Great Missenden Pelicans won the toss and asked Middleton Stoney to bat first. We opened with Joe Moorman and Dan Simpson, who put on 73 before Dan was bowled. Dan hit one six to the long boundary. Joe hit two in other directions, one of which went over the hedge out of the ground and over the cars driving along the adjacent road.
Jon Springer was due to bat at 3 but was suffering from a nose bleed so Andrew Willcock stepped up, went in and was immediately bowled by ‘the slower one’. Hence one of our Australian debutants, Angus Williams, was suddenly needed in the middle, much to his not-yet-padded-up surprise. Joe Moorman departed for an excellent 42 and we were 75 for 3.
Our other Australian newcomer, Sam Young, came in and started to hit, with two 6s of his own in his first 14 runs. We were 90 for 4 when Angus was out LBW.
Jon Springer bravely then made an appearance and batted well, though he himself was still unwell. Sometimes at Middleton Stoney, it’s a rush of blood to the head which encourages attempts at hitting a six but this time it was Jon’s punchy 6 which brought back the nose bleeds and he had to retire hurt or, more precisely, ill. Those who know Jon’s grasp of his, and others’, statistics, wondered if reaching 21 meant he had scored enough to top the averages and had adopted a Harlequins’ blood-gate method of strategic injury as this has to be recorded under Law 2.9.a as ‘Retired – not out’.
Stevyn Jackson came in at 7 and stayed to the end of our innings. Richard Morris and Liam Randall came in at 8 & 9 and didn’t stay, out for 0 and 4 respectively, although Liam’s boundary was a good shot. Sam Young had shown every sign of scoring a half-century on his debut but was caught on 39.
So when Tim Cranston at number 10 joined Stevyn Jackson, we were at risk of being all out for under 160 but their partnership took us to 185 and then I came in at number 11 (4 not out, so total and therefore average now in double figures, just saying) to support Stevyn as he took us past 200. He sacrificed his wicket on the stroke of tea-time and was bowled for an impressive 24.
Liam Randall, also making his debut for the season, in his case in a smart club shirt (available through Trysports), had thoughtfully put the oven on for a hot tea, which was well received. Martin, who had volunteered to step aside in favour of his son (from playing, not from putting the oven on – keep up) had already been corralled into umpiring and scoring. Now he was asked to field as 12th Man in the absence of Jon. Martin tried the old ‘would love to but no spare kit’ line but Middleton Stoney kit was found (no, Olly, it wasn’t yours from last year’s away game, that was at Turville Park). Martin fielded splendidly.
The crowd had remained constant throughout our innings, consisting entirely of visiting Australian supporters in Ben and Owen. But now, as Great Missenden went out to bat, our club chairman and family arrived, closely followed by Team Williams. Peter Van de Kerkhof and Jay Mumtaz had given up their places to our visiting Australians. Peter was taken aback to see what appeared to be his doppelganger opening the bowling from the car-park/Nag’s Head end. Sam Young raced in, his first two deliveries came in sharply and bounced high to unsettle their opener. Tim Cranston had bowled the first over from the high speed train end. Each opening bowler soon took a wicket with good deliveries being edged to the keeper and Richard Morris taking fine catches. Then their number 3 popped a ball from Tim in the direction of Liam Randall who took the catch easily. Liam came on at the crowd-pleasing end and opened his spell by clean bowling their number 4.
At the end of Tim Cranston’s first spell, their number 5 was stumped for a duck. The batsman and the bowler seemed nonplussed. Tim Cranston is our expert, multi-coloured-pen-owning, scorer so we had assumed that he understood the basics of cricket. He was pleasantly surprised, however, to learn that stumpings count as a dismissal to the bowler. As Richard Morris set up a commanding lead in the fielding dismissals, two catches and this stumping taking him to 9, Tim became more interested on learning it also took him to the top of the ‘wickets taken’ table. Most of our opening bowlers do not like the keeper standing up to them (in any sense), but now it all looked different. As to whether it was a stumping, as opposed to a run out, or as opposed to their umpire not spotting that their player had got back into his crease, ill-informed opinions differed. The Laws, as ever, are clear:
‘Law 39 (Stumped)
1. Out Stumped
(a) The striker is out Stumped, except as in 3 below, if,
(i) a ball which is not a No ball is delivered, and
(ii) he is out of his ground, other than as in 3(a) below, and
(iii) he has not attempted a run, when
(iv) his wicket is fairly put down by the wicket-keeper without the intervention of another fielder.
(b) The striker is out Stumped if all the conditions of (a) above are satisfied, even though a decision of Run out would be justified.’
As last week, then, we took their top order wickets cheaply but struggled to make breakthroughs thereafter. While Liam continued his spell, Andrew Willcock, Angus Williams and Joe Moorman all bowled well at the other end. I had a couple of overs (0 for 1) and then brought back Sam and Tim. Through all these variations, we only took two more wickets, each well caught by Australian Angus Williams, one off the bowling of Liam Randall, the other from Sam Young. So Tim Cranston took 3 for 29 off 9 overs, Sam Young 2 for 9 off 9 overs, and Liam Randall 2 for 18 off 8. Great Missenden batted well at numbers 7 and 8 to hold on at 95 for 7.
The champagne moment was an all-Australian sparkling dismissal as Angus Williams (of Australia and MSCC) took his second catch of the game, this time in the second spell of Sam Young (of Australia and MSCC). Many thanks to Angus and Sam for becoming (on an official re-count) the 49th and 50th cricketers to play for Middleton Stoney this season.