Mallards v Davipart @ Newcastle City CC 1 June

After years of trying, Mallards finally made it to Broadway. You’d have thought with all the prima donnas that have graced the yellow-duck shirt over the years that we’d have made it years ago.  But no, it’s taken many years to finally grace the place where the neon lights are always bright.  Hopes were high of a third victory of the season on Broadway because, apparently, if you can make it there you can make it anywhere.

Unfortunately this wasn’t Broadway, New York, it was Broadway West, just off the Great North Road. And there were no stars, no neon lights, just lots of cloud and a biting wind which induced a rare burst of two-jumper wearing amongst the frozen spectators.

Butcher won the toss and chose to bat, correctly reckoning that it was only going to get darker, damn those non-existent neon lights!  New opening pair Scott and Kent took to the field and it was the former who got off to a flyer with three cracking fours in the first two overs. Kent, meanwhile, was practicing his morse code but leaving out the dashes, his first nine balls spelling out SSS.  He finally cracked his duck in the fourth over to settle himself down. With both batsman now into their stride the score began to mount quickly and the pair had reached a very useful 40-0 after eight overs before the first wicket fell in the ninth, Triggers Cleaver raising the dreaded finger to send Scott packing, lbw for an excellent 24.

As is the way with these things, Kent took up the slack to give new batsman Cox time to settle in, racing through to retire on 30 in the 13th over with the score on 76.  New batsman Wood joined Cox at the crease and leant on his bat at the other end as the Kiwi maestro aced his screen test, hitting five fours in a very rapid 31 to allow Butcher and Wood to renew their weekly sprinting partnership.  The runs continued to flow, though now they were mostly coming from a series of 2s as the fielders were stretched to the limit. Inevitably there are casualties with this approach and Butcher eventually fell for 16, falling on his sword in an attempt to eke out a second run to the strong arm of Gilfillin.  Wood and Lucas then steered the innings home to a more than useful 124-2 after 20 overs.

Davipart began their reply with the strong opening pair of Sandhu and Rawley (D).  Cleaver began with a maiden but when the first two balls of his second over were crashed for boundaries the nerves mounted. Fortunately his fourth ball was carved towards Wood at mid-wicket, who took the catch low down to dismiss Sandhu for 1.  Inspired, Cleaver took another wicket in his third over, clean-bowling new batsman Dutha for 0. Watson, meanwhile, had been performing very tidily at the other end and claimed a deserved wicket, clean-bowling the potentially destructive Rawley for 23 to leave the home team struggling on 32-3 from 8 overs.

The all-Antipodean attack of Cox and Bateman took up the bowling next and both caused the new batsmen, Harwood and Rawley Sr problems from the start without much luck, Cox finding several thick edges that fell into vacant spaces and Bateman beating the bat on countless occasions.  Even so runs were hard to find for the batsmen and after 12 overs they had crawled to 45-3, needing 80 runs from the last 8 overs to win.

Kent spilled a sharp chance behind the stumps to continue Cox’s bad luck but Bateman finally struck with his final ball to bowl Harwood for 12 and finish with an impressive 1-9 from his 3 overs, Cox finishing with an unfortunate 0-17 from four.  Davipart were now getting desperate, Rawley Y coming out to try and save the day with the score on 58-4 from 15 and 67 runs needed from just five overs. McGuinness bowled a very steady first over, almost taking a fierce caught-and-bowled chance fired straight back at him before Mallards’ nerves were tested when skipper Butcher bravely opted to bring the rusty Taylor into the fray. Fortunately the latter’s policy of making the batsmen chase wides paid off as they tired themselves out, the home team’s efforts fizzling out as they ended the day on 92-4, a Mallards victory by an impressive 32 runs.

A magical performance from the Mallards but, of course, there’s always magic in the air – on Broadway.