One often wonders what the exchanges are between England batsmen as they walk out to the hallowed turf of say, Lord’s or Headingly. Perhaps a “Go well” against Pakistan or “Was that Sandpaper?” against our Australian cousins. What they definitely do not say, is “What’s your view on singles?”. This exchange could only be between Hareen “The Mexican” Potu, and James West Esq. of The Captain Scott XI. It would appear that Hareen did not want to run any singles, and was quickly caught out, mis-timing a nice heave across the line (well it probably was, I wasn’t watching) to be caught out. Very swiftly, the Scotties were one wicket down. It might have been that for perhaps the first time in club cricket history, we started a game spot on 2:00pm. This appears to have disconcerted the top order somewhat. Perhaps they had not had time for enough refreshment before the game, but we were quickly into a Scotties collapse. Prateek was gone for 9, an unusual moment in a so far excellent season. Spare a thought too for Watson, D(avid) who twisted his ankle, to add insult to injury, while frantically trying to return to the safety of his crease, was run out. Jamo-Love was out to a caught and bowled, and the author found himself in to bat at number 7 alongside Kyle Pack rather earlier than expected.
Tailenders of the world, unite and take over. So goes the podcast. So went the rear-guard action. Kyle nudged, he nurdled. We ran a few singles. I blocked, I heaved, even hit one or two that could be counted as cricket shots. I got a bit too cocky and tried for an even bigger heave and was promptly bowled out to a straight one on 13. Kyle stayed strong to hit 31 which would be our top score. The Beard Hawson was done for 2, and Ben Aspland hung around for a useful 11. That wonderful character, Extras, came in as second highest scorer for 28. So, it came to pass, 121 all-out. This was to be a day of firsts, and our first Sunday game defeat looked to be looming.
Tea was the usual assortment, and those with hangovers started to recover some composure. Those without, purchased more beer. The Mexican, musing on his dismissal, wondered whether he would be best placed with The Scotties as an international player, his ‘domestic’ appearances thus far not having been the most successful.
A timeless scene followed: the sweet music of willow on leather, shadows lengthening in the long summer afternoon as we played up and played the game. The author himself had at the start of play wondered where Ant might come from. All were agreed that Ant being Ant, he would not appear by conventional means (i.e. through the car park or the front door). I placed my bet on him appearing out of one of the bushes that surround the ground. I wished I had placed more money on this, as shortly afterwards our new addition to the club, (and all-around nice chap) Jake described the scene of Ant appearing Apocalypse Now-style out the nearby hedge. Sadly, Ant’s lucky twig was destined for the great wood-chipper in the sky on this game as he toiled to no rewards for his fine effort. A cruel mistress indeed, especially after his disciplined overs for someone else to go and take two wickets with filthy long-hops, as is so often the case.
We not say a huge amount more. Kyle thundered in, full of spit and vinegar. The Beard bamboozled, flippered, swung and zootered away. We needed 60 more runs. We did not have them. OD CUACO had a batsman of some talent who came out for some Sunday practice and proceeded to bludgeon the final runs. Did we play cricket? Yes. Did we enjoy ourselves? For sure. Were OD CUACO excellent hosts? Absolutely. Can we see them next year? We hope so.
A postfix for the scorer. It occurred to me recently that our dear scorer-extraordinaire Laurie Davies has largely not featured in dispatches thus far. Mainly because she quietly and without fuss, does a Stirling job for us every week and does not seek the limelight, unlike those attention-seeking Scottie cricketers she mothers with such love through the season. Without her we would be lost, so our thanks to you Laurie!