Mallards v Durham Staff July 12 @ Riding Mill

What I’ve done here is left it too long after the match before writing the report. This could be quite short and might not rank amongst the most accurate recollections of the truth that this fine website has ever hosted. And that’s saying something.

On one of those funny summer days that constantly looks like, but never turns into rain, two familiar teams gathered at the Mill for a spot of cricket. One thing of note was that for the first time in living memory, Tony Cleaver opted to forego a shot at the Friendly Fire trophy and played for Mallards against Durham. He didn’t have to wait to get stuck in either as Mallards were to bowl first.

Cleaver was into his business straight away, not able to find the breakthrough but not giving the batsman an inch. The third ball of the innings saw DCSCC opener Whitfield pull up lame with a calf injury that saw him helped from the field. Taking the ball at the other end, Boyce was also bowling well but fell victim to a couple of misfields on this lightning fast outfield to spoil his figures.

Neither bowler was able to find a way through, though if memory serves there were a few drops that night. Things are too hazy to apportion blame with any certainty but I’m sure the perpertrators know who they are… After both had completed their spells, they’d done well to hold the score to 46/0.

Change bowlers Latif and Cox were similarly unsuccesful in getting the breakthrough, and it was starting to feel like one of those nights. However, the run rate never really got away, hovering around 6 rpo throughout the innings. Latif and Cox were replaced with Holland, S. and debutant Anand. Anand bowled with pace and movement but it was Holland who finally lifted the curse, having DCSCC number five, Nathan (numbers 2, 3, and 4 all reaching 30 and retiring) stumped by McCaffrey for 13. Just to rub it in, Holland struck again as Boothroyd I was caught by… I’ve forgotten, sorry.

Innings closed at 124/2, so the runs had been curtailed despite a  lack of wickets. All to play for.

A strong looking batting line-up got off to a poor start as Boothroyd, S removed opener Holland E for nowt and first drop Cox for 5 to leave Mallards at 10/2 after four overs. Things picked up quickly however as debutant Anand, batting at four, sent four of his first five balls screaming to the cover boundary. Inevitably, he retired shortly after on 31, with the score at 50/3 in the 8th over.

Things were much better placed at this point as Green and another newcomer (I say newcomer, but he’s been at RMCC for donkeys), Marks started to build a sound partnership with both timing the ball well and rotating the strike, despite Marks hobbling noticeably. After 14 overs, Mallards were one run ahead of Durham at the same stage, so this looked like it was going to turn into yet another classic between these two teams. However after Marks departed for 12, and Latif’s attempt for quick runs failed after a promising start, things started to tail off a bit.

Boyce tried to keep rotating the strike with Green but both were dismissed and we were unable to keep the momentum going, ending on 112/7 after our 20, a loss of 12 runs.

As per tradition a strong beer and bullshit session followed as the sun set on another enjoyable fixture between these two teams – the 42nd recorded fixture since 1998, long may it continue.