Actors Anonymous 13 June

I travelled to Parliament Hill looking forward to an epic game.  Saturday had seen the 4-egg Victoria Sandwich rise to perfection, the lemon drizzle cake look just as it should and the easy fruit cake turn out a beautiful dark golden colour.  I even managed to park the car within a reasonable distance of the pitch and met up with my fellow Gardeners who were warming up ready for the 1pm start.  Which turned out to be a 2pm start – skipper Nick having got his Sundays confused.  Maybe that’s why he’s no longer The Rev Nick Duckett …

Richard, Bruno and James contemplate the meticulous attention to detail of 2-Bats as he hums a gregorian chant whilst preparing to open the innings

Nick won the toss and took the option to bat.  Dave 2-Bats essayed an elegant cover drive for two off the first ball but then succumbed bowled immediately after.  The going was looking decidedly difficult when Dustin had his stumps rearranged first ball by a searing Sularia delivery.  Richard-the-Baker scratched around for a while but also fell for zero, prodding innocuously to cover.  At 3-3 we were in dire straits, the opening bowlers Flood and Sularia threatening to finish us off very early.  James dug in dealing with some excellent bowling, whilst Bruno rose magnificently to the occasion, using his new weapon the cut stroke to garner runs off the less accurate deliveries.  The Gardeners were being shackled until Whittingham relieved Sularia and Bruno took advantage of the gentle off-spinners to collect three sixes and push the rate over 5 runs per over.  James and Bruno had got the score into the 80s when the returning Sularia produced some extra pace to rattle James’ timbers for an immensely hard fought 13.  Lord Fakenahm joined Bruno and was treated to some genuine pace which he handled admirably until he was also undone for 9.  Adam and Jeff similarly struggled in the Actors onslaught departing soon after, both failing to trouble the scorers.  Richard-the-Hammer (making a welcome return) joined Bruno and batted well enough to enable Bruno to complete his century with a sensational straight six that thumped into the sightscreen at the Tennis Courts end.  A magnificent knock in the most testing of conditions against a fearsome attack.  Bruno departed soon afterwards caught for a Messerschmidt (109).  The Hammer was run out for 9 whilst Jim M played some handsome strokes for an unbeaten 11, Nick also unbeaten on 1.

Gardeners   170-9   off 35 overs.

David Hollingsworth   bowled   2
Dustin Mommen   bowled   0
Richard Higginbottom   caught   0
James Carrington   bowled   13
Mark Brewin   caught   109
Lord Fakenham   bowled   9
Adam Wood  caught   0
Jeff Round   bowled   0
Richard Hammerton   run out   9
Jim Monahan   not out   11
Nick Duckett   not out   1

The Baker was delighted to receive lots of praise for his cakes at tea time.  Personally I’d rather be rubbish at cakes and score a few runs but what the heck.  Into the field and the Actors proved to be equally adept with the bat as with the ball, handling some good quality bowling from Fakenham and James with few signs of discomfort and getting easily ahead of the scoring rate.  Dustin relieved James to try some variety with left arm spin but the the Actors were on song and Dustin’s three overs produced a further increase to the rate.  Jim came on at the Running Track end and gradually found some considerable turn and lift, managing to find a challenging length most of the time.  After a stand of 113, Jim prised out one of the openers at last with a straight delivery hitting the stumps.  The relief in the air could be cut as readily as one of the tea time cakes.  Jim and Bruno spun in tandem causing the batsmen a number of problems but the score had already progressed a bit far, though Jim could have had 5 wickets if the fielding had not become somewhat jaded, making do with 3.  As the Actors closed out the game a golden opportunity for a run out was missed: both Actors at the same end – James threw to that end – keeper Jeff transferred it to the other end – Bruno missed the stumps from 2 yards when he could have walked to the stumps to remove the bails.  We all ended up on the floor either in frustration or (mainly) hysterical laughter.  Jim’s final wicket removed Flood for 79 – mildly amusing as it was Jim’s 8th over of a spell that should have been limited to 7.  Clever stuff Nick!

Actors Anonymous   174-3   won by 7 wickets

Lord Fakenham   7 overs   0 maidens   37 runs   0 wickets
James Carrington   6 – 0 – 16 – 0
Dustin Mommen   3 – 0 – 23 – 0
Jim Monahan   8 – 0 – 39 – 3
Mark Brewin   6.5 – 0 – 36 – 0

Quote of the day to Jim: “The Actors have a defensive field – and yet it’s attacking”.

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