Mallards v Riding Mill @ Riding Mill June 25

Captain and Vice Captain thank the Lord that they missed this one
Captain and Vice Captain thank the Lord that they missed this one

Mallards second game in as many days was at our spiritual home of Riding Mill, but this time as the away team as we played against our ground-sharing opponents – almost like the AC Milan /Internazionale rivalry and the sharing of the San Siro… almost.

Heavy showers in Newcastle throughout the day had managed to steer clear of the hallowed wicket, now complete with covers, so we perhaps unexpectedly saw the game begin on time albeit with several threatening clouds.

With skipper Wood still enjoying some quiet and relatively unknown folk festival in Southern England, and with vice-captain Butcher’s absence unexplained, it was the duty of Dave Cox to lead the heroic Mallardian XI out onto the field for the first time.  With Dave duly winning his first toss as skipper and electing to bat.

Openers Porteous and Steele came out to bat with determination and with the hope of building a solid platform.  Sadly in the first over, Steele departed, caught behind off the fainted of nicks for a duck off the bowling of Mayfield.

Mexter in at 3, to join Porteous.  The pair managed to gather some momentum and had built a partnership of 20 before Porteous, who had started to find his timing, was caught at deep backward point for 7, leaving Mallards on 20-2.  Scutt was the new man in, but Leon was taking most of the strike and going very well indeed with some lusty blows taking him into the 20s.  Scutt’s innings ended prematurely when he was bowled by Gascoigne for 2, which brought Cox to the crease.  A few dots and singles to get his eye in and then a mighty six off the bowling of Horner, the recovery starts now!  Sadly Mexter’s fine innings then came to an end as he was again caught by wicketkeeper Hall off a faint edge leaving Mallards on 33-4 from 7 overs.  Scott came to the crease with just two balls left of Gascoigne’s spell but with his last delivery Scott was slightly unlucky to have a leg side delivery flick the end of his little finger and go through to the keeper for his third catch of the match, Mallards in real trouble now on 33-5 after 8 overs.

Things went from bad to worse as Cox looked to clear the ropes off the bowling of Page, only to pick out the fielder at deep mid-on for a well-taken catch, Mallards were now on 44-6.

Taylor and Browne were the new partnership, with Browne promising some more of his unorthodox batting approach, a beautifully-timed four was followed by a single and then a kamikaze run called by Browne left him diving into the crease but falling well short to be run out for 6. 50-7.

Wicket keeper Hall soon took his 4th catch of the match as Taylor mis-timed a pull shot that looped into the keeper’s gloves off of his gloves, oh dear, 52-8.

McGuiness and Wisbach attempted to take Mallards up to  a defendable score but both perished with McGuiness bowled by Page for 4 and Wisbach being caught for 6.  Mallards all out for 62 from just 14 overs.

Riding Mill opened with Smith and Maude, which some may remember as a 1980’s comedy sketch duo, and Browne took the new ball for Mallards.  Opener Smith picked off a few early boundaries but the metronomic Mitcheson at the other end supported his bowling partner with some very tight stuff.  After the two bowlers had finished their 3 over spells the score was sadly already onto 36 without loss, with both opening batsman well set by this point.  Wisbach and McGuiness attempted to halt the flow of runs but without any joy.  It wasn’t until the 8th over when the first wicket fell, with Smith skying a pull shot which was well taken by Steele off the bowling of Scott.

Maude (is this his real surname or some cruel nickname?) then retired for 33, leaving Sewell and Riding Mill veteran Walker to try and get their team over the line.  Mitcheson returned for one more over and his crafty away swing brought Sewell down the track only to miss the ball,  giving keeper Porteous an easy stumping.

With a low score to protect it was Walker who saw Riding Mill home in the 13th over just as the rain began to get heavier.

Nobody likes losing but it was still an enjoyable game played in a good spirit and  there was a good turn-out inside the Welly for chips, onion rings, gravy and that bloody domino card.