrill, took them to respectability when the tenth wicket fell at 233. Holmes had produced a good spell and finished with 2 for 29
The aforementioned tea ticked all the boxes and was taken at leisure before the umpires decided that play should resume. With plenty of cake left, those batting lower down the order took full advantage and continued to chomp away.
Opening up in response Fullarton and Lockie (who had kept wicket pretty well) looked comfortable when the latter was out for 18 (including a 6 making a hole in the Pavilion roof) with the score at 41. The rest of the story is one of carnage courtesy of the belligerence that is Gill and the silky style that is Fullarton. It was really good to watch, and one felt that Flycatchers had submitted early on in the Philanderers’ reply, as their body language increasing had a lackluster look about it.
Gill 92, and Fullarton 81, both unbeaten, comfortably took us to a comprehensive nine-wicket win. Sadly, this unbroken 2nd wicket partnership fell just one run short of the club record held by Pelham & Sir George from a bygone age, well since 1999 to be exact.
Our thanks to the scorer, a Mr. Fraser, who kept both books going for most of the match.
And so, the amazing Sunday record remains intact. Who dares to predict when, or if, it will fall, and, if it does, what the consequences might be?
Rob Gill & Alex Fullarton after their scintillating unbroken 2nd wicket partnership