The Friendly Team beat Frenchay again.
Midsomer Norton 3rd XI v Easton Cowboys Saturday XI
As your correspondent left the house on Saturday morning, Geoff Boycott was on the radio wittering on about how cricketers have their favourite grounds where they always seems to perform well – hokum, hogwash and superstition of course, yet it was hard to forget having scored a maiden fifty at Midsomer Norton last summer, as we crawled along in the traffic jam out of the city on another Mendip jaunt.
Joe won the toss on a muggy, overcast afternoon and opened the bowling, more panther than rabbit in his smooth approach and delivery, yet still wicketless after his opening salvo. RobT hopped in from the other end, on the button from the start, making the opposition work for every run.
Disappointingly, despite good efforts, four catches went down in the first ten overs and although the score was well pegged back, the opening batsmen prevailed until Rob made the breakthrough, trapping one of the openers LBW.
There followed a sixty run partnership for the second wicket and although the run rate seldom got above three an over, with wickets in hand, the opposition had built a foundation for a solid total.
Ev replaced Joe from one end and kept things remarkably tight while RobT bowled out his eight overs and gave the ball to Garner, who finally got the second wicket a few overs after the drinks break by bowling the No.3 batsman. Your correspondent replaced Ev and struggled to stop the runs leaking until a straight one kept low and he bowled the remaining opening batsman.
Shortly afterwards, the captain was heard to tell your correspondent that he was going to pull him off and in the shadow of a double entendre he took the ball for another spell. It was round about now that the batsman smashed the ball hard at Ev, whose hands only served to funnel the ball into his groin. As he regained his composure, the umpire enquired whether there was one ball left and another Cider Moment was born.
In his final over, Garner clean bowled another batsman to have the opposition foundation a bit cracked at 96-4 with eight overs remaining. Your correspondent returned for a spell from the other end and as Midsomer Norton hit out, Ev reached high for the sky and plucked down a ball that was destined for the boundary with his Inspector Gadget, Cider Moment nominated hand. Their skipper was the next to go, bowled by a fuller ball, but then as Ev returned for a spell from the other end and tied the batsmen down, the tail wagged and thrashed a little, taking eleven runs from your correspondent’s penultimate over, for which there would be retribution, once Ev had taken a wicket in his final over to put the score on 125-7.
Hands up who likes bowling the last over of an innings? They’re usually a bit of a challenge and sometimes quite eventful. The third ball of the over was mishit (if you read the word another way, it’s still quite accurate) and Grover, blinded by the sun, miraculously clapped hands when the ball arrived in them: 133-8. The batsmen had crossed, the one now on strike had only previously played one scoring shot, hitting Ev for six. He got a thick ballooning edge on the next ball, which looped in Iggy’s proximity at slip and as the bowler barked and beseeched, Ian duly obliged and took a great catch at full stretch.
The guttural bovine celebrations for a five wicket haul were met with both incredulity and congratulations, somewhat overshadowing the arrival of the diminutive last man at the crease and another little matter. The field came in but it hadn’t dawned on most, including the bowler, what special opportunity that the next ball presented, but when it passed the bat and hit the stumps someone was alert enough to notice that it was not only the end of the innings but a hat-trick.
Besides the accuracy of all the bowlers and Gretch’s blemishless record behind the stumps, the long grass in the outfield had taken the momentum out of the ball and restricted the runs considerably. 134 was an achievable target, but only if a few batsmen were prepared to stick around or go over the top.
Back at the main clubhouse, next to the picture perfect wicket, the tea table groaned under the weight of all manner of fayre. Some were too thirsty to wait for the tea to brew for long enough, others got absorbed in the Test match on the telly.
Ev and Grover opened up, safely negotiating half a dozen overs of tidy bowling from left armers until umpire RobT was convinced that Ev had snicked a ball that he hadn’t and upheld the hopeful appeal. The score crept along slowly, assisted from the outset by a smattering of wides. The long grass was no help to BenP who often played fine shots for little or no reward. When he eventually tried going over the top of mid-on the fielder made a good backwards tumbling catch: After twenty overs, the score of 53 was identical to the opposition’s at the same stage, for the loss of one more wicket.
Alan got his heed down well and tore up and down the wicket, taking Grover along for the ride and making him dive for the line. They both occupied the crease, nudged the score along and sent fielders chasing until Grover was bowled for a valuable 27 and Alan was executed in a similar manner in the bowler’s following over: 74-4 in the 28th over, sixty runs to get in twelve overs.
Enter first Iggy, then Kalu. With that much power under the bonnet, would something blow? The pair exercised restraint, surviving a few near misses and initially making do with singles and well run twos. The required run rate still hovered at around five an over, with eight overs to go and five remaining batsmen not at all sure whether they’d be called upon.
On reaching double figures, Kalu had played in the long grass for long enough and went aerial, clearing the boundary ropes for maximum points. Iggy found the boundary too, missed the fielders and struck powerful blows to silence the home supporters. The previously economical opening bowlers returned to have their figures spoilt, Kalu lofting a seemingly effortless six over long-on, which later earned him Cider Moment nominations, scattering the field to make more singles and twos possible.
The 36th over went for ten runs and it was all over, the glory and crowning moment only slightly spoilt by an elderly gentleman driving his car straight through the victorious batsmen and other cricketers as they attempted to leave the field of play.
Kalu rightly received Man of the Match nominations for his accelerated approach, scoring 36 not out from 26 balls and joining Iggy for a sixty run partnership in less than eight overs, but some chancer who got a hat-trick he didn’t know about, six wickets and a fine for exceeding four runs per over ran away with the Man of the Match award at Midsomer Norton for the second year in a row. What was Boycott saying?
I have to add that I think TT has been a little too kind to Ev regarding his dropped catch. Basically Ev missed a straight forward catch at waist height that left him pole-axed on the floor clutching at Baggy Cerise in agony for about 10 minutes. With a hat-trick from TT and two magnificent sixes from Kahlu the magnitude of this incident can be gauged by the fact that it won the Cider Moment.
The Sunday 1st Team lost to Bear Flat by 4 wickets. The only match report that has been files goes thus:
Bear Flat won the toss, game over.
They went back to The Plough for flat beer. For more information the scorecard is here.
The Sunday 2nd Team lost to Peasdown St John by 140 runs. Nothing has been written about this but you can see the scorecard here.