V&A v. Eratics
7th June 2014
V&A v. Andy Taylor XI
21st June 2014
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V&A v. Chris Mounsey-Thear XI

… and now the buck has been passed to me, ideally very briefly, to summarise the match.

Well, the less said the better. It was a wretched V&A batting response to a good session in the field. The domino cascade of dismissals ran right through the side and, worse still, no one could quite say how and why.

Nick Emley, our captain for the day, marched around in his Air Force One jacket producing bits of paper with all our respective roles and positions. It had been thoroughly thought through!

He won the toss and put them in, agreeing on the standard 35 over game. Dennis and Lachlan bowled with their normal precision, penetration and miserliness and their openers rode their luck, broken only by a suicidal run out when one of them seemed to drift into a second run, oblivious of an amazingly strong throw to the keeper by Andy Taylor.

The V&A fielded as strong a team as any we have had this century and what a luxury to have CM-T coming on first change, ably assisted by Christiaan. Chris bustling in with his in-cutters was too brisk to give much away and jointly they took out their middle order. I got smashed for 2 sixes by their flat-track bullying ex-copper though I accept this may not make the final edit.

Catches were offered aplenty as the sluggish bounce lifted the drive. But we spilled both the easy and the hard, where valiant efforts were made by our captain and CM-T. Their opener, dropped I counted at least 4 times, ended up with 70 odd and though wickets tumbled regularly, it was the Lachlan second spell, I suspect from his favoured end, that reduced them from an average 70 for 3 off 20 to a meager 130 odd all out. No better sight than middle stumps flattened, particularly when they belong to the Arts Club, with whom we have enjoyed shared spoils and at a classy level of competition.

Coming to terms with the pitch was perhaps a factor for the low scores all match. Their square leg umpire asked me what was a good score at Stonor and I said 175 was par and above 200 should win and, though maybe their 130 was better than it seemed, we went into the break feeling quietly confident.

Thanks to Nick and Jane, lunch was more than THE USUAL FARE, and likewise the cakes at tea should have sent the fielding side into those five overs of torpor. But their opener de Jaeger bowled very tightly and snapped up both Taylors. Lachlan joined Ross and were hard to distinguish in their helmets and stance. But de Jaeger persisted with his spell of a spell before catching Lachlan brilliantly off his own bowling in a manner not seen by us since the equally vital success of Sunil against the Hermits at Turville two years ago.

The wickets continued to tumble before any partnerships came to fruition. We were hanging on with every reminder of what the tail could achieve but nothing improved and our misery was complete. We were all out for 70 odd.

We do not do huddles or pep talks but places are now highly sought after, and with Nicky and Rupert due to return, who knows what a Brian Clough or Boycott would say and do. The positives were in our bowling. The highlight, for me, was the timing with which Rupert blithely arrived in our dressing room to console us.