By Mark Gilkes
TO THE BOSTON MANOR BORN?
The unbeaten Salmagundi Gardeners did their best to maintain their early season form by selecting 14 players for the match at Boston Manor against Eversheds Social club. In the end only 12 attended and 11 elected to bat.
Would it be enough?
United Nations Security Council Resolution 4007 condemns the stealing of paper plates from teams not involved in the match but sharing the same pavilion. It was only a single plate, genuinely picked up in error, and the Salmagundi player guilty of this transgression immediately withdrew from the occupied territory near the egg mayonnaise sandwiches, but not even the instant offer by an Eversheds players of a replacement paper plate, close to 70% larger, could placate the paper plate displacementee. The historical ramifications of this incident will echo down the years. As cricketers we should all be aware that an innocent over-enthusiasm for inter-innings hospitality could rapidly become a matter that puts in the shade the disputes of Kashmir or the West Bank and Gaza.
The territory, occupied or unoccupied, behind the crease was policed as ever by James Tait. He was involved in four, three or two stumpings, depending on which political faction funds your militia. Stumpings one and three were easy. This assessment is not made on the effectiveness with which Tait take Salmagundi wides and turns them into wickets, but on the clear buffer zone between batsman and the crease – an area that allows short-sightedness and incompetence to become increasingly irrelevant the larger it is. In both these cases the batsman had advanced so far down the pitch the definition of stumping, as opposed to run out, became disputable, but was not disputed. After all, here we are not dealing with anything as serious as paper plates.
Stumping two was more complicated, in that it was identical in every aspect to stumpings one and three, and was therefore given not out. It has long been said that in war there are no winners. Both sides fight until each feels they have lost enough. This war fatigue must have been weighing heavily on Tait at the end of the Eversheds innings because stumping number four became not a stumping when Tait took the executive decision to allow the batsman to both overbalance out of his crease and then dazedly wander about in enemy territory for several minutes without the knocking off of the bails or even the slinging of a paper plate. The last two batsmen then went on to hit an additional dozen runs. Would Tait come to regret his generosity?
Jim Monahan will be remembered by many as the man who once ran himself out by dropping his bat halfway up the wicket, stopping to retrieve it, knocking off his glasses in the process, and groping blindly for both as the bails were casually flicked from the stumps. By these standards the leaving behind of his shoes after the game would interest neither Buster Keaton nor Charlie Chaplain, but after September 11th, and the subsequent actions of the alleged and so-called shoe bomber Richard Reid, it may be understandable that the sight of a pair of fading brown brogues abandoned just beyond the boundary – even with resplendent odd socks protruding – required two helicopters, the closing of the M4 motorway and the evacuation of two hundred nearby homes. As far as Jim is concerned we just went back and got them for him – but the world is a safer place this day not just because we did, but because we did with a calmness and understanding which only years of studied international diplomacy – from paper plate crisis to impasse – can produce. Particularly brave was Salmagundi debutant Mike Logsdon, who picked up the shoes and may even have touched one of the aforementioned socks.
The other highlights of the day for Mike were the three wides he gave off the first three balls of his opening over and, with something like satisfying symmetry, the fact when batting he only lasted three balls. Henry Monahan was the best of the Salmagundi bowlers with 3 for 14, and it was he who took a spectacular catch, diving forward at long off to take it one-handed inches from the ground, off the bowling of his father – which probably prompted the planned celebration of blowing up the pitch with a shoe. Unfortunately Henry, when batting, became the victim of a near equally fine catch in the covers. Mike Fox and the guesting Gareth Branston also took great catches. Rob Pimlott made several outstanding stops in the field with his right boot and so adept was he at this that he even attempted a catch in this way. Martin Carter batted at the end for his habitual one run, and in taking it was thought by some to have pulled his groin, until it was pointed out Martin had walked out to bat with his box continually slipping from his boxer shorts, uttering the plaintive Lincolnshire cry of, “I fergot to wear me cricket knickers!”
Eversheds made 150 with an even contribution throughout their eleven and extras second-top-scoring. Salmagundi batted stodgily, with only Jason Amesbury and Philip Sessions even suggesting anything approaching a partnership, and were all out for 59, extras top-scoring.
Peace to the world.