Mallards v KSOB April 28 @ Prior’s Park

On a beautiful sunny evening that totally belied the freezing cold temperatures, two bastions of the midweek friendly cricket match met in Tynemouth to lock horns in battle.

The two captains (only one an actual King’s School Old Boy*) strode out to the middle for the toss and, as is customary, Mallards lost that and KSOB chose to bat first. Skipper Buxom donned the wicket-keeper attire (if only as a method of keeping warm) and Mallards opened with Cleaver from the tennis courts end and I Watson from the Collingwood Monument end. KSOB opened with P Coyne & N Ivill and Coyne who wasn’t in any mood to hang around, hitting 2 fours off Cleaver’s first over. Neville (N Ivill) was more content to support Coyne as well as seemingly want to dig to Australia as he kept marking his guard before every delivery he faced. I think the guard on middle stump was at least 2 inches below ground level by the time he’d finished!!

Both Cleaver and Watson managed to keep it relatively tight, with only the occasional stoppage to go ball-hunting for the odd boundary that went down the slopes that are just past the boundary on two sides of the ground. Those that didn’t go ball-hunting did a couple of laps of the 200m running track that surrounds the batting square to keep warm. Coyne retired on 30 not out in the first 8 overs whilst Cleaver finished on 4-0-27-0 and I Watson on 4-0-21-0, both bowlers keeping it neat and tidy while also beating the outside edge on a few occasions, unlucky not to get a nick or two.

Browne came on from the tennis courts end to replace Cleaver and struck with his 3rd delivery, clean bowling Neville the Quarrier for 15, who jumped out of the way of the ball which hit leg stump about 2/3rds of the way up. Latif replaced Watson and both M Menton and D Weston went after him, with 11 runs coming off his first over. He brought it back though off his next 2 overs though, going for only a further 13 runs but also getting the wicket of Weston who got a top edge which was snaffled by keeper Buckley in short square leg area. Browne was keeping it lovely and tight at the tennis courts end, with only Buckley allowing some byes go through him marring the bowling. Browne finished with 4-0-10-1 with Latif finishing on 3-0-24-1.

Butcher replaced Latif and, in his spell, Bedford was run out for a duck after some sharp fielding from Hall who picked the ball up in gulley and threw it to Buckley who took the bails off with Bedford a fair distance out of his ground. Holland took the last over from the tennis courts end with both bowlers keeping it fairly tight, some good fielding from Mallards and they finished with 2-0-8-0 for Butcher and 1-0-3-0 for Holland. KSOB finished on 108-3 off the 18 overs, which was a chaseable target for sure.

Mallards began their reply with G Steel (a welcome return) and A Hall opening the batting with 12 runs coming off the first over, delivered by I Black. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that many runs come from an entire spell of Black’s bowling, never mind just one over! T Jackson took the 2nd over from the Collingwood Monument end and, after a single from Steel, managed to clean-bowl Hall for just 7 after Hall had played his shot a good 3 days before the ball reached him.

McCaffery came in at number 3 and was back in the hutch shortly after for just 2 runs, controversially given out caught behind off Black with The Cat adamant he’d not hit it, and the sound was that of him hitting the pads with his bat, not the ball. Mr Lucas came in at number 4 and gave a bit of support to Steel but was soon caught by Weston off the bowling of Black after going for a bigger shot. Mallards were now 18-3 after just 5 overs.

Skipper Buxom came in at number 5 and, after giving himself a handful of deliveries to get his eye in, started off a partnership with Steel that saw the runs start to flow again. Boundaries and extras started to come with the new bowlers (Anderson and Stewart) who’d replaced Black (4-1-20-2) and Jackson (4-0-6-1) giving more scope to the batsmen to score runs. Buckley carefully used his “one shot” when required and the score quickly moved on from 28-3 after 8 overs to 55-3 just 4 overs later. Steel even had time to hit the wicket with his face after unluckily tripping over whilst on a run, the score was increasing that quickly.  After another 2 overs, the score had moved on to 70-3 leaving Mallards just another 39 to get to win the game off 4 overs. Buckley retired on 31 after hitting another 4 bringing Mr Butcher to the crease. Both Stig and Steel continued where Buxom had left off and kept the runs flowing with another 18 coming off the next 2 overs, Steel eventually retiring on 31 but Butcher unfortunately being run out going for a second instead of accepting just the single, the right mentality to have Mr B!! Holland and Latif came to the wicket and Holland suffered the same fate as Butcher, being run out by a direct hit going for a second instead of accepting the single. Latif was quickly bowled by K Menton soon after for just one, leaving Browne and Cleaver to take us to victory. However, despite a couple of singles between the pair of them and a mighty 4 from Browne, Mallards fell just short of their target scoring 101-6 off their 18 overs. Close, but no shortage of effort from all eleven Mallards this evening.

*may not actually be true but the captain of Mallards this evening is definately a former KSOB and was undercover for Mallards doing  his line of duty.

P.S. Apologies to all Mallardians who had to put up with the Skipper’s nostalgic reminiscences about playing sport here as a child!!