As the milky clouds hung on the horizon on the morning of 23 June, the fine group of gents at Shalford Cricket Club prepared the wicket in time for a grudge match to last the ages. Or rather, a very friendly game of cricket and BBQ afterwards. Never mind the clouds, the hangover the author turned up with was utterly thunderous. Thank god, Scotties were allowed to go into bat first (the skipper was, naturally, late – with me in tow). This is usually where there is a few sentences dedicated to the unfurling, silky shots played the Scotties openers, or anyone called Watson. This would then usually be followed with a few observations about some huge Shanghai-slice and the skipper trying to threaten some windows in the nearest postcode. I was asleep on the boundary however, and saw basically nothing until Ben awoke me with the worrying news that I may have to go in to bat. (Luckily I didn’t have to). The skipper came off and said something about a Pelican, but as far as I can remember he was far more interested in Birds when they come from New York. Hats should be duly cocked to openers Jimmy Slatts, (fresh from a victorious day at Ascot, and ready to keep riding his luck here) and Watson, D(an) with fine scores of 53 and 51 respectively, both out to Shalford’s David Shilcock. Brother and sister pairing Oliver and Jessica Rowe then shared the majority of the wickets with 2, and 3 each.
Thank god for tea. Thank even more gods that it was really excellent. A plethora of delicious treats awaited us. Homemade quiche, pies, sausages things. Our cups runneth over. My hangover finally cleared. The sun came out. The world was setting itself to rights by the time the Scotties took to the field. Now, we should also point out that Shalford is something of a home for retired Scotties. Unable to travel with our merry band as much as they would like, both Aidan and Bryan had found a regular club home at the pleasant surrounds. It also made this something of a chance for revenge, and to make a few new friends, so it was with unusual energy that the Scotties took on the challenge of defending their (pretty respectable) total of 264.
Enter Prateek Shah. Perhaps the world’s least likely strike bowler, which is perhaps why he outfoxed Shalford’s top 3, including and absolute beauty of a catch from Watson, D(avid). He may have dropped a dolly previously, but this was more than redemption enough. At some point in the batting order, an attitude turned up with a South African attached. Aidan Naude sauntered Viv-Richards like into the middle, twirling his bat and ready to lay his old friends to the sword. Those that live by the sword, can also die by it. So excited was Aidan by the opportunity in front of him that the first ball bowled by Brett ‘The Beard’ Hawson was cross-batted into the stratosphere above Shalford. Just short of going into orbit, the ball returned to find a Watson brother running like streaked lightning across the field to catch it. Dan wasn’t going to drop this one, even if he pulled his hamstring. He didn’t. Cheers erupted around Shalford. Aidan turned, speechless, and went to prepare the BBQ.
I can’t remember a lot more of the day after that – The Beard chipped away at Shalford nicely, and at one point we looked to have things wrapped up a good ten overs early. Sadly, for our aching knees, we looked to snatch that particular defeat from the jaws of victory, and it wasn’t until 37 overs that we managed to seal the win. This was the first victory for the Scotties in what has now become the annual Terra-Nova shield, so named after Robert Falcon Scott’s ship (and the name of his first expedition). First blood to us.
The BBQ that followed was truly fantastic. However terrible my pronunciation of ‘Boerewors’, this luckily had no effect on their taste. Absolutely awesome. It would appear that Aidan’s lack of runs had not affected his ability on the BBQ. So, too Shalford, we raise a glass. A very friendly bunch (populated with a few Scotties, no less) and firm friends for the future. We look forwards to seeing you next year lads and ladies, it was a blast.
Detailed scorecard can be found here.