The Saturday Cricket Team were beaten by Shepton’s Mallet. TT reports thus:
Having lost their home game against Shepton Mallet in May, the Cowboys’ Saturday XI travelled south across the Mendips on the first weekend in June in anticipation of a tough away fixture. On paper it was a strong team, but would it hold up on grass, in a field at Oakhill?
The sky was heavy and the outfield thick with buttercups and daisies. Despite the drone of distant agricultural machinery it was not the weather for hay making – or losing the toss – and so it was with caution and watchfulness that the Cowboys’ opening pair of DaveB and Angelo strode to the wicket.
The new cherry swerved and bounced awkwardly but tended to die on the occasions that it was stroked off the square. At times the opposition had three slips menacing for an edge. Within half an hour, both batsmen had been bowled and by the time Ben’s resistance had ended in a similar fashion the score was still paltry.
Simon and Ev gradually adjusted to the conditions and change bowlers, lifting the ball – and with it, hopes of a defendable total – towards if not over the boundary. After successfully keeping out good bowling, it was disappointing but perhaps predictable that several batsmen fell to bad balls, unable to snaffle their pies without making a mess and causing their unnecessary demise.
Still, the innings was starting to get some colour in its cheeks, largely thanks to Ev (for whom the boundary markers had been cruelly located to deny him a couple of sixes from lofty blows) aided by Kalu’s positive intent and Gretch’s plucky solidity. Unable to find the boundary himself, your correspondent resorted to giving the opposition catching practice while scampering up and down, eventually finding the middle, of the fielder’s grateful hands.
The tail maintained occupation of the crease until the final over, with Rob not out and promising more, Rich and Joe talking to the ducks and the score on 129.
At tea, on being asked by the skipper to open the bowling, your correspondent stuffed some standard fayre white rolls and muffins aside for later and loosened his truss. Kalu echoed an unorthodox attack from the other end.
The Shepton Mallet opening pair had scored over a hundred against the Cowboys in the season’s earlier encounter and with bowling conditions less favourable than they had been a few hours before, it was going to be a hard task to restrict their cavalier confidence. It might have been an idea to have hidden archers in the woods into which they despatched the unfortunate Kalu in his first and second overs. Sticking to a plan of spin from one end, the skip then brought DaveB into the attack but the young opposition batsmen continued to go aerial.
On the rare occasion that the batsmen made errors in mistiming drives from the other end, the chances proved too tricky to cling onto and although pads were struck and stumps shaved, the longed-for breakthrough wouldn’t come. Rich bowled tidily and got some swing but when he found a top edge, Gretch appeared to step onto an imaginary roundabout from which he emerged with the ball gone to earth. Your correspondent bowled out his eight overs wondering whether the cause might be bettered by another option: We’d be blinkered, apathetic automatons if we didn’t each favour different bowling strategies, but it falls to the skipper to plot the course and sometimes walk the plank.
It wasn’t until late in the day that Joe brought himself and Rob on to bowl, to no avail, as both batsmen cruised past their fifties, overhauling their target in the twenty-third over.
Ev’s innings of 44 deservedly won the majority of Man of the Match nominations and the Cider Moment was either Gretch spinning out, Ev not getting a six, or the moment we drove past the Shepton Mallet cider mill.
There was rain and thus no cricket.