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The Philanderers v Refreshers, Sunday 4th September at Exning Park

The Philanderers' much vaunted youth policy lay in tatters for the second game running as the mature team for this fixture came together for rigorous pre-match training, followed by an inspirational team briefing at Exning Park. Although at one point in the game the aggregate age of the Philanderers’ two bowlers hit 140, there is no need to panic or despair, little good it will do you anyway.

Philanderers were up against the Refreshers, a friendly group of barristers, or is there a collective noun for such a cohort, an advocacy perhaps?

Batting first, the barristers were always on the back foot and mostly outfoxed - definitely not what you want from your brief if you're up on a murder charge. But these days, with many of them on strike, you take what you can get.

The game had got underway with the Phillies three short; Dillon, Hammond, and Davidson travelling back late and exasperated from the final Tory leadership hustings.

In the interregnum the debutant, Satyajit, was sharing the old ball with the irrepressible Dean - old ball because skipper Pearson senior was holding the new ball in abeyance pending the arrival of his secret weapon - the potential game changer, Davidson.

The lost trio duly arrived to add verve and youth to the Philanderers line up, with Hammond taking a good catch at slip. Pressure was mounting on the barristers who, at this point, must have been hoping for an adjournment. Davidson, with extravagant swing, and the dependable Dean, continued to make life difficult for the batting side.

And it was Dean who emerged from the shade of the horse chestnut trees at the far end to take a breathtaking catch off the bowling of Davidson, which set the tone for what was to come.

At this point Coteman, keen to send yet another reminder to the selectors, was introduced, heralding another of his famous match ups, where the bowler gives the batsman a stare at the least indiscretion, or cross-batted shot. One could just imagine a courtroom stand-off between the defence and prosecuting counsels. Coteman duly tempted the Refreshers’ No. 5 into a false shot and Satyajit took a good catch running back.

Hegarty, promoted from white ball exile, was then tactically introduced, and a further wicket was bagged. This was followed by another sharp catch off Coteman, this time by the industrious Wright behind the stumps - it was good to see Will in the team, but we could have given the lad less to do down the leg-side!

Refreshers were finally bowled out for 149, which heralded tea. Hammond had taken another blinding catch and Dillon a good low one at slip, whilst Dean and Davidson had been the mainstay of the attack with 3-37 and 3-23 respectively.

It was nice to see some of our Elders at the ground in support, including Geoff Miller, John Burnett, and Rob Hammond. It was particularly good to see John back to fitness, whilst Rob, on the pretext of coming to watch his son bat, was caught with a cup of tea and a chocolate brownie left over from the players’ hamper.

Young Hammond was sublime as Philanderers set about the legal eagles below par score, with shots all around the wicket. So prolific was he that Ragnauth was content to look on from the other end and respond to the odd call for a run - most balls went to the boundary.

The partnership continued to well over one hundred before Hammond was retired, inexplicably, on 89. Gill and Dillon came and went very quickly, and it was left to Ragnauth, who was out on 40, and the dependable Wright to see Philanderers over the non-too challenging finishing line. Satyajit was also there at the end, one not out and was the only member of the side to take a wicket, a catch and score a run - a decent debut!

Refreshers were an amiable bunch who expressed themselves totally happy with their day out and vowed to take up the case on appeal next year - on the field rather than in court!

Many thanks to Christopher Dean who umpired with his usual skill and good humour.

The postscript to this report is that Philanderers are now unbeaten on a Sunday in 61 consecutive games - this status it seems is no longer of interest to the media but our fall, if it comes, may well be headline news.

Gerald Coteman

The swashbuckling Hammond with a well-earned ‘refresher’

The team dugout had a relaxed feel to it!


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