All is well with the world ( with a few notable and worrying provisos) when the rain arrives and extends the tea break, but clears to leave bright skies to finish the game. All is better with the world when the game ends in victory, the tyros of the team have days to remember and the opposition stay to enjoy beers, barbecue and bonhomie.
The wicket was one of Groundsman Nick's firmest offerings, saved from inundation by Simon P's alert response to the passing occluded front. Mustering for a prompt 2.00pm start, The Old Boys won the toss and elected to field. Having only 8 players at this point it seemed an optimistic decision. Once again inserted, the MSCC opening pair of Moorman the youngest and Tim Riley raced to 43 before Tim was bowled aiming an extravagant drive through extra cover. Joe had by this time sped to 25, timing the ball exquisitely and finding the boundary at will. Tim R was replaced by Tim H. Tim played vibrantly, controlling the strike, Joe picked off the balls he managed to face for singles. Both arrived 49 in tandem, Tim reached 50 first at which point he picked the wizened figure of the OL's club President, grazing contently at mid on, and lobbed an on drive into his welcoming grasp.
Mark Ford Langstaff was next to join the now free striking Moorman. Joe's shot selection became more ruthless. His half century was gained with a superlative straight drive, and the boundary began to seem far too close to the OL bowlers. With Joe heading toward three figures Mark returned to the Pavilion for a steady 28. Batting with a swollen and bruised right hand Jay Mumtaz did his best to guide Joe to his milestone. At 86 not out with the time to tea fast approaching there were nervous glances at the clock, at Jay and at Joe. Joe ignored all these distractions and smote first a mighty straight six and then two full tosses to the mid wicket boundary to achieve the second Moorman century of the season. Simon Petit meanwhile had unpadded, expecting the declaration. Joe finally fell and Stevyn Jackson took to the crease, Simon repadded. Simon soon walked out to the non strikers end, and one ball later the declaration came.
Stuart Batts and Abi had put together one of the most spectacular teas. To aid the uncertain, dainty labels, decorated with bats and balls, added to the occasion. More than one player was content to enjoy a second plateful as the light summer rain sprinkled the sward. Indeed one or two players would have been grateful for more rain, and third helpings, so good was the spread.
MSCC were hoping that the OL's would make a genuine chase. 223 was a big total, the fifth time in five innings batting first that 200+ has been attained by the home team. Simon Petit and Rob Barton took the new ball, trying hard to keep the ball the dry on the rain dampened ground. After 8 wicket less overs and 32 OL runs it was Simon who drew first blood. He followed a ball the batsman had left which missed the off stump by a whisker with a ball that did not miss the off stump. In his next over he found a little lifter which Richard Morris gratefully pouched behind the stumps . After five steady overs, Rob Barton was replaced by Jack Morris. Jack flighted the ball with great control and teased the batsmen but at first did not breakthrough. Batsmen Barret and Powers began to grow in confidence, Barret depositing Simon P deep into the undergrowth for a maximum. With the last twenty overs approaching and the OL's needing seven an over with 8 wickets in hand the game was in a state of equilibrium. As the clock ticked past six o'clock and in his fifth over Jack struck, having Barret caught comfortably at cover by Tim House. " Well bowled, take a rest said the skipper"......."surely no" chorused the rank and file.
Meanwhile Tim Riley followed Simon Petit from the Farm end. Simon Lee very nearly held onto a sharp chance at short mid off, Richard Morris let slip a tricky catch behind the stump. Resuming from the Church end Jack, politely allowed an extra over chose to strike twice in two balls, firstly removing the genial giant, Shreyas, stumped with aid of his father and then the younger Allen, on a day trip from Exeter, LBW for a first baller. Tim joined in the fun trapping the obdurate Allen Senior LBW and then having Richard Morris busy behind the stumps with a second catch and second stumping. Jack strode to his end ready to ball, like Trueman in his pomp which captain would now dare to take the ball from his hand?
Jacks fourth and final wicket was President Carter of the OL's baffled, bemused and bowled. But his fifth and the teams final wicket would not fall and Jack gallantly suggested it was time for the next bowler to have a go. Simon Lee whirled an arm enthusiastically ready to take over. At the the Farm end, Joe had replaced Tim. Joe successfully shattered the last man's stumps in a fitting end to the day.
As the sun lowered, Richard manned the baa baa que...... ( lamb was on offer) and Simon the baa a very satisfactory day all round.