The annual intra-club game sees the largest convergence of current, past, and possibly future MSCC players at the ground at one time, as well as a very welcome crowd of friends, families and spectators.
This year, the sides were split between the longest serving playing members under the President’s banner and patronage, including the very welcome return of Anthony Cripps, against the newer, or “emerging” players, led by the club captain Simon Lee, who in reality, along with James Mitchell, had emerged a while back now.
In the spirit of encouraging the growth of the club, the “Emerging XI” also fielded two debutants, (from the Rees family), two playing their second ever game for the club, and two playing their first game of the current season.
Having played on tracks that were akin to July up until this weekend, there was a suspicion that due to recent, and changing, weather conditions this would be a trickier strip to score runs on. No doubt with that in mind, Simon Lee, having won the toss chose to make the President’s XI bat first and the game was afoot.
Nick Thompson, hampered by a bad back, was persuaded to open, as his skipper confidently overruled the doctor’s prognosis. Opening with him was Mark Ford-Langstaff, eagerly awaiting his “trial by son”, who was as eagerly marking out his run-up, having been selected for the opposition.
The scorebook doesn’t record it, but we believe that Jacob, during an impressive spell of eight overs for only 19 runs, bounced his father as well as yorking him straight on the foot. In return, Mark drove his son imperiously for four, before being deceived by a straighter one from James Mitchell [it moved a mile! - Ed] and after nine overs, the President’s men were 19 for 1. Nick Thompson continued serenely to hold up one end, straight bat and straight back, but after seventy minutes at the crease and 26 elegantly crafted runs he could go on no further and retired hurt. Not an average innings on all counts. 80 on the board with fifty minutes of batting and plenty of wickets for the President’s to use.
Sathya Vadivale had by this stage settled into a chanceless and measured innings and kept the scoreboard ticking with a blend of hammer blows and deft touches. Tim House, captaining his side, sensed the chance to up the tempo at the other end and went after most of the deliveries he faced, finally falling for a quick-fire 44, to James Mitchell who had been brought back into to the attack to do exactly that.
Sathya had vitally passed 50 by then and continued to lead the charge on his way to an impressive 70 not out. David Cole, returning to the club and to the middle order, took one for the club (2) as did Paul Wordsworth (2) which left James Mitchell with great figures of 4 for 52 off 10 overs; Tim declared, graciously four balls before tea…Simon used eight bowlers in the 40 over innings.
The pavilion seemed more crowded than ever at tea time. The Georgina Lamb – Patricia Lee combination very much lived up to their reputation and exceeded expectations in providing a classic MSCC tea. The bell received a groan from the players which tells you everything.
Stevyn Jackson and Tim Riley emerged (see) to open the innings, while the Chairman and the Professor threw down the gauntlet, and the ball. Two and a half tight overs with one run on the board saw Tim Riley fall to Peter van de Kerkhof, unluckily, as the ball trickled back off his defensive shot and dislodged a bail.
All the President’s men were smiling for thirty seconds when Jay Mumtaz smote (yes, the word was invented for that shot) his welcoming delivery somewhere to the leg-side, although none of us saw it until it was in the long grass. He was in the mood, and it seemed possible that it could be his day.
When Stevyn perished on 1, impressively and decisively caught by Jack Morris, Wil Harris arrived; now we had two lads who hit the ball mighty hard. Wil did. Straight to Sathya. 19 for 3. Jonathan Rees on debut went for 1 to Paul Wordsworth and the two openers rested with two wickets each. Jim Watson fell to a screamer of a catch by Mark F-L, one of two for him on the day. It should also be noted that Mark's first delivery to his son smacked Jacob full in the ribs - "good parenting skills Mark" was heard.
Jack Morris took over, controlling the strike rate with an immaculate display of flight and guile. Adrian Langdale had started to prop up the middle order, but Jack snared him just when he looked set. At the other end, Jay continued to make hay, but when he fell to Olly Selway’s spin for 48, the fielding side sensed their chance. The highlight and Champagne moment came with another family double-act, when young Nick Rees was dismissed, stumped (R) Morris bowled (J) Morris.
James M, Jacob F-L and Simon L gamely held on for a while, but the fielding was strong and the wickets kept coming; eventually, just past 7pm as the light changed, the smoke from the BBQ beckoned and the noise in the bar drowned out James Mitchell’s chatter, the Emergent XI were skittled out for 87, Jason Williams finishing off the honours; the day was done, the game was won. The first five bowlers all took two wickets each.
We are lucky to have and enjoy such a supportive and generous President, and once again Ian and Julia Davenport treated the club to the teas and drinks, which were all hugely appreciated as the club enjoyed the friendly environment that has been built up at Middleton Stoney Cricket Club.