The sun beat down on the old cricket pitch at Cockington as we arrived. The grand old pavilion let out a morning’s heat as the doors were opened and, although it was such a perfect day, it was perhaps rather too hot for cricket.
I’m not sure when this happened, but it was nothing like it on Wednesday.
The rain was fairly horizontal and there was a stiff wind blowing down the hill. The groundsman told us we were mad and advised us to head for the pub. It’s fair to say, though that one of the two teams of Cavaliers were very much up for it; they arrived early, got changed, and stood enthusiastically in the rain waiting for the scheduled start.
The other side turned up looking, by and large, depressed and bedraggled, and had the air of a company about to go over the top at the Somme. Of course, to say which of the sides it was would be a little unfair on
our esteemed opposition our guests the DOE Cavaliers the other team.
Still, I won the toss, and was happy to bat first. We actually took to the field in bright sunshine, but it didn’t last, and soon batsmen and fielders were skidding around all over the place. At one point Chip memorably make his ground comfortably before suddenly flying onto the turf, legs akimbo, and leaving a Daz-proof stain on his posterior. Partly due to the conditions, and partly because Andy had limited his side to just two overs each, we played much better than we had on the Sunday, and at one point were trotting along quite merrily at four an over. Chalky was the mainstay of our innings, with 21 (including a massive six) before retiring to huge applause. Hell, we even ran fairly well on occasion, and over 50 of our runs came off the bat. Progress indeed.
By now, the pitch was pretty cut up, making bowling difficult, but at least the sun was shining. We took to the field almost professionally, with everyone having at least a rough idea where they should be standing, and we bowled pretty well too. Si was mean with his economy as ever, and both he and I came within millimetres of taking a wicket. Dave and Ross Harrop began to impose themselves and Ross had retired before Andy took a good catch to dismiss Dave, with the score on 57. We had a chance of respectability, but James and I both hilariously fluffed run-out chances, ostensibly because we liked Ram but really because we were rubbish. Andy Riley heaved the last boundary, and it was all over.
So again, well done to DOE. They were considerably better players than us, and deserved their win. But there was a hell of a lot for us to think about probably for next season now that the seasons begin to conspire against us.
The early demise of Si and the absence of Karl would, a month ago, have been the end of our hopes, but Chalky has been a real find for us. Turning up unshaven with a beer already on the go, he not only resisted but also had a damn good go at the opposition, and we seem to be developing a batting order with most of our batsmen improving with experience. Si’s bowling was miserly as ever, Kev unlucky not to take a wicket again, James fast and Andy accurate. We haven’t really come near winning, but there’s a lot to be proud of.
But the real find was Malc. Okay, so he was out for a duck, but his keeping was absolutely awesome; no byes or leg byes, and everything that came near him just stuck to his gloves in very tricky and greasy conditions. It’s much easier to bowl and set fields knowing that you have a solid keeper behind the stumps, and Malc showed a wonderful, natural skill that I enjoyed watching from gully and mid-on.
A final footnote; we are delighted to welcome Ram as an honorary Cavendish Cavalier. We enjoyed playing against all the lads, of course, but Ram had a right old laugh with us and even ended up buying a CCCC cap from me the following day. You never, Ram – we might even see you in one of our shirts one of these days…
|R Blagden*||b Bates||9||0/0|
|S Cahill||c L Harrop b D Harrop||5||0/1|
|C Ryder||c&b Anthony||4||0/0|
|K Johns||b L Harrop||0||0/0|
|J Ryder||b Curtis||2||0/0|
|M Spisiak||b L Harrop||0||0/0|
|M Bradley+||c L Harrop b Curtis||0||0/0|
|A Ryder||not out||1||0/0|
|M Tout||b Curtis||2||0/0|
|D Harrop||c A Ryder b Cahill||17||1/0|
DOE Cavaliers won by 8 wickets.