Middleton Stoney 143 for 6 in 20 overs. Far From The MCC 112 for 3 in 20 overs. Middleton Stoney won by 31 runs.
Far From The MCC suggested our first T20 of the season should be played according to their rules of batsmen retiring at 30 and bowlers having a maximum of 4 overs each. We do not normally play to either of those rules so we compromised on retiring at 50, which was just as well because Richard Simpson scored 30 off the second over alone. At this stage, Far From The MCC might have been regretting their decision, having won the toss, to field first. Every delay in finding the ball meant it would be even darker when they would be facing our pace attack.
Still, they had thwarted our left-handed big hitter’s plan to celebrate Sir Gary Sobers’ 80th birthday with six sixes in an over. This over went for 4, 4, 6, 6, 4, 6. That made the opening over seem rather tame: dot, 1, 2, dot, 4, 4. With Mark Ford-Langstaff already on 10, therefore, Richard on 31 and the single extra, we were 42 for 0 after two overs. Richard soon had to retire, however, on reaching 52, Mark was bowled for 14, then Jon Springer hit one in the air and was caught for 3. Thereafter, Far From The MCC bowled well, their fourth bowler even starting with a wicket maiden. Andrew Willcock took charge, scoring a fine 34, well supported by Stevyn Jackson with 15 and Paul Wordsworth who was 13 not out. Jay Mumtaz made his season debut and Olly Selway batted at 8, in recognition of his 18 opening against Didcot last Sunday. They were out for 0 and 1 respectively. Stuart Midson was 1 not out. Jacob Ford-Langstaff and I did not bat and we reached 143 for 6 at the end of our 20 overs.
We used ten bowlers, leaving Stevyn Jackson to keep wicket and take a superb catch, diving at full stretch, off the bowling of Stuart Midson. The batsman was one of their openers, the only one of their five not to get into the twenties. His fellow opener, the prize wicket of Middleton Stoney resident Russell Turner, was also out to Stuart, in his case bowled. Andrew Willcock took the other wicket, also clean bowled. Eight of us failed to take a wicket in our over or overs as Far From The MCC compiled a respectable score of 112 for 3. Olly Selway and Jacob Ford-Langstaff opened the bowling with three overs each, returning to complete their quotas with the nineteenth and twentieth overs. The quartet of Stuart Midson, Paul Wordsworth, Andrew Willcock and Jay Mumtaz had two overs each. Richard Simpson, bowling in his faster style, Mark Ford-Langstaff, Jon Springer and I had a single over each. Of our nine pace bowlers, the most dangerous in the gathering gloom were Andrew and Jacob. One of Andrew’s overs led to both batsmen calling for their helmets. Thirteen year old Jacob’s last over in his first spell and his last over of the game both contained hostile bouncers. Stuart Midson’s fielding and Stevyn Jackson’s keeping were almost as aggressive.
Meanwhile, chairman Peter Van de Kerkhof had taken charge of the barbecue as Far From The MCC supporters were not here just for the cricket. Paul Wordsworth took over and the opposition supporters kept coming until all supplies were exhausted. Richard Simpson was also kept busy behind the bar. A quota of four (burgers or drinks) each may have to be introduced next year or at least a rule that you retire after 50. Thanks to Far From The MCC who kept going until it was pitch black, and that was just when Jacob was bowling bouncers at them.