By Richard Higginbottom
Salmagundi arrived at the Extension with an optimistic outlook as the Campbell brothers were in tandem for the first time this year. The rest of the team looks reassuring useful too. Skipper Richard as usual lost the toss and we were put into the field by Actors skipper Jamie. Actually this is a bit confusing. James had done the pre-match discussions with Richard and the Actors appeared to be using a 2-man committee system of James and Jamie throughout the afternoon … which as the closeness of this game shows may not be a bad idea … though it does seem to take an age to get the fielders in the right place.
Into battle and Mick’s keeping the runs down with the ball regularly beating the bat; same story at Jim’s end with keeper Paul B getting plenty of practice … let’s hope he clings on when … oh yes Jim finds one that lifts a bit and clips the top corner of James Turner’s outside edge – it’s still going up as Paul gets his gloves to it … a juggle … and he regains his grip to get the wickets column going. Then Jim proceeded to give Jamie Harper a “working over” … actually a couple of back-of-a-length slower balls popped and Jamie took them on the body – then a crisp Cover Drive – and this exciting episode ended when Jim bowled a fabulous off cutter to shatter the woodwork. Now we come to the 2-f0r lull as Richard Hayles dead-batted in contrast to Henry Parker’s skilful strokeplay when Lord Fakenham and Jeremy took over from the Campbells, our first change pair bowling well for no reward. During this doldrums period the skipper discussed proceedings with the Whitley Bay Champion. “I think Richard’s bat is broken” reported the run machine; “no, he always bats like that” the uncharitable captain replied. Right, about time for a wicket so let’s call on the gentlemen who always succeed – Jim Monahan and the aforesaid David. The praying mantis struck first, a super delivery squirming its way through Richard’s doughty defence and trickling onto the stumps to get the Gardeners moving again. Jim soon afterwards got one to turn too far up the hill, rattling across Hurst’s pads and cannoning into the stumps … so actually it turned just the right amount. Dave’s getting past the bat regularly and we’re all on our toes in the field scenting the next wicket … yes there it goes as Steadley castles Meredith for 7. Henry then played a pretty decent on drive off Dave’s bowling … but straight to Jim M at mid on – the Architect took careful aim and threw down the stumps to send Henry back to the boundary for 37. The Gardeners captain brought on Adam and reintroduced Mick (now in his off-spinning guise). Kerre played some handy shots but Huds perished taking a chance on Jim C’s arm – no liberties taken to either Jim today. Mick produced a ripper to bowl out Anderraddy. Adam got amongst the wickets with David running round to make a good catch at midwicket and Jeremy bowled a tight last over.
The joint effort tea was a great success – almost too many sandwiches and they were superb. Jim M’s boiled eggs were of course a treat. Now surely we’ll get there comfortably but this wicket’s a bit “tasty” …
David and Richard started steadily until Richard decided it was time for a change-up and played a “waft” (thanks for the post-match analysis Mr Stead) to a pretty good inswinger from Jamie and we were 12-1. Three balls later and Paul J received a similar stonking delivery from Jamie. 12-2. Dave looked calm as always and hit a few shots until Lord Fakenham became the third “b Harper” in the book. Now the bowling changed and Nick determined to drop anchor and support Dave. This was working well until there was a mix up resulting in a run-out that smacked of the skipper – only without any comedy, it was merely sad as Dave headed back to pavilion. “Deep guano” the Salmagundi captain muttered to himself. Jim came in and looked handy but then James bowled his best ball of the day to finish his cameo. Richard was umpiring at Square Leg* and said to Adam – fielding for the oppo who were one short – “we really do bat down to 11 and we’re going to have to prove it”. Nick meantime was fazed by facing such random bowling and gave a catch to James.
*During our innings a dog with 2 forelegs but with wheels instead of rear legs ran / trundled around the boundary. I’ve now seen Square Leg, Short Leg, Long Leg and two Round Legs on a cricket pitch.
Jim Monahan … cometh the hour cometh the man. He maintained concentration through some bizarre bowling and the equally bizarre demise of Paul B. Mick looked handy but then holed out. We’re 8 down and way short of the target. Jeremy and Jim were calmness itself, letting the extras mount up from the part-time bowlers and despatching the bad balls. The remaining overs from Jamie and James were defiantly seen out … now its a matter of remaining cool. Richard Hayles had bowled a maiden and rejoined the attack … on his third delivery he put up a good length ball outside off stump – and Jeremy played a superb Cover Drive to the boundary to give us the victory. Breathless stuff.
SGCC won by 2 wickets
Post match conversation included the story of Mick getting assaulted with a plastic flower during a long train journey in Mongolia. Embellish that!