MS: 171 for 9 - Dan Simpson 37, Moorman 73, Campbell 22
CP XI: 139 for 10 - M. Simpson 3 for 38, R.Simpson 3 for 48.
Sunday 27th November saw our final game of the season: a much anticipated return of the Clive Plant match, a game that had mysteriously disappeared from the fixture card last season but now re-instated to popular acclaim.
Mother Nature kindly offered us a good hand, providing one of the last truly summery days of the year, for which we were very grateful – and a good wicket, loving prepared by Dr. Nick.
So, to matters in hand.
Clive cleverly contrived to lose the toss and left us with life's ultimate question: to bat nor not to bat? (Whether ‘tis nobler in the mind to suffer…Ok, I’m labouring the joke, but you get the idea.)
Captain, Tim House, being a batsman, elected to bat. (Oh, how cynical, I hear you sneer...)
Well things started off solidly, with newcomer John Campbell showing he was no Jonny-come-lately to the game itself. With Nick 'Prodder' Moorman due to come in at 3, the necessity of John’s slightly more aggressive approach to the matters was probably no bad thing.
He added 22 runs to our tally before over-reaching himself and getting 'bowled' for his trouble.
Meanwhile Dan ‘Trucker Man’ Simpson at number 2 continued to battle away, adding runs to the board when opportunities presented themselves. Together with Nick, Dan made sure but steady progress until they parted company after the latter guided a shot neatly into waiting hands.
This brought Mark 'websites' Ford-Langstaff to the crease; however, he must have had his mind on fixed-width binary codes (or some such techy nonsense) and was distracted enough to get himself run out for a total of 6 runs, a number that could only make a number 11 batsman proud.
Confidence was still high at this point, as this cheap dismissal brought Richard 'Fetch That' Simpson to the fore - but in reality this was really the beginning of the end for our batting. Richard came and went (caught) without so much as adding a single boundary to our score. (The game is unrelentingly hard on those looking for brilliance every time they play.)
Fortunately, we had 120 or so in the bank by this point, largely due to Nick Moorman finally succumbed on 73 (a grand innings indeed!).
This left Stevyn ‘No seriously, I am a solicitor’ 3 (bowled for 3); Tim ‘Should Have Been a Doctor*’ House (bowled for a duck); and Mike ‘Slimmo’ Simpson (who couldn't better his son’s score(or you his nickname - ed)).
After that it was left to Professorial Lee and Not-so-professorial Olly ‘Fitness Guru’ Selway to try to add a few in the last few overs.
They duly did so, remaining unbeaten at tea on 2 and 6 respectively. (The latter was of course very proud, as only a number 11 can be with such a score.)
That brought us to 171 for 9.
Tea was a glorious affair (isn't it always at MSCC?) provided (if memory serves - and consider that I'm writing this in October) by the Moormans (it says 'Simpsons' on the website?? - Ed).
I do remember with clarity though someone saying to me: "Better than your bloody chocolate spread sandwiches, Olly!"
Well, what higher endorsement can you hope for than that?
After tea, Clive's gregarious bunch fled to the changing rooms to festoon themselves with pads, while Tim herded our motley crew out onto the field for a good ol' fashioned bowl.
No one was surprised when Miles, a one-time MSCC player, opened the batting for the opposition and it didn't take long for him to look secure, even though the run rate progressed fairly slowly.
It helped that Selway and Simpson Junior opened the bowling; the former with his tempting but tricky away swingers and the later with his twice a season medium pacers being given an outing (dibbily-dobbily spinners that don't really spin but look like the might start any moment came later).
In fact only 7 runs were scored from Olly's first 6 overs. (Yeah, I know you don't really care about that but it's my match report so I can tell it my way, ok?)
It was a shame that no. 2 batsman, R. Cherry, retired hurt with an aggravated old injury, but it brought forth to the crease the only other batsman from the team who was to score much that day. Together with Miles, this pair slowly put a hundred or so on the board, but not before the 20 over countdown had begun.
As a result it became necessary for the opposition to start to bat more aggressively in an attempt to better our score before 'stumps'.
It became apparent that this was not going to be a close run thing but, to be fair, they didn't batten down the hatches but gamely continued to swing with something that only just stopped short of reckless abandon.
As a result, dismissals came thick and fast. The only thing to disrupt this steady flow of wickets was The Unfortunate Case of Tim House's Face. (A good title for a Conan-Doyle novel, I feel?)
Poor Tim, electing to keep without a helmet, didn't manage to adjust to the flight of a ball edged by the batsman and ended up wearing the ball on his chin. Ouch!
Down he went like a sack of spuds while the rest of us wondered whose first aid certificate was least out of date and would have to offer their ill-qualified assistance. In the event we all conceded that Dr. Nick's PHD in Medicine probably trumped anything the rest of use could offer and it was left to him to make an assessment.
Tim was gently dispatched back to the pavilion for ice and sympathy while the rest of us resumed the business of trying to remove the few remaining batsman.
Into the brink gallantly leapt Nick Moorman, who picked up Tim’s gloves where they fell and proceeded to make an excellent stumping soon after.
Nick’s place in the open-field was taken by the injured batsman’s young son (Matt? Nat?) who immediately set about running out one of his father’s team mates in a moment of play strikingly reminiscent of the time Gary Pratt ran out Aussie Captain, Ricky Ponting while on the field as a substitute fielder at Trent Bridge in 2005.
(In case, dear reader, you're still worrying about Tim, I have since checked with him and he maintains that he's fine, but that the damage to his face has made him ‘uglier than ever’, an idea that stretches the imagination somewhat.)
After that, wickets continued to clatter with the Simpson men boys, Mike and Richard, doing most of the damage, taking 3 wickets apiece. The question still remained though: could we take that last crucial wicket in the last over and snatch a win from the jaws of an otherwise insipid draw?
Yes, it turned out. We could. Clive Plant XI bowled out for 139. Hurrah!
Of course, Clive insisted that the match was really a draw as his ‘retired injured’ batsman man had never been dismissed. However stand-in Captain, Lee, cleverly pointed out that actually we were the winners on the basis of, er, the rules - a set of precepts with which Clive is clearly unfamiliar.
This was all in good nature however, and the final match of the season finished with a very amiable BBQ and a most convivial atmosphere.
As I packed up my kit to leave at the end of the evening, I felt a little pang of regret that it would be another six months before our brave but humble team would gather to play bat and ball once more at this lovely ground.
Until then, fair reader.
* ‘cos then he’d be Dr. House wouldn’t he? A TV character famously based on the main protagonist in the Sherlock Holmes novels, which I alluded to earlier…Are you even following this?