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The Philanderers v Frogs, Sunday 2nd June at Exning Park

“This is the kind of game we play for,” said one opposition player as the game ended with handshakes and beaming smiles, and he cited his experience in a league match the day before where a 17-year-old Asian player had been verbally and racially abused by the other team as the type of cricket we definitely don’t want to be a part of!

Indeed, this brand of cricket brings out the best in everyone; fairness, camaraderie, making new friends, competition, tight finishes, not to mention proper teas. And a return to the delightful Exning Park helped, in many ways, to clear away the winter blues, brought on by some challenging discussions about the direction of travel for HMS Philanderers.

Debuts for Emma Ridley and Raju Devendran were marked by a warm welcome from a now familiar, in some cases mature, looking core segment of the playing squad.

Winning the toss and opting to bat, Frogs were soon in trouble and 39 for 3 became 73 for 4 but coming in at number 5 the young Marshall had a plan to restore his team’s fortunes and did so with elegance and at a good run rate. In truth it was pretty well the Marshall show and he finished with 126, finally mis-timing a reverse sweep and popping a dolly up to the persistent Davidson. The Philanderers bowling had been mostly tight with Raju on debut taking 1 for 24 off six overs, the ever- dependable Pardess 1 for 20 off six, and the veteran Coteman 1 for 19 off six, including an excellent catch by the ubiquitous Chandraker. Davidson finished with two wickets and Pearson one. The latter had spent some time in the yonder field retrieving balls hit over the short boundary and avoiding a predatory bull but was none the worse for his endeavours.

Finally, after 41 overs, the declaration came leaving Phillies chasing 227 for the win.

After another excellent tea, taken al fresco in the beautiful sunshine, Chandraker and Pearson got the second half underway, and this passage of play was an absolute delight. Most of us sat back to enjoy a thoroughly entertaining performance as the two openers steered the score to 104 before Chandraker was caught for 57. Ragnauth joined Pearson and kept the pressure on the Frogs bowling with some attacking and innovative play. When Ragnauth was out for 40 it was Rutt who strode to the wicket, unaccustomed to the dizzy heights of number 4 – on advice from the Club Physician he had not bowled in order to protect an annoying side strain and skipper Davidson had pushed him up the order.

When Pearson finally departed for 54 the complexion of the game started to change as Pimblett (didn’t he retire?) came and went followed by Pardess who rattled the Frogs’ cage for a cameo 16, including a lovely straight six. Devendran went for 6 and Davidson for a battling 10. With the best part of 30 still required and only a couple of overs left the strategy turned to survival mode. Debutant, Emma Ridley, who had worked hard in the field and bowled some good deliveries came out to face the Frogs’ opening quick who had just returned to the fray and found him too much of a handful, which brought Coteman to the wicket to successfully defend the final ball of the over. That left Dean to face the last over of the match at the other end, which he did with aplomb; match drawn.

By common consent, this was a splendid game, thoroughly enjoyed by both teams. Why more people do not want to play this brand of cricket is a complete mystery.

Gerald Coteman

'The team in the afterglow of the draw'

''Rutt, being mentored by Pimblett on his promotion to No. 4 in the batting order'


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