It was an action packed game, with centuries on both teams, a hat-trick and a thrilling final over.
Pitching up at Stratfield Brake Sports Ground, there wasn’t a pitch ready and waiting, instead there was one field with a lush green square, another field with the covers still on and an assistant manager who knew sweet fanny-adams and kept asking us to wait until his manager arrived, who was right round the corner at the local Sainsbury and would be here very soon. Yeah right!
David and Jim (Copeman – Scottie debutant) took the initiative and decided to remove the covers from the square and see if we could get a game started. The opposition captain was eager to get going and obviously had a strong batting line-up as he asked if each bowler could bowl eight overs in a 35 over game – it’s a friendly, so why not… “Sure thing Dave, eight per bowler”. Seeing people removing the covers Dave then asked if we could toss. We headed out and Dave didn’t even look at the square and said, “Ready?”. I wasn’t sure what we should do, but tossed and Dave called tails, tails it was. “We’ll bowl!”, no hesitation or deliberation. Well at least I didn’t need to decide…
The mysterious manager turned up and it appeared that there were no boundary markers or stumps. Kidlington CC had everything locked up and even though you can hire a square, that’s all you’re hiring. To be fair, our awesome President and Tea-Maker had warned me to bring stumps, but a couple of eager beavers packed the car and I forgot the stumps – doh! I did have bails in my bag, as did the umpire. At least it wasn’t 100% village!
With two pairs of plastic stumps found in the nets (one set were buggered) play started while I rushed down the A34 to a Sports Direct, I was assured contained stumps on sale. I arrived and managed to find two pairs of spring stumps (no normal stumps available)… not great, but better than the classy plastic stumps we had.
Two pairs of spring stumps purchased, I then careened back the the ground, only to get there to find the idiotic salesperson had sold me one set of adult stumps and one set of youth stumps… FFS!! And to top it off, the youth stumps didn’t contain any bails. Double FFS!!
Unbeknownst to me, the one plastic set were so rubbish, they were rotating the decent plastic stumps every over. Now at least we had a decent pair of spring stumps and a decent [enough] pair of plastic stumps – rotation was no longer needed.
Most surprising, after all my toing and froing, was the opening pair of Mr Hunt and Mr Daniels were still going strong and shortly after I arrived back passed a century partnership, but it was not to last as one of the Butler fielders held a catch and Jim was gone for 42.
While I was stump shopping, Lisa had quickly [and quietly] arrived and delivered a top-class tea and then did a runner… something about her family being more important than the needs of 22 willow and leather obsessed blokes.
Dan Mitchell, a Sunday game debutant (not a complete debutant, as he has toured with Scotts this year) was in at three and looked to settle in on pitch that took a little getting used too. While Dan was trying to get to grips with the pitch, Paul Daniels was taking the bowling apart and brought up his century in style. Dan, while on 7, hit a great shot that the mid-wicket unfortunately managed to somehow get a paw under while falling over. It was an incredible catch and one that no one should ever feel bad getting out to…
Next debutant Jim Copeman, who’d looked great in the nets, and received a sound piece of advice from centurion Daniels, about having a look first. His first ball was an awful ball down the leg-side that should have been called a wide (umpiring, I’d begun to signal the wide, before I realised he’d hit it), however Jim somehow managed to get bat on it and send it straight down the neck of fine leg. Suddenly the bowler, T Wilson, was on a hat-trick.
In strode Prateek, and Butler’s skipper put all the men round the bat. In ran the bowler and tried a bouncer which bounced and was on it’s way down when Prateek attempted a pull and proceeded to knick it to McCormack behind the stumps who juggled it and almost, put it down, almost, but not quite. The Butler XI were cock-a-hoop. 162 for 1 was 162 for 4 and Wilson had a hat-trick. Wilson, having not yet conceded a run, proceeded to bowl two wides and took no further wickets. The skipper then immediately pulled T Wilson from the attack, stating he was protecting his average.
Mr Stoddart (from Mr Daniel’s Alma Mater) took to the middle and a sense of normality resumed… by normality, I mean the Butler boys dropping catches and allowing Stoddart to continue adding runs. It looked like Paul and David had spent years batting together. The opening bowler returned and Paul managed to play round a straight one and was out LBW for 124. Great innings and one that gave the team impetus.
Jimmy CS and his bat, which had been made from a willow tree in his village, that, one, WG Grace once urinated against just before it was struck by lightening, strode to the middle, proceeded to score a run and then hit it to a fielder. 210 for 6 and only a few more overs to go. Tommy “Panther” Mac looking to up the scoring rate, hit two great fours off sequential overs and then also got caught with nine balls of the innings remaining. Final over and hat-trick boy Wilson is brought back, deciding to bowl spin, instead of his medium pace… first ball and Stoddart edged an innocuous ball onto his stumps, gone for a respectable 28.
Enter Tomlinscote School and Sixth Form College’s newest head-boy, Dan “Cookerooni” Cooke for his second season at Captain Scott. He blocked the first ball, knocked his second for to mid-wicket for a single and then proceeded to tell the umpire at the non-striker’s end, Jim Copeman, that he’d just scored his first ever run! Dan was off the mark in more ways than one. Another single and Dan was back on strike. Dan then hit another ball to mid-wicket and scampered his second run on the final ball of the final over. Two not out, twice the amount of runs scored in four innings last season. Well done Dan, and I hope your cricket career is long and enjoyable. We at Captain Scott look forward to watching you grow in the coming years!
That was tea and the Butler XI had to chase 229 in 35 overs for the win. It was a great tea and I have to admit, I completely over indulged on the prawn mayo sandwiches. They were mighty fine!! Thanks Lisa!!
We started brightly enough with T Wilson, the bowling hero, going for a duck on the fourth ball of the first over. 1 for 1. Enter their dark horse and ringer, a Saffa with an Aidan-esque build, who apparently had his sense of humour removed by immigration when he arrived on these shores.
The game proceeded to ebb and flow, a few tight overs and then the release. We eventually removed Steve McCormack for 56 and it was 122-2, enter their big-hitter who’d pulled his groin while fielding, so was accompanied by a runner. His first scoring shot was a large six over cow, after he’d sashayed (groin and all) down the pitch. Pulled his groin you say… not just a lumber-some cart-horse, who needs a runner to turn singles into quick twos? A single and then a four and then bowled, their big-hitter could rest his injury. 140-3 and in strode Tom Cruise from Risky Business wearing a cricket helmet. A partnership of nine and Tommy Mac was in the wickets again, a large hoick, slick glove work, a foot stuck in the pitch and Prateek had an actual stumping to his name. 149-4.
At this stage I could turn to Magic and asking him their required rate, I was then fed, runs required, balls remaining and their required rate… Who would hold their nerve?
Batsman number six, not very long in the legs, joined the party and after adding two to his name, decided a second run to put the surly Saffa back on strike, was a good idea, obviously hadn’t heard that you don’t run on a misfield. Dan Mitchell grabbed the ball, fired and hit the stumps… stumpy was out and unhappy about it. 156-5.
In strode, the silver fox, David Price QC, of Fleet Street. Tom and Dan were bowling well and bringing a halt to the runs and causing the run rate to increase. At this point there was a load going on and I think it got to a point that they needed 34 from 4 overs. seven runs off the 32nd over and eight from the 33rd over and they needed 19 from the last 12 balls.
My final over, dot, dot, dot, single, dot, wide (doh) and a four, three metre’s from Paulie on the short boundary, but difficult to stop. We were still in with a chance…
They needed 13 from the last six balls. Dan Mitchell entrusted with the final over… He ran up and delivered the first ball to the Saffa, who’d now passed his hundred but due to his team-mates poor scoring had him on 91, he hit it straight and long, six runs. Seven from five balls. Squeaky. Bum. Time!
Seven from four balls.
They could only manage a single and David was on strike. Six from three.
Dan ran in and David cut it to deep backward point on the boundary, two was the shout. I chased the ball as it rushed towards the boundary, Tommy Mac fielded on the boundary and pushed the ball towards me. I grabbed it and cannoned it back to Prateek who whipped off the bails, David was short of his ground. He was out and they’d only scored a single, 224-6.
Five from two balls and the new batsman was on strike, with the Saffa stranded down the other end, his sense of humour being closely watched by Sajid Javid’s staff. The field was brought up to stop a single or a suicide run.
Dot. Straight into Prateek’s gloves. No chance of a single. It wasn’t over, but we were in the driving seat.
Five from one (a four to tie or a six to win)
The Captain Scott Invitation XI had won by four runs and still had a 100% record for Sunday Friendlies in 2018. The Butler XI were both physically and mentally beaten, they’d snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. Bet David Price now wished they had batted first.
Great game and well done to the match day XI. All round great performance…
The scorecard can be found here