Mallards v Riding Mill @ Riding Mill 2 September

The club despot inspects the troops
The club despot inspects the troops

It was the final game of the season and for some their first. And for some a game too far after the exertions of the bank holiday weekend barbecue game where Ducks and Drakes met head to head. That is an important game where Mallards come together in the spirit of friendly cricket and, more importantly, a Mallards team is guaranteed a rare win. This winning streak of 1 was enough to scare off Davipart, the scheduled opposition for the final game of the season, so landlords Riding Mill stepped into the breach.

With captain ‘Lucky Ducky’ Wood having an injection for his frozen wing it fell to club despot Taylor to lead the fold. On a cloudy evening in September he won the toss [hurray! – Ed.] and elected to bat. A format of 12 x 8 ball overs was agreed and Bennett and Porteous opened the batting.

After a short spell from the opening bowlers with some quick runs and the odd boundary, Nitsch came into the attack and retired Bennett who reached his 25 in 16 balls.

This turned out to be a  master-stroke of distraction bowling as Porteous, attempting to follow Bennett’s example, then fell to Purvis  bowled for a dashing 14 .

Nitch, his work done, then dashed from the field (not from shame apparently but to transport a daughter he claimed) bringing the deceptively youthful and bespectacled Hamza on to bowl. His nippy bowling soon dispatched Lucas and Taylor (both bowled for 2). Wilson then came to the crease with the pressure mounting to increase the run rate. Needless to say he played true to his Yorkshire heritage seeing off Hamza in true Boycott style without scoring (although Hamza scored on his inner thigh).  He soon left the field for a glorious three bowled by Hall.

Green and Wisbach then both achieved ducks nobly swinging as the Mallard innings faded with the light. Scutt made 4 not out to end the innings with McGuinness 1 not out for company as the end came with a grand total of 69-6 (inc 17 from the ever reliable Extras)

So to the reply. Tight overs from Hunt and Cleaver allied to committed fielding gave the Mallards early hope and the pressure eventually paid off with the wicket of Greensit, caught by Porteous from the bowling of Cleaver.

This brought Mallards on-loan youth development scheme intern Jordon to the crease. Focused on bringing improvement to the youngster’s game the bowlers and fielders closed in. As the screw turned the tension mounted and only released when Wisbach pouched a catch at point from the bowling of Hunt to a silent stunned disbelief.

This brought Marks to the crease but he was swiftly returned to the pavilion by Hunt who was enjoying a spellbinding spell, bang to rights lbw. The slew of wickets seemed to distract the fielding team for a moment. The opener Hamid who had seemed becalmed became inspired and retired on 25.

A well-taken sharp catch at fly slip by Scutt to dismiss Purvis for 7 from McGuiness illuminated the tail end of the fielding side’s efforts  like the sun poking briefly through a cloud on a fading evening, but eventually the Mallards resistance sunk under the horizon (rather like the season apparently). Hall  scored 17 n.o. [and with his 3 wickets must now be a contender for the Friendly Fire Award – Ed.] and with the help of Reid 5 n.o. they made short work of the remaining balance to clinch victory by six wickets with time to spare.

Off to the Welly, sadly no chips, but hopefully there will be an abundance next year, and maybe one or two more wins. See you next season!