Far From the MCC brought the sunshine and their usual good humour to Middleton Park this evening as we all looked forwards to an exciting 20/20 thrash.
Russell Turner, a regular MSCC player but skipper of FFTMCC today won the toss and elected to bat. Russell however offered to change his mind and let us bat as we were four players short with ten minutes to go before we started. Apologies for our lateness FFTMCC and thank you for your generosity.
Last player to arrive, Sathya Vadivale brought with him a box containing our new caps. These have been long awaited but looked fantastic when we fielded later sporting our new headwear.
Skipper for the day, Mark Ford-Langstaff elected to open the batting with Howard Lancaster. Mark hit fourteen from the first over and MSCC had reached 29 in only the fourth over when Howard managed to edge on to his shoulder and was caught behind for 8.
Jon O’Neill made his welcome return to the club playing (anywhere) for the first time in a year. The familiar clunk clunk as he bashed the ground during the bowlers run up was reassuring although groundsman Simon Pettit was less than impressed with the damage to his beautifully prepared wicket! Jon’s bat was rejected an over or so later as he sprinted off to find a new blade. This one didn’t work either – bowled two balls later for 6.
Matt Dipple was next in and looked very comfortable as he and Mark put on 38 together. One impressive moment came when Mark and Matt ran a four.
Matt made 21 before he was bowled going for a big shot. Ben Breaker in only his second game of the season saw the ball well and pushed nicely for singles but fell to FFTMCC’s spinner for 6.
Simon Pettit looked in the mood to smash a few boundaries, his first ball disappeared for four. The attempt to bash the ball back over the bowlers’ head looked like it was going for six but was well caught on the boundary. Simon out for 7.
Mark reached 50 and retired not out as was the agreement for the match. A welcome return to form following a few recent disappointments.
Sathya and Stevyn Jackson took us close to the end. Stevyn hit a couple of nice boundaries before missing one and Tim Cranston hit the last ball for four.
MSCC 141 for 6. Would this be enough?
Stevyn Jackson took the gloves, Simon Pettit and Asif Kamal the ball. Both openers were quickly back in the pavilion. Both bowlers had conceded fours through gaps left to tempt the batsmen before each were bowled trying to attempt the same shot. Scoreboard pressure and early wickets meant FFTMCC had a lot of work left to do.
Jim Watson had clearly been watching closely. He conceded a four before bowling the number three in his role as first change bowler.
Russell Turner at number four knows us well and would be a critical to the run chase. Number five was a big hitter and for the run rate started to creep up. Sathya had a couple of overs and did well if you ignore the long hops but it was time to introduce our speedsters, put the brakes on and break the partnership.
Tim Cranston and Matt Dipple bowled six overs for just 18 runs as they did exactly what was required. Tim took the crucial wicket after a series of pressure inducing dot balls bowling their highest scorer who made 27.
Simon Pettit returned to bowl Russell and the number seven to finish with fine figures of 4 overs 3 wickets for just 14 runs.
Sathya completed his overs and induced a superbly executed run out when Jim swooped in the covers and fired in an excellent throw for Stevyn to remove the bails. Our champagne moment.
Asif returned to bowl the final over taking a well-deserved wicket when Mark took the catch at mid on and victory was ours.
Rona Hickman had started the BBQ as she so often does before Ben took over. Thank you, Rona and Ben, much appreciated.
With England playing Australia in the world cup semi-final the following day (Australia currently 14/3! and following that has significantly delayed this report) this was a fine amuse-bouche and thanks once again to Russell and Far From the MCC.