Sunday morning finally came around, bringing with it sunshine, for the first time in what felt like days. It looked like a good day for cricket; certainly there would be no interruptions from overhead. One or two showers passed over the Bay early in the morning, but by 9am it was clear and sunny. With luck and a few hours of drying out, our match against Barton might still be on.
Of course, we were looking up, when we should have been looking down. At 10am, I had a call from Jan at Barton explaining that Cricketfield Road was like a swamp, and our game was off. Hearing that Jan’s colleagues would greatly appreciate the tea she’d made for us was little consolation. We’d been counting down the days since our match against Shaldon, and now we wouldn’t be playing at all. I called around the team and rearranged the day; instead of a match, we’d have a knockaround on the Secret Green and a bit of a barbecue. It seemed like small consolation.
Meanwhile, our next opponents, the DOE Cavaliers, were waiting in the hotel reception and, like us, had some bad news. Cockington called them at 12.30 and cancelled, again because of a waterlogged pitch. Now we had not one, but two bored cricket teams sitting around with nobody to play and no pitch to play on.
But there was always the Secret Green.
By 1pm, I was phoning round everyone again telling them to get to the Green as soon as possible. The Secret Green has never, to my knowledge, been used for a match before. The pitch is an old bit of astroturf that some idiot has had a barbecue on, just on a full length, and the straight boundaries are so short we have to play a ‘six-and-out’ rule to keep parked cars from damage. Still, it was a pitch and it wasn’t waterlogged. That was good enough for us.
We lost the toss and were sent out to field. And we almost struck straight away, opening batsman Ram whizzing the ball straight into the trees with a thick edge. Under the ‘six-and-out’ rule, anything flying into the vegetation without bouncing was out but, with Ram seemingly unaware of the rule, we called him back, giving him a life for the first ball of the match. Perhaps, in hindsight, this was the wrong decision to make, even it was one that fitted our Cavalier spirit.
The first problem we found ourselves facing was that the DOE Cavaliers were actually rather good. If they had played one-handed and hopped between the wickets, they would have still crushed us mercilessly had they wanted to.
The second problem was that they appeared to want to, and they had use of both hands and legs.
Even so, we gave it a good go. Thanks to three wickets from Si (who ended with impressive figures of 4-0-16-3) and one from me (my first wicket, albeit on the ‘six-and-out’ rule) we had them 41-4 at one point, and had a tight run-out been given at that point we might have limited their score. I say ‘might’, though it’s highly unlikely. From that point onwards, the boundary took a hammering, and DOE were quite happy to declare on 147-8 with eight balls still remaining.
I wonder how many times a side has declared in a Twenty20 match?
Our innings began with us needing to score at seven an over, a rate that would rapidly increase as time went on. If I were to describe our batting, it would be easy to do in just one word — ‘bemused’. Opening the batting, I was certainly completely befuddled by balls that swung and seamed and, after swishing for two runs, missed a straight one and was clean bowled. Still, our middle order had been practicing hard lately, and were looking good. Ram dispatched Si for two, Chip for the same, and Matt for a duck, before Dave was caught and bowled for one.
We were five down with not many on the board, but the partnership of opening bat Karl and Ian, both looking mightily hungover, proved to be our immovable object. Relatively speaking, of course. Apart from these two, our batsmen made 11 runs altogether; Karl put on 11 on his own, and Ian made a respectable 7. Karl even hit a boundary, our only one of the match. It was over all too soon, though, and we were bowled out for 61 in 17 overs. Our top scorer was Extras, with 32 generous runs. Cruchingly defeated, we shook hands and headed for the barbecue and beer.
It would be quite easy to be downcast about the scale of our defeat but, talking to the rest of the lads, there was not a bit of it. We were beaten by a vastly superior team and, on paper, only Si’s bowling performance appears worthy of a mention. But we set up this team because we wanted to play cricket, regardless of our standard, and that will always be our guiding principle. Few if any of us would ever get a game for a League side, but we all love the game immensely, and just to be out there with friends and family trying our best is pretty special.
And, in fact, without wanting to sound too much like a modern coach, we did rather well. Kev scored his first ever run, as did Dave in his first ever game. Chip and I took our first wickets. Karl and Ian were stoic and unphased by the excellent bowling they faced. Bryan ended the game not out. Matt did a perfectly respectable job fielding at point. and Graeme showed the true Cavalier spirit, pulling on a shirt to make up the numbers, and delaying his long journey home.
So deserved congratulations to our mighty opposition, who thoroughly deserved their win. We look forward to the rematch on Wednesday, and beyond that wish them every success in the future. But well done to the Cavendish Cavaliers as well, the true embodiment of inefficax fidens – nobly incompetent.
|T Curtis||lbw Cahill||10||1/0|
|L Ansell||hix six Blagden||8||0/1|
|D Candy||lbw Cahill||1||0/0|
|R Langridge||not out||26||2/0|
|R Harrop||hit six Ryder||28||4/1|
|D Harrop||run out (Cahill)||0||0/0|
|F Selman||lbw Ryder||20||3/0|
|L Harrop||not out||0||0/0|
|EXTRAS||(10w, 8b, 2lb)||20|
|R Blagden||b D Harrap||2||0/0|
|K Wilcock||c (?) b Selman||11||1/0|
|S Cahill||b Ram||2||0/0|
|C Ryder||c (?) b Ram||2||0/0|
|M Lissenden||c (?) b Ram||0||0/0|
|D Allen||c&b R Harrop||1||0/0|
|I Chalk||b Bates||7||0/0|
|K Johns||c (?) b R Harrop||1||0/0|
|B Alway||not out||1||0/0|
|A Barrow||c (?) b R Harrop||2||0/0|
|G Bond||b Bates||0||0/0|
|EXTRAS||(7nb, 23w, 2b)||32|
DOE Cavaliers won by 86 runs.