Mallards v Genetics April 19 @ Riding Mill

The start of a new season what glory awaits!

With the scars of last season’s losses more or less healed there was a great turnout for Mallards, even the possibility for some friendly fire as is common in the Jon Rob cup. The clear skies to the east promised a win whilst the dark cloudy west foretold a return to form and in the middle of all this the Mallards, Genetics and Riding Mill.

Some new additions to the team that flipped the student to professor ratio on its head which scared the living daylights out of the Mallards establishment.

In a desperate attempt to win the Friendly Fire award early in the season Stig defected to the opposing side with admirable ferocity; I am sure this will not go unnoticed by the fanbase of the MCC. The Mallards took to the field getting back to grips with the concept of “Mallardian cricket” which to the untrained eye looked identical to the outside of a pub after closing time. Nevertheless, an excited skipper (Latif) commanded his small force with Napoleonic flare, positioning them around the field with tactics scribbled onto paper from the car ride over. When the batsmen finally took to the square, they were faced with ahardened group of cricketers that resembled the great Imperial Guard (of the coalition wars).

The turncoat, Stig, was eager to draw first blood.  However, his partner (Bully) was first caught out for a duck with a beautiful sliding catch by Wilson younger from the bowling of Cleaver. After two consecutive fours by Stig, he was brought down by his former teammate Holland (S) with a ball that gracefully soared past the defences of the batsman, who was seemingly playing twister at the crease.

More singles and fours came with Nitsch dodging multiple chances o from two unusual drops by Latif and Wilson the younger (obviously) until the latter redeemed his failure with a second catch this time from the bowling of Scott, who performed marvellously in his long-awaited return to the Mallards after three long years out.

Despite the skilful manoeuvring by the skipper Taylor (D) remained at the crease until Latif decided it was time for the fielding partners (Latif and Wilson the younger) to become bowling partners. In two overs three batsmen met their maker. Firstly, a bowl from Wilson  led to the dispatch of Taylor back to the pavilion thanks to a clean catch from Collins. Then a steepling hit from Bennet off Latif meant that a safe pair of hands was required. The hands that emerged from the outfield were that of Wilson the younger (again) who after disposing of his headwear during the descent of the ball safely collected his hat-trick catch. Shortly after  a straight ball from Wilson dispatched yet another Genetics player.

However, as the clouds spread over the slopes of  Riding Mill and the sun began to set, the Mallards’ chance to keep the Jon Rob Cup for more than 6 months disappeared when Richardson stepped out of the pavilion . Now what occurred next I cannot write in too much detail as it would upset our readership. All that must be known is that a bobble hat should not be worn amongst Mallards to avoid any resurfacing of traumatic memories relating to those overs.

Fourteen balls later Richardson retired on 31. Amidst this slaughter a safe catch from Dhillon off Latif sent Dobson back to the pavilion with a duck. The partnership of Laverick and Bell saw out the remaining overs as Genetics ended on 143-7.

The sun was going down so the turnaround needed to be quick with Collins and Dhillon opening the batting. Collins seemingly was not ready to give up on the Jon Rob cup making runs right out of the gate.

Dhillon hit a marvellous four before returning to the clubhouse  LBW. Batt came and went taking a duck with him.  Collins continued making fours and runs with an unusual partner Wilson (the older) who shared Collins’ ideas and scored 10 before being caught out. Collins then retired being replaced by Standring . Latif then showed the remaining batsmen something to live up to by ending with 20 not out. Standring was replaced by Edge who arrived and departed in a very similar manner to his university classmate, also leaving with a duck. Then Holland (S) partnered Latif  until the end of the final over, leaving Mallards at 111-5, a loss by 32 runs.

In the end the Mallards may have lost, but we all know that is not the point of this fixture.  It is to remember a true member of our club. As the sun went down both teams toasted the benches at the far end of the ground and the trophy was passed over.

A friendly match to remember the late, great Jon.