The true spirit of the game – and the return of the Beacock!
25 devotees turned out keen to celebrate the near end of the season and the knife-edge final contest for the John Robinson trophy
All sorts turned up – because they “were passing” – “deleted before they had pressed send” or just because it wasn’t raining.
Thank goodness Alan Boyes had stood Higgs and Boson down for the night, as it was it we agreed a 12 a side game – with Browne as the 25th sulking at what he called “the study corner”.
Jon would have been deeply impressed by the occasion, which was even marked by a beautiful rainbow (see above)
Beacock was back off his hols (again) prompting much discussion of his poor batting over the season and his performance behind the stumps relative to one M S Dohni. Hands up those who didn’t see Simon Hughes riveting analysis of the implications of Dhoni’s immobility and unwillingess to dive upon the placing and spacing of the Indian slip cordon – of which more anon.
With every chance of the light going Wood lost the toss and the Mallards unsurprisingly found themselves invited to field. In true Mallardian spirit the response was to spread the bowling around and make sure everyone got a good game – and spread around the bowling was – 10 of the 11 outfielders got to turn their arms for at least one over – with no-one bowling more than 3 overs – and with, frankly surprisingly good overall results.
Ok – so Genetics lost their first wicket with the score at 85 and with Bennett long since back in the pavilion retired not out – but this was in the 16th over !
The Mallards opened with McGuiness and Wisbach against Bennett and Scott. After a tight first over McGuinness ‘s line was picked up by Bennett in the second and a 4 and 6 followed as did the retirement of the bowler. At the other end Wisbach bowled tightly and wonderfully economically finishing his 3 overs for just 9 runs.
Dunhill and Haylock followed both bowling tightly and containing without seriously threatening the now well-set batsmen – Dunhill’s 3 overs going for 12 and Haylock’s 2 for 8.
Bennett’s retirement had brought Tarbuck to the crease and the scoring picked up again.
With Cox tying down one end (3 overs for 6) Taylor came on at the other and over two overs took a bit of a battering (29) – not daunted by this Taylor responded by taking the first wicket – not with his bowling at 3 stumps but with a stunning piece of fielding at mid-off to hit one stump and run out Scott for 25.
Partnered by Heslop, Tarbuck plundered the Mallards bowling to reach a retirement 32 off 14 balls finishing with a six “just because he felt like it!” Two overs from Nitsch for 16 and one from Butcher for 12 providing the raw material.
With two overs to go the score stood at 112 for 1- the sky was about to fall in – and it did – but on the Genetics side. A snorting over from McCaffery brought 2 wickets for 3 – one bowled – the other caught by Cox – and the final over from Captain Wood brought another bowled wicket for only two runs and the bonus of a comical run out of Buckley for 2.
A distinctly chaseable closing total of 117 for 5
Kent and Nitsch opened the reply spectacularly against Taylor (Brian – no relation to our own despot) and Airey – two singles were the precursor to a 6 and two fours from Nitsch for Mallards to finish the first over on 16. Sadly that was as good as it got – apart from an 11 run flourish with Beacock and Taylor in the 16th the runs slowed or even stopped with a maiden in the 10th and one run overs in the3rd, 5th, 8th and 14th – our boys certainly know how to keep the pressure on and chase the game.
All might have been different had Nitsch, after his cracking start not felt an on-rush of generosity to bowler Taylor (Brian again) and fielder Jordan – who celebrated his 69th birthday by hanging on to a ball driven straight at him at mid-on. (Suddenly “Old Col” feels like a young buck again)
McCaffery followed next ball – run out without scoring.
20 for 2 at the end of the third over progressed to 37 for 2 at the end of the 7th then again a pair of wickets lost in an over to Mitcheson’s bowling with Kent holing for 11 out to the ever reliable Tarbuck and Butcher slicing over his head to loop up to wicketkeeper Greenwood first ball.
Genetics followed the Mallards example in mixing up and spreading around their bowling – again using 10 of their 11 outfielders
The fifth wicket down came down in the 10th over with the score on 45 with Wood falling for 12 to a looped up catch behind the stumps by Greenwood off Mitcheson who finished a 3 over spell with a wicket maiden and figures of 3 overs 1 maiden 3wickets for 5 runs.
The sixth down sealed the Mallards fate – Cox had just got going, had reached a rapid 9 and was beginning to lift the rate when McCaffery (having just replaced Dunhill as umpire at the one tree end) gave the assembled crowd a wonderful reminder of the much missed Tony “the trigger” Cleaver by raising his finger to an LBW shout on a full ball from van Doorn which, in the muttered words of the departing batsman was “going way down the leg side!” [perhaps now slightly mollified by the 52-20 hammering theKiwis just gave the Aussies in the rugby – Ed.]
This generosity of spirit was continued with McGuinness being given out LBW by Nitsch only for Greenwood in the spirit of the wicketkeepers’ union to say “you hit that didn’t you?” – “yes” — Not out. All of this perhaps a sign of how difficult it was to see anything in the by now near total darkness!
McGuinness’s wicket wasn’t long spared though – bowled by van Doorn for 4 – leaving it to (G) Taylor and Beacock to begin to rescue some pride. Taylor eventually went for 11 stumped by Greenwood off Bennett. Beacock perished on 18 bowled by Tarbuck in his only over.
With Wisbach caught by Bennett off Reay for 7 in the last over a single from Haylock allowed Dunhill to face his first and the last ball of the game. Umpire Nitsch offered him the light to allow him to protect his average – or perhaps because he was concerned that we might not be able to find the pavilion in the dark.
Dunhill survived the one ball at the Mallards closed on 99 for 10 (note: not 99 all out as 12 players)
A grand evening played in great spirit with all the match fees and the proceeds of a domino card in the post match Wellington (with generous chips and Yorkshire puds all round) going to the generator fund – a total contribution approaching £150 on a night which amply demonstrated the need for the generator – and questions about the floodlights it might power too !
Jon Rob was amply toasted – and the trophy left to reside with Genetics for the winter
We want it back ! We will be back sharper and stronger – and older next year !!!
Oh and the “is Beakers better than Dohni?” question.
Just consider the figures. He top scored – Mallards collectively bowled 7 wides – Beakers conceded 1 bye – and his mobility allowed us to spread the slip cordon much wider than India – to third man, deep square leg, deep extra cover etc.
I rest my case.