Mallards v Stamfordham CC July 27 @ Stamfordham

 Pulling together a full team has been a struggle of late due to a mixture of holidays, injuries and plain old age and so it proved again as just 9 Mallards turned up at Stamfordham to find a green and
softish looking wicket following some wet weather out of keeping with the majority of a fantastic July.
Stamfordham only had 10 and generously agreed to lend us a couple of fielders as we started with 8 due to Mr McCaffrey being held up in traffic. Skipper Butcher strode out to the middle, well halfway, determined to win the toss and get first use of a batting track that was surely only going to get worse. Of course, he lost the toss and Stamfordham jumped at the chance to bat first themselves and also suggested we should both bat through our allotted 20 overs regardless of how many wickets fell. Ever the gentleman and being a believer of home team, homes rules, Butcher agreed.
With regular opening bowler Cleaver unavailable, no doubt still recovering from his 5 wicket haul and hat-trick heroics from the previous week (somewhat mischievously absent from the match
report!), young Ed Holland opened the bowling and immediately had Stamfordham’s skipper questionng his decision as “Rambo”(according to their score book) spooned the very first ball of the game in to the grateful hands of Butcher. At this point I should point out that Stamfordham’s scorer had a somewhat unorthodox approach to scoring so let’s not concentrate too much on figures,
statistics or names (good luck at the end of the season with this one Coxy!). Suffice to say Ratty and Angry Andy settled things down for the hosts and started to score steadily in the face of some tidy
bowling from Holland (E) and Bell on a pitch that was generally keeping low. AA fell 1 short of his 30 in the 10
th with the score on 60 (ish), the first of what was to be 3 wickets for Holland (S) who had taken over from Bell. “Dino”, “Razor”, “Duke Nukem”, “Ryan”, “Biggun” and “Creature” all came and went cheaply while Ratty fell some time in between to Nish for a well-made 22. Nish bowled especially well to the right handers (they had a few lefties) and took 3 wickets as did Coxy who bowled a couple of overs from either end. The late clatter of wickets meant that the host Skippers suggestion came in to force and Rambo got a chance to atone for his first baller. He took the most of his chance smashing 4 4’s while “Teeth” hit a couple as well to take Stamfordham’s total to 119 (for 10 wickets), a very respectable total on a difficult pitch.
Mallards reply started well, in comparison to Stamfordham’s, as it took until the 5th ball of the first over with a couple of runs already on the board before Butcher played across a straight one from
Teeth (now called Jaws in the score book!) and was rightly dispatched LBW by Umpire Cox.
Sadly he had barely reached the pavilion before Wilson was following him, falling victim to the next ball.
Holland (E) played out the next over safely, adding a couple of runs before Teeth got the chance to complete his hat trick with the first ball of his second over. Pleas from (Mr)Teeth’s team mates not
to let him achieve said feat fell on deaf ears as McCaffrey was clean bowled. Judging by Teeth’s reaction and that of his teammates this was a first for him. Incredibly this was the 3rd Mallards game
in a row where a hat trick has been taken (thankfully the other 2 were by Mallards bowlers!). The score book gets particularly confusing at this stage, but Holland E fell shortly afterwards before Cox and Nish restored some semblance of calm, scoring steadily to take the score to 49 of 10 overs. Nish was next to fall for 16 or 22 depending which score book you choose to believe! Bell hit a nice 4
before departing for 7 and was soon followed by Holland (S) and Beacock. This gave Wilson a chance to atone his first ball duck which he did (kind of!) this time surviving for at least 2 balls before being
trapped LBW by Teeth! Butcher got another go as well and after surviving a very good shout for another LBW to Teeth managed to hit a few runs. Cox finally fell for 22/28 (choose your scorebook!)
and then McCaffrey got another go soon followed by Holland(E). Seasoned Mallard Coxy had wisely left his pads on and was called upon to help see out the final over. Amidst the chaos it was hard to
keep track of the score but somehow the scoreboard showed we needed 6 to win of the last ball.
Butcher only managed a single after which the score board declared we had finished 1 short on 118!
On inspection of the score books it appears the score board operators were “taking the piss” or at least “on the piss” as (thankfully) both score books showed Mallard finished on 86 (for 12 wickets!)
A slightly bizarre game but one played in a fantastic spirit with both teams having a lot of laughs.
Everyone had a bat (some twice!) and most had a bowl, with Stamforham’s bunch of 15/16year-olds acquitting themselves very well. Thanks to the several Stamfordham players who fielded for
Mallards at some stage. Beers were taken in the excellent clubhouse, with glasses being raised to Bill Telfer who had resurrected Stamfordham CC in the 50’s (having been originally formed in the 1870’s) and was still president of the club at the age of 95 before he sadly passed away last week. While tonight’s game may not have been one that Bill had imagined when he started up the club again,
hopefully he would have approved of a bunch of lads both young and old having a great time while occasionally playing some cricket! I am now away for a lie down and a think about what “home rule”
I can dream up to level up the playing field for return fixture at Riding Mill.