On winning the toss, I put Blenheim Park in to bat first. This was a mistake. They scored 139 for 5 in their 20 overs and we batted in the gloom. Mind you, we also struggled to see the pink ball in the field, with several catches dropped, not all of them by Mark Ford-Langstaff.
On the plus side, our young stars bowled well, George Williams opening with two overs for only two runs and Jacob Ford-Langstaff bowling a maiden when he came on for the seventh over. George returned after his initial three over spell to bowl the final over of the innings and still only conceded 11 runs from his four overs. Jacob took a wicket, once he realised his father and others weren’t going to catch anything, by bowling one of their openers for 28 and finished his four overs in a row with figures of 1 for 23. Meanwhile, Asif Kamal had opened at the other end, followed by Rob Barton. Blenheim Park accelerated, raising their rate from five an over for the first nine to seven an over by the end of the tenth (thanks, Rob) and maintaining that all the way through to reach 139 for 5. Matt Dipple clean bowled his first two victims and then Russell Turner held on to a very firmly hit drive at mid-off for Matt’s third. Simon Pettit bowled the other opener for 51.
Blenheim Park also only took one catch, an easy one in their spinner’s first over. His fourth wicket was a smart stumping. Six of our batsmen were bowled. The other two were the spinner’s middle wickets, both given out LBW by Mark Ford-Langstaff. One was Simon Pettit and the other was Jacob Ford-Langstaff, who had just hit the faster bowler at the other end for a spectacular, champagne moment award-winning 6. Tim House at number 3 had raced to 39, taking us ahead of Blenheim Park after nine overs. After Tim was caught, however, we decelerated. Their other taker of four wickets was even on a hat-trick. Once again our younger players shone, this time as the only two other batsmen to reach double figures, George Williams at number 7 scoring 20 and only getting out by attempting to hit the last ball of the game for 6, with Jacob at 8 making 11. The other eight of us managed 14 runs between us, half of those coming from Nick Moorman. Or, to put it another way, seven of us scored 7 between us. I was 1 not out, just saying, which brought my total for the season to 1. Others, though, seemed to have found batting difficult. Some attributed this, as we finished at 8.45, to my decision to give our opponents the best of the light. Sorry. They bowled us out for 93 on the last ball of our 20 overs.
Rona Hickman got the barbecue started, yet again, and Jason Williams took over, while Tim Cranston ran the bar. Since Rona, Jason and Tim were not playing, that was very good of them. Blenheim kindly kept our score-book as well as theirs up to date, as Matt Dipple and I did for them. Rob Barton and Asif Kamal umpired, followed by Mark Ford-Langstaff and Russell Turner. Nick Moorman jogged round the boundary to collect the flags, many of them recording Mark Ford-Langstaff’s prowess in fielding and photography. Blenheim Park were good fun and stayed late at the bar and the barbecue.
There was much debate as to whether Mark Ford-Langstaff had ever given as many LBW decisions as he had scored runs in a match and whether he had ever dropped more catches than he had scored runs or given LBWs. In particular, he was praised for his boldness in insisting, with a loud call, that he would take responsibility for catching a high ball from extra cover since the bowler was his son (although he did not spell out that last bit, even though there was time to do so as the ball hung in mid-air), even though George Williams at cover point could easily have taken it. The rugby player Dick Spring dropped a high ball similarly for Ireland in 1979 but went on to become Tanaiste or deputy prime minister despite people going on about this one incident constantly throughout his life. Jacob, to his credit, made no fuss either then or when given out LBW by his father.