A Return to Former Glories
The wire was down between Easton and Oldbury Court and so this repost has only just filtered through.
The Sunday 1st Team beat Bristol Banglideshis by 2 wickets. The full score card is here. Dunce reports thus:
Oldbury Court, a vista of newly foliated trees atop which sit such beauties as the great spotted woodpecker. Gleeful children capering and frollicking around the swing park, their parents looking on with loving gaze. This is the backdrop to the hummocky cricket pitch that still, gladly, takes up a tiny part of our council tax. We muse, whilst changing outside the still locked changing rooms, upon days gone by. Mark’s century for example, and the game back in time when an ill advised young woman was seen appearing from the woods entirely naked, presumably dared into a streak by so called friends, before bottling it within yards of the start.
But enough of dim and distant past, and onto the recent history involving the Sunday 1st team and Bristol Bangladeshis. Fielding first on this municipal pitch is commonly a must, particularly as our side perhaps boasts a little more bowling talent than batting. Overhead conditions are highly conducive to movement and move the ball did. Omar grazed the first of the lacquer from the new cherry, and a blast from the past in the form of yours truly opened form the opposite end with immediate if perhaps unwarranted effect. Dodgy LBW off a probable inside edge. There was a tiny, timid call to withdraw the appeal, but it was treated as a joke.
The Bangladeshis second pairing put on a slow steady partnership. One batsman seemed to be the type we didn’t need out as keeping him on strike would probably have won us the game. But that’s not the spirit, and when Rob and Martin replaced Duncan and Omar respectively, wickets began to fall. The run rate stayed low as Martin, excited by the helpful movement this green strip, bowled an inspired spell of success and near misses.
Catches were maybe showing signs of winning matches. Rob was hostile and super economical. During these spells, the square leg umpire was most unceremoniously struck in the nether-regions by a vicious pull shot. As luck, planning, or even providence would have it, he was actually wearing a box.
Cider I up, Landlord!!
Eventually, a batsman with some talent to match his desire for aggression came to the crease, somewhat denting the hitherto lustrous armour of Sir Stratto. Andy bowled a four over spell, chipping in with a wicket, and when Rob returned, he dismissed the flashing blade. The opposition were reduced to 107 all out with the aid of a tasty run out by Angelo and a return wicket for Omar. Very importantly, Jeff’s return to duties behind the timbers had left the scorebook utterly devoid of byes. That is rare and most welcome indeed. All in all, the Cowboys had done a good job with helpful tools. But we still had to bat on this bowler friendly greensward.
Tea was unspectacular and almost entirely without note. Tuneless. Maybe even tunaless. A dolphin-friendly tea, gratefully received in the generous spirit in which it was provided.
Time for the Cowboy openers to bat, and avoid any cunning Bangladeshi comeback. Bolts and Justin were slow and watchful as a succession of wides and byes cut into the target from the start. Initially Justin hogged the strike, Bolts got in on the act, then out on 4 from 28 balls. Enter Mark, whose skill as a wily opener was more than useful. Dogged defense, pushes and cuts from him were only momentarily augmented by a 2 ball, 2 run cameo from l’il old moi, Justin’s demise for a useful 12 being immediately prior. Angelo at number five, very hungry for 2012 cricket.
Bodes well. But would this tricky pitch and increasingly tense situation be to his liking. It seemed that way, as he and Mark put the defining partnership together, Angelo providing some impetus with the bat to go alongside Mark’s steadiness and Jonnie Extra’s impatient additions.
We were a little over halfway by the halfway drinks. Soon however, Angelo and Mark were bowled and caught out respectively. Rob didn’t trouble the scorers. Myself and the eversure Erica were troubled enough with all those dots and crosses. Dramatis personae now included Andy. He appeared grimly determined, which is a good sign. Omar was as usual, cool. He smacked his first ball for a boundary. This is becoming a paradoxical occurrence which we must now assume is the correct way for cross-handed batsmen to play themselves in. The nerves were jangling, Neil replacing chain-smoking with umpiring to calm his down. Omar returned abashed to the hutch. Poor bunny! Deano, the responsibility of vice captaincy etched heavily upon his brow, kept one end defended until an act of aggression saw him caught at backward square leg for nowt.
Oh gosh! Would it be cometh the hour, cometh the Stratton?
Standing in the way of such ‘Roy of the Rovers’ script fulfillment are Jeff and a remarkably staunch Andy, still at the crease. Plenty of overs left, defensive nudges and well timed pushes finally put the scores level. Fittingly, Andy Chester skillfully prodded through an offside gap to gather a match-clinching single and spare us all from the super cacophony of nerve clanging to which Martin’s batting may have served as a perfect clapper.
Well played therefore Andy 13 not out, Rob with 3 for 7, Martin with 3 for 43, Mark 14, Angelo 18, Justin 12 and crucially Jeff without byes. This last statistic alone proved to make a difference of 20 runs. Many thanks to Bristol Bangladeshis who were totally up for it and played the game with spirit and gave us a potential cider moment to giggle about.