y = ax2 + bx + c is, as you are all aware, the quadratic which describes a parabola. Parabolas played an integral role in the comfortable victory against the bureaucrats of the shire.
The first parabola of the evening was created by the toss of the coin which landed in MSCC’s favour. Fielding first the home team took the field with such promptness that the first ball was bowled before our esteemed groundsman had clicked the padlock to close the shed. From the Church end, Paul Wordsworth dropped onto a length from ball one, whistling through his four overs for just 16 runs. Opening with him Alex Ooms, experimenting with orthodox left arm spin, was a little less accurate but just as likely to take a wicket. Neither took a wicket in their opening spell.
The ability of the human mind to predict the arc of the ball in its parabolic curve is remarkable. Anticipation of the flight, prediction of path and adjustments for wind are made without paper, without pen and without conscious thought allowing the graceful fielder to caress the ball into his cradling hands. MSCC clearly had not read the manual. The first four chances were spilled. One nameless culprit was seen to steam bull like from each ear.
The flattest parabola of the game changed the complexion of the match. Anish Patel chased hard from cover, and his subsequent low, flat throw to Tim House left the OCCSCC opener far short of his ground. Four balls later, the steaming bull was a given a chance of redemption. Stationed at deep extra cover his anticipation of flight, prediction of path and adjustment for wind were perfect and the catch taken. 49 – 2 after the eighth over seemed a good base on which the visitors could build.
The no-longer-steaming bull was called on to bowl. The OCCSCC middle order opted for consolidation rather than attack, the fielders gradually closed in, first a second slip, then a gully and a short leg. The consolidating batter gained a single at the end of the over, the run rate dropped to a crawl.
The more experienced non striking batsman called in vain for a single. Ever alert like a gnu sipping water while lion and cheetah prowl, Nick Moorman surged into action, picking up the ball and diving full length to deliver a diving pass to Tim House at the bowler’s end for the second run out of the innings. The steaming bull at this stage was posted at cover to graze between overs. Three consecutive chases to the boundary left him more panting than steaming much the merriment of the umpire, his son. Many thanks for umpiring Eliot. The panting and steaming must have paid off for at the end of his spell he had conceded only eight runs and taken a wicket courtesy of Alex Ooms catch at mid on.
As the clock ticked toward 7 O’clock the twenty overs were completed first by the Patels, Nish and Kiran, who picked up a wicket a piece and then by Tim and Alex. Alex picked up his wicket only to see his next two deliveries sent for boundaries in a pre-curser of what was to come. The target of 99 looked well short of par.
Howard Lancaster opened and looked to protect his partner by keeping the strike for 15 of the first 18 deliveries. His batting partner, Joe Moorman, was dropped both second and fifth ball that he faced. The waiting batsmen, Messrs Patel and Breaker tightened their pads and adjusted their gloves.
Both batters settled to their task, Joe the more aggressive of the two, Howard content to place the ball and concede the strike. As the target neared Howard felt the urge to be more expansive. And here the tale of the Parabolas reaches its conclusion. Stretching forward and swinging through the arc of the ball fabulous contact followed. The ball sailed sweetly south in its rainbow arc toward the sightscreen. A glorious boundary, but no! Stationed by the pot of gold stood OCCSCC’s senior player Mr Tuck, who tucked the catch. Howard, momentarily crestfallen, returned toward the pavilion.
Kiran had time to dash his way to 14 not out before Joe finished the game, first by reaching his half century courtesy of his second six and then by creating the finest parabolic curve of all. The dream shot is struck off the front foot, rises high over the bowler and is still rising past mid off, only at the sight screen does it start to descend toward the long grass. A great way to win the game.
Thanks to our visitors for competing gamely, and to the committee and ground staff for setting everything up to run so seamlessly. Roll on the rest of the season.