MSCC 198 for 7 J. Mumtaz 50, M. Simpson 33, M. Ford-Langstaff 28
Gipsies 182 for 9 Team effort and 3 “run outs”
Gloucester Gipsies always set us a stern end of season test, usually chasing a MSCC total, and this year was to be no different. The Gipsies’s skipper, Andy Beer won the toss and put us into bat on a fast looking track and blue skies.
The Gipsies had looked very relaxed on arrival, so much so that we started proceedings a little late, although Stevyn Jackson was there before most of the opposition and was padded up to start the innings with Mark Ford-Langstaff. Unlike last week, he was separated from his son in the batting line up by nine players.
Yet another of the Beer dynasty, young Tom, opened their bowling, and MSCC moved gently to 25 before Stevyn somehow reached a wide delivery and feathered one behind. Richard Simpson’s charge towards 1000 runs in the season started, as always, brightly, but the arrival into the attack of Adi Rai, reportedly a Berkshire league player (actually we’re not sure, but he’s good) was his undoing, when Richard was triggered LBW; umpire Michael Simpson.
Mark F-L had moved stylishly to 28 when he faced Adi’s first delivery and promptly fell to an extraordinary reflex catch at slip. 66-3. MSCC were in slight trouble with this excellent bowler on fire. Jay Mumtaz joined Tim House in the middle and they set about calming things down. A determined innings from the captain ended in the over before drinks, with the same bowler claiming his third wicket and figures at this stage of 6-1-18-3, and the home team were back in difficulty at 88 for 4.
But MSCC, like a kangaroo, had a strong backbone and a long and powerful tail. (There the simile ends). First Dan Simpson (15) and then his father Mike (33) joined Jay in building a serious total, all three of them playing exactly the right sort of innings for the moment. Jay reached his 50 with a thunderous boundary but was LBW the following delivery. It was the best innings we had seen from him this year, a lot of it against a top-class spinner. Mike then decided to don a helmet in preparation for his “ramp” shot; he never got the chance and was bowled.
It was up to Martin Randall and Danny Clark to push hard towards tea, which they did brilliantly, adding what turned out to be a vital 24 runs or so in the last three overs. MSCC headed for that tea with a team-built total touching 200.
The Delaneys had flown in to provide the teams, the supporters, the families (and Bake-Off judges no doubt) with their traditional high quality feast. The individual jellied trifles have become folklore at the club, and once again they did not disappoint. Tiered cake-stands added even more glamour to the tea, so it was surprising anyone came onto the field half an hour later, but they did, and batting first up, our now nemesis, Adi Rai.
Michael S aired his surprise Adi didn’t have a bat sponsor, George Williams bowled the perfect line and length delivery, and Richard took a blinder at silly-mid-off; third ball. Was the catching practice beforehand going to pay dividends?
His second over, and Jacob F-L kept charging in, pitched the ball up and was driven a high speed towards the boundary. Hold on. He did. Stevyn, (now) “Jonty” Jackson, leapt and took a stunning, champagne-moment, catch.
The Gipsies, as we knew, should never be underestimated, and they started their revival in the same vein as MSCC had done earlier. Each of their batsmen then started accumulating runs with the Beer brothers looking ominous. Martin Randall however slowed their progress down with a really tight spell, and Danny Clark, although saving his best until later, had the ball spitting and turning.
The run rate had fallen off but MSCC needed wickets. We turned to all-out spin to see what we could coax out of the pitch and out of the Gipsies’s mind-set. The ploy worked when a frustrated Beer charged Richard S and top edged; Simpson Jnr. politely made his way through the barrier of two batmen to take the catch.
With that, the Gipsies showed great spirit and went for the win, albeit knowing that they needed about ten an over to get anywhere near. In the pursuit of glory, the match heated up as they swung at, and ran everything. For a while the team looked nervy, some were particularly fractious and looking back at it would probably agree, for a heated few overs, they embarrassed themselves and the club.
However, true class usually comes to the fore and Danny Clark set about a master-class in fielding and accuracy as he firstly ran out the stubborn (in the batting sense) opener with a direct hit from the boundary edge, and then followed it up with a similar return to have one of the quicker youngsters run out. A third run out minutes later made the game very exciting as the Gipsies still went for it. Their excellent number 8, Wills Snr., moved past 50, seemingly with no concerns, except a blip behind the stumps, and another flying (yes) effort from S. Jonty-Jackson who narrowly missed out on a double champagne moment, which of course would have been a magnum moment.
Bellfield padded up and left expertly to see out the final one. One side was a wicket away from a fair win, and the other only a few runs away from a fair win. That’s cricket. Thanks must go to our regular visitors, the Gipsies, for making it such a good match with their use of bowlers and the spirit of the run chase. The ground looked and played great, so thank you Nick, and also to Jason W who kindly came along and found himself short-order grill chef for a while. A pretty good team and club effort all round.