MCC v Riding Mill 8 May 2013 @ Riding Mill

Match Reporter: Colin Haylock

Mallards snatch ignominious defeat from jaws of mere defeat in “W” rated horror show against Riding Mill Village.

The headline says it all – those of a delicate disposition should read no further.

On a night of great cricketing innovation (18 overs at 12 a side) at a fortunately sparsely supported Estadio Riding Mill the Mallards surpassed themselves in a display of epic Mallardian incompetence which took its cues from the Geordie generosity offered to the visitors from Liverpool at St James Park last weekend.

Was it vaunting self-confidence from an unfamiliar early season win in the previous game, or the stress of travelling to their first away fixture of the year (having to cross the pavilion to the unfamiliar away dressing room) that prompted such a wonderous performance from before the first ball to the close of play?

Riding Mill’s captain returned from the toss and announced to his team that they were batting first in the best of the light as they had hoped. Congratulated on winning the toss he revealed he’d actually lost it !

From this doubtful platform the Mallards built in spectacular style spurning one potential further cricketing innovation – a retirement figure for extras.

P Terry and Nitsch opened for the Village and Browne and Dunhill for the Mallards. Browne established early a part of the tone of the Mallards performance – two wides in his first over – but untypically wasn’t conceding runs off the bat. Dunhill bowling tightly by the standards of the day was rewarded by the wicket of Nitsch in his second over leaving the Village on 15 for 1 in the 4th over. This brought Jonny Bennett to the crease to visit his particular brand of mayhem and push the score along with the only 6 of the game.

Six overs in and all to play for with the Village restricted to 28 for 1 and impressive figures for Dunhill of 1 for 19 and a positively miserly 0 for 7 for Browne.

The first change brought Heslop and Mexter into the fray — after a generous first over Heslop tightened things up in his second, which conceded only one run and a wide. The normally tight and threatening Mexter enjoyed his first over so much he didn’t want it to end – but after 10 balls even he had to admit one can have too much of a good thing ! At least he was consoled by the bowling of Bennett in his second over.

Meanwhile in the field “skip” Stig was commencing his taking of a battering – a seriously painful stop with wrist rather than hand – and another on the arm before he found ways of magically allowing the ball to pass through his not inconsiderable body.

Halfway and 57 for 2 and a further change of bowling brought Haylock and Scutt into play. Heslop was brought up to slip and took a sharp first ball catch off Haylock. The next 4 overs peppered with wides took the score to 97 for 3 before Haylock’s 3rd over sent opener P Terry back to the pavilion bowled for 23 followed next ball by Walker.

The final overs shared between Scott and Mexter brought wickets for Scott and Mexter but saw M Terry retire on 30 and the score grow to a challenging 113 for 7 off the 18 overs – with extras top scoring on 39 (9 over the agreed retirement figure!) [curiously the reporter has omitted to mention the sitter dropped by Dickinson, for the record it’s now noted! –ed.]

With a target of 7.5 an over and failing light the great chase was set upon by openers Steele and McCaffrey. Steele set out well with a four in the first over but tight bowling by Bennett and M Terry and our openers ability to cunningly pick out Village fielders slowed progress with the score creeping to 22 without loss after 5 overs.

Safeguarding his standing in the Village prompted Nitsch to a fine catch over his head to dismiss the unfortunate Steele off a slow leg break by Bennett.

With McCaffrey holding down one end and scoring steadily but slowly [having taken a couple of overs to rediscover what the purpose of the piece of sculpted willow in his hand, was for – ed.] wickets tumbled at the other end. Scott and Dickinson departed for 5 each  both caught by Bennett – Dickinson picking him out on the boundary for a juggled catch from a shot that deserved better.

Mexter rested on his two wicket laurels in departing for a 4 ball 1. Beacock attempted to steady the ship but, with the Mallards slipping further and further behind the run-rate, went for 7. 57 for 6 became 59 for 8 with the rapid departure of Heslop and a first baller for Scutt.

McCaffrey went LBW [or maybe that was BBW – box before wicket – ed.] on 24 (six short of cancelling out the 30 wides given away in the first innings) and a closing partnership producing 18 runs over the last 5 overs between Browne and Dunhill took the score to a shameful 81 for 9.

Truly a night to forget [chips and onion rings in the ever welcoming Wellington helping to accelerate the process – ed.]