In the car, Nicky Bird chuntered on about how courtroom TV dramas fail to get the details right. Misuse of a gavel, no delineation between barrister and solicitor, a high court judge peering down from the bench at a shoplifter’s first hearing. It’s either a mistake, or they just can’t be bothered, he said.
Against a growing tide of shortcuts and bitesize, there is a need for sticklers, like Nicky, to stand up and say “no, we’re not avin it guv”. In much the same way, long-form cricket on a Saturday in Stonor, is a tradition to be treasured and defended. It’s a holy grail. And as our Christiaan relic rightly pointed out (when their umpire enquired whether a ‘no-ball’ resulted in a ‘free hit’): “No!…this is PROPER cricket”.
We were playing the GTs (see Phil Goodliffe’s email for background and more), captained by an amiable fellow in Miles Martin. Goodliffe kindly lent me a coin to do the toss, with ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ engraved. I half expected it to be a merk coin minted with ‘Nemo me impune lacessit’, but it wasn’t. A missed opportunity. Anyway, the cursed thing lost the toss for the V&A on this bright sunny day and Miles stuck their chaps into bat.
Unwise. 1 for 2 in the first over, both gawn with their stumps in a mess at the hands of Lachlan. The pitch, as dry as it has been all year, offered a degree of spring and lift. Probably not enough, though, to deny Lachlan a third wicket, hitting the toe (in front of middle) of their only batsman to pass 10. These things happen. Lachlan, a mild-mannered and typically relaxed fast bowler, sought out the umpire for a jovial tête-à-tête. Attentisme broke out, rather than peace.
Some Farokh Engineering was needed to secure the bails for a while and make a day of it. The former Lancashire & India keeper, though, may not have conceded all 69 extras which followed in our fielding innings, of which 29 were byes and leg byes. Frankly, it helped. Even I didn’t fancy the Golden Ball at noon.
By lunch at 13:30, the oppo were 70 odd for 5. Roast beef and potato salad with mustard dressing was knocking about, but no wine, because I had hopelessly left ours in London. No help though for sober Derewlany, who grassed the first ball after the break from Otto Gundry’s bowling. Otto, whose father Owen also plays (and paints, it turns out), has an exuberant style, bounding up to the wicket and lobbing the ball, with decent lick and movement, right bloody up there. Not bad for 13. He picked up 2 for.
Derelwany soon recused himself by picking up a wicket and then executing a spectacular run-out. Gary Pratt throw, Shane Warne celebration. And that brings me to Baz Street. He’s one hell of a player, isn’t he? Bowls left arm darts, has a full ginger beard, a 25 year old girlfriend (he’s 30), and match figures of 3 for 5 off 7. Superb.
We needed just 136 with the bat from our 35 overs. We’ve chased poorly this season though and were light in the batting department, on paper anyway, with Nichal having to depart home early. Poynter, entrusted at the top with chasing down the target, left Derewlany chasing the wind in search of a quick single. Thereafter, Chelsea Potter Poynter barely ran again. Stroke after stroke hit the invisible picket fence, with 12 fours and 2 sixes on his way to a vintage 76*. Baz (short for Sebastian, not Barry, if you go to Bryanston apparently) was an able partner to his former schoolmate, sweeping sweetly to make 37 before being dismissed down the track to their skipper.
Lachlan, who umpired late on, caused much consternation in declining to give anything out. Reciprocal tariffs at the Nieborder, attentisme ended, revenge sour. One young member of the GT’s was so incensed, he kicked his cap to the boundary, shouting something about “public school toffs”. This duly set Nicky off, swivelling on enquiry into the schooling of everyone around him, before concluding: “well, probably we are”. Not guilty, Your Honour.