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The Philanderers v Flycatchers, Sunday 20th June at Exning Park

The Philanderers’ 2021 fixture against the familiar Flycatchers will live long in the history of the club but not in the memory.

The new electronic scoreboard, at the Philanderer’s erstwhile home ground Exning & Burwell CC, was resplendent with the Philanderers’ logo and written thanks for the club’s contribution.

Can there be a more definitive step towards becoming a “proper” club with a physical presence? Perhaps the much-discussed bronze statue of Phil Harvey is soon to follow.

More notably, the match itself was the Philanderers' 50th since its last Sunday defeat in 2015. Accusations that the club has taken to “parking the bus” or “rigging the games” were ringing in the ears of the skipper on the day, who gambled on a 40/40 win/lose format, putting the record at risk. The last time the Philanderers had lost was at the hands of the Flycatchers.

Flycatchers won the toss and took the field in dark drizzle. The Philanderers' opening pair faced some initially hostile fast bowling but soon became comfortable, with Mel Ragnauth (56) the first wicket to fall with his partner Hammond on 77 and the opening partnership worth 172 after just 23 overs.

Mihir was next to the crease clearly “with licence” and proceeded to play an unbelievable array of attacking shots all around the ground, perhaps his most savage innings in pink & blue, ending on 88* from 39 balls. Hammond had retired on 100*, adding yet another ton to an already superlative season, with Dean middling a few down the ground at the end for 4*.

The Philanderers declared (causing general confusion) after 35 overs having scored 295-1, a very dominant batting display in the gloom.

The Flycatchers opened up against the Philanderers’ tearaway opening attack of Perkins (5-0-35-1) and Doel (5-0-29-0), who both bowled quickly but waywardly, with Perkins’ wicket and edge very well caught at gully by Gimson. Even after the first 10 overs it was hard to see how the Flycatchers could get back on the rate, and with the change bowlers of Cross (7-1-25-0) and Gimson (7-0-30-1) turning the screw, the Flycatchers began to take some suicidal runs and suffered 3 run outs with one batsman attempting to barbecue both his captain and his dad.

As the game meandered on and the light closed in, the spin combination of Davidson (8-1-26-2) and Dean (5-0-35-1) got the over rate back up as the Flycatchers looked less and less likely to get close to the total. Wrighty finished up the 40 overs with a tight spell of 3-0-15-0 and the Flycatchers ended on 198-8, losing the game by 97 runs.

50 games unbeaten. Who would have thought it. That same evening the news went out on the club’s email list, garnering increasingly inebriated and incomprehensible responses from the elder statesmen (Jon “Bishan” Bailey seemed particularly addled) but the warm camaraderie that is the hallmark of the Philanderers was clear for all to see. Well done.

Rory Davidson

The Philanderers CC at last has a physical presence


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