When there have been unprompted comments from both sides that it has been a really good game of cricket, it probably has been.
The battle with Ingogniti was re-joined, in friendly fashion, on a very hot day at the Perse School where skipper, Sir George, won the toss and elected to bat – who wouldn’t have?
The opening pair of Fullarton and Hammond made a solid start, clearly liking the easy pace of the Ingcogniti seam attack, and scored freely. Fullarton, in particular, was very easy on the eye, with a number of silky cover drives. The much-loved cricket commentator, John Arlott, would often compare some of his favourite batsmen to some of his favourite wines, with the descriptors smooth, elegant, full-bodied, and occasionally fruity. Fullarton’s shot making was all of these.
The introduction of spin slowed things down somewhat and led to some misjudgements; Hammond going for a steady 31, Charlie Pearson soon after for 5, and Gill, after a trademark flourish, for 12. Sir George then strode to the wicket in striking headgear, which was later to draw, from one wag, a reference to Worzel.
Things continued to be more challenging with the opposition’s spinners really bowling pretty well, but Fullarton and Pearson senior pressed on with the task. By now it was obvious that the pitch was not at its best, much to Sir George’s obvious chagrin. I suspect there will be words exchanged with the Governors on this topic at some point.
The partnership continued until Sir George departed for 24 and, after a long stay Fullarton was finally out for 68. By then the score was moving on and, with cameo contributions from Rutt and Cox, Philanderers reached the skipper’s declaration target of 200.
Following a leisurely tea, Incogniti’s reply began steadily against the opening pair of Perkins and Campbell before the introduction of Rutt who made the initial breakthrough via a legside ‘strangle’ catch by the effervescent Cox. What then followed was all that you would want from a declaration game of cricket. Philanderers always slightly ahead of the curve but otherwise nip and tuck. Whilst wickets were falling, the opposition were edging closer to the target. All three results were possible.
Coteman’s introduction to the fray produced some attacking bowling with a few dropped catches, some near misses and a good contest between bat and ball before the veteran produced a beauty to dismiss their other opener. Fullarton replaced Coteman and proceeded to make life very difficult for the batting side. He was joined by Campbell who returned to bowl some off-spin. Between them they kept the lid on things and wickets continued to fall, albeit with Incogniti still in with a shout.
Fullarton and Campbell closed the game out with 4-31 and 3-32 respectively. The last wicket to fall was, fittingly, another contribution from Fullarton who pulled off an excellent catch to add to his batting and bowling successes. His was a wonderful contribution to the game and won him Man of the Match – by some distance.
A thoroughly competitive fixture enjoyed by all. And, after a cold shower, a small cohort of Philanderers repaired to the Earl of Derby for the traditional post-match analysis and micky-taking.
PS. Your correspondent was grateful to colleagues throughout the match, and afterwards, for following Government guidance in making sure that the elderly are properly hydrated in this hot weather.
Another outstanding contribution from Alex Fullarton who was Man of the Match by some distance
Skipper Sir George modelling, with great panache, from the new John Lewis range of lampshades whilst awaiting his butler and valet to assist with his disrobing