It’s July and a late rush of players for this attractive fixture meant the unduly nervous captain had a most useful XI to take the field on this oh-so-overdue spell of fine weather. The Long Vacation’s usual captain Geoff Parkes is hors-de-combat but takes up an umpire’s coat and hands the keys of office to David Wilson who called incorrectly and captain Higginbottom elected to bat.
Some very good bowling from the home team’s openers Bates and Moore gave Richard and Dave plenty to consider until a square drive from Richard and a thunderous lofted drive over Extra Cover from Dave settled them in; Richard proceeded to thump the ball directly at fielders before wafting at one outside off stump and getting a fine nick. 26-1. Dave played some more good shots and then copied Richard (not a good habit for anyone) on 22 and it’s 41-2. Sam Boyal and Adam Klewin (hope to see more of both of them) played cavalier and roundhead respectively (this is no sleight on Adam, I’m a big fan of Oliver Cromwell … let’s face it he banned Christmas, so he has to be respected). Sam got 32 off 26 balls with some splendid hitting but then chose to wipe a good ball off his stumps with the resulting rattle of timber. Stuart’s going to drive us on (like he has so often this season) by attacking the loopy lobs of Edmunds. A dashing pull for 4, a drive for another 2, and then “clothed” (thank you Bumble) straight back to the bowler for 6. Those of us at the pavilion took cover under a bench (Dave), behind the pavilion (Richard), in the woods (Jason). Adam soon after took a big stride down to Wilson and was adjudged lbw; now we’re in a bit of bother at 83-5. Make that 83-6 as Iain was castled by Edmunds. “Chris is a good man in a crisis” opined Richard (what a stupid thing to say) but Spicer the Stumper proved to be just that, playing sensible cricket whilst Graham and Jeremy were nonplussed by Aspden’s spinners. Jason is (of course) further down the order than he should be and duly demonstrates this, hitting some good shots. Sybil came on for a bowl and Chris hit a couple of fours and then managed to chip one to midwicket where Edmunds took a very good running catch. Now … who’s playing the cha-cha-cha on the organ? It appears that Adam could hear some dance music from an imaginary Mighty Wurlitzer as he danced to and fro (once ending up on his knees and crawling back into his ground) as he attempted to fathom Sybil’s bowling. This at least had the big advantage of lightening Stuart’s mood (and that of the rest of us) until the inevitable happened and he managed to give Sybil her second wicket, Caines running from Mid Off to steal the catch out of Cover’s hands. 123 all out and that’s a bit below par.
What is certainly never below par at Cambridge is the tea, and thanks to our hosts for providing the usual excellent fare.
Into the field; opening bowlers Stuart and Dave are determined and we set attacking fields at both ends as because there’s plenty of time in this game, we’re only going to have any chance by taking wickets. Stuart bowled a maiden and then Dave bowled a superb over and was rewarded with trapping Caines for a duck. Hindson and Lee were put to the test with some continuing accurate and probing deliveries from both ends, the rare loose ball being put away skilfully including a remarkably powerful straight drive off one (back) leg by Hindson. Neither bowler wanted to come off and neither of them deserved to; Stuart’s superb spell resulted in the wicket of Hindson as he got one to nip in sharply and cannon into the stumps via the pads. 41-2. Time for a change and Jason’s not got quite his usual rhythm, Lee picking off anything loose. Adam K is bowling an exemplary line and length and we’re still in this. Time for some spin and Jeremy also bowled economically and looked like creating chances. Adam was replaced by Graham whose slippery footwear had been replaced by Stuart’s stout bowling boots. Obviously this gave the poor fellow some degree of pain as our continually improving younger version of the Bruce genus struggled to locate the wicket, being replaced by Sam (thanks for the oh-so-subtle hint you’d like a bowl) after two “experimental” overs. You’ll have many more good days Graham. Sam looked threatening (another reason I gave him a bowl). Lee got a very good 60 and retired; shortly after Jeremy bowled Sybil who’d shown excellent technique in her 10. Perera and Evans never looked unduly bothered and saw Jesus home to a comfortable victory.
… and Jeremy took some marvellous photographs, some of which are below.