MSCC Vs. Rain Men 2017

MSCC Vs. Rain Men 2017

Tim Riley opened the batting and scored 81. Mark Ford-Langstaff opened the batting and didn’t score 81, or at all. But then Mark didn’t attempt a switch shot, which was the signature stroke of Tim Riley’s innings, going for 4 but disqualifying him for our champagne moment award. Other ways of distinguishing our openers included the fact that Tim wasn’t recovering from a school reunion the night before, which explains Mark’s cameo duck and his decision to retire to the bench on the far side of the ground for a rest.

 

Jon Springer and Jon O’Neill at 3 and 4 have moved on from Middleton Stoney to league cricket with Sandford St Martin but graciously returned to score 16 and 31 respectively, a little like Harry Kane coming back from Spurs to play again for Ridgeway Rovers, who gave him his first chance at the age of six.

 

Howard Lancaster at number five was wearing a shirt with meaning for the opposition, paying tribute to a cricketer they knew well. Howard enjoyed his 12 but as with the Jons, our middle order were dismissed by the Rain Men just when they looked to be heading for a Rileyesque score. Jon O’Neill, in particular, hit the ball hard.

 

The star batsmen of earlier games, Tim House and Sathya Vadivale, were batting at 6 & 7. I gave Tim out LBW for 3. Tim Cranston came in at 8, to the surprise of Simon Pettit whose one innings this season, 29 not out, did not even gain him a chance to bat this time. Sathya and Tim scampered singles and showed no signs at all of giving up their averages to offer Simon (or Graeme Delaney or myself) a chance to bat. Sathya was on 30 and Tim on 10 when I declared at tea with our score on 192 for 6. Having won the toss and risked batting on a wet wicket, I was relieved with this total but it proved to be more than one hundred too many and the declaration more than half an hour too late. Sorry.

 

Mark Ford-Lansgtaff and Karen Goddard provided an excellent tea. Karen made 81 sandwiches. Mark didn’t.

 

Simon Pettit and Tim Cranston opened the bowling. In their first spells of seven overs each, Middleton Stoney took one wicket, caught Sathya bowled Tim. Simon Pettit’s bowling was also on the stumps, which was more than could be said for his throwing in from long leg.

 

On came the first of our spinners, Sathya and myself. We bowled seven overs each. Sathya took 3 for 10 which was a shade expensive compared to my 3 for 6. Just saying. Sathya’s wickets involved two LBW decisions and a stumping by Tim Riley. Mine were all clean bowled. Just saying. Well, mine were bowled, anyway, if not always cleanly. The end I was bowling at seemed to help turn. The other end didn’t, apparently.

 

Tim House, Jon O’Neill and Graeme Delaney then each bowled well. Jon and Graeme took a wicket each. As we shouted out ‘Bowler’s name, Lee’, then ‘Bowler’s name, O’Neill’ and next ‘Bowler’s name Delaney’ to the Rain Men in charge of the scorebook, the opposition shouted back words to the effect that we had a certain Celtic fringe to our bowling attack.  

Simon Pettit and Tim Cranston returned to press for victory. Tim Riley’s second stumping of the innings, this time off one of these pace bowlers, Simon Pettit, was superb. Although it would have still been out under the Laws of the game, there was some surprise among fielders that this delivery wasn’t given as a wide. But then what we, crowded round the bat, thought was the tenth wicket caught behind by Tim Riley off the bowling of Tim Cranston was given not out. Both Simon’s killer ball and his earlier killer throw seemed directed more at waking up Mark Ford-Langstaff at first slip than at our wicket-keeper.

 

By now, Simon Pettit and Tim Cranston had each bowled three more overs and we had unusually completed the minimum twenty overs inside the last hour which left time for one more. Our sprightly over rate was helped by the Rain Men only managing one boundary. So far I had only used one of our three left arm bowlers who bat right-handed, and one of our left-handed batsmen who bowls right-armed. Although I could have given the last over to any one of these ambidextrous players. I chose Sathya Vadivale as our death bowler instead but their number 11 played out a testing over to draw the game.

 

So who won the champagne moment award? Tim Riley with 81 and two stumpings? No, remember that switch hit. Shrewd and regular spectator David Moorman on 82 (years, it being his birthday)? No. One of our players had to drop out this weekend because of work and I had contacted many club members on the morning of the game in seeking a replacement. Cometh the hour, along came Anita and Graeme Delaney. Graeme had travelled back from the Champagne region to support us. He agreed to play. Anita went back (to their village of Sandford St Martin, not to France) to get his kit. Graeme, like Simon Pettit (last innings 29 not out, has anyone mentioned that?) and myself didn’t get to bat but he did bowl. I know what you’re thinking. Surely there is no chance this year that he can repeat his feat of leading the bowling averages in 2015, with 1 over, 1 for 4? Better than that, he bowled two overs and took 1 for 2! That LBW decision could secure him the top spot once again in our averages and his economy could do likewise in Jon Springer The Statistician’s Strike Rate Table (my 3 for 6 in 7 overs {have I mentioned that?} not quite being matched in earlier games).

 

Tim Riley was almost stumped himself by the deep frozen food for the barbecue but conjured up more magic. The Rain Men drank like they gave LBWs, rather than their more curmudgeonly approach to giving their number 11 out caught behind. When I left the ground, even their number 11 had walked but George and Georgina Lamb were still there with our Club Treasurer Tim Cranston and his mother, Rosie, clearing up the debris of a jolly post-match analysis. Thanks to everyone for a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon and apologies to Middleton Stoney for not having secured the victory. Going into next Sunday’s game against Old Leightonians, we are so far unbeaten this season, a little like Celtic in the Scottish Premiership, although in our case with 23 matches still left to play.

 

Simon Lee


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