Summer now officially may start: it’s the 1st of the matches for the Boddington Urn as our great friends The Players come to visit us at Parliament Hill. Roger McCann is now resident in Cardiff so perhaps we’ll rename him to the Welsh Wizard from the Ulster Maestro … no: lose your roots, lose your soul. Captain Higginbottom won the toss and figured he had one of the stronger Salmagundi XIs at his disposal so duly batted.
David Hollingsworth got a shooter from S Bennett that left him sprawling on the ground “like a spider” per Lord Fakenham. The skipper replaced him muttering about the importance of retaining your dignity when you get skittled (utter rubbish of course). Stuart Bruce continued his good form over from Cambridge the previous week as Richard settled in until a steepler off a length flicked his glove presenting a straightforward catch behind. These shenanigans stirred the excellent 2-Bats into subsequently writing a letter of considerable virtuosity to the Corporation of London Authorities and we are working with them to try to improve the facility. George Tebbutt was also castled by a grubber soon after and we were 51 for 3. However, The Whitley Bay Champion (David Stead) steadied the ship, getting us up to 100 before Stuart was caught at the wicket having compiled a skilful 53. Bruce-the-Younger (Graham) had enjoyed a century stand with Dave the previous week and they continued where they had left off, Graham being the dominant partner at this point, a barnstorming 30 being curtailed by a skilful stumping by Ford off Ghost. Imran and Jason failed to trouble the scorers but Jeremy was an excellent feeder of the strike to Dave as he accelerated well past his half century, fours and sixes now coming almost at will but still retaining the sheen of elegance marking out David as an exceptional batsman. Dave holed out to Young on the boundary off Sweet striving for the century – a superb 87 and we closed on 208 – a stiff target on this track.
Tea was enjoyed by all (compliments appreciated by the captain who did the entire spread).
Into the field and we know our visitors have some serious scoring potential (we’ve been lucky enough to have some of them play for us over the years. Imran confidently demanded a 6-2 field (we were one light, Jim Monahan sadly not being available) and then bowled a short one a Roger’s rib cage, which he pulled comfortably – straight into Dave Stead’s hands at midwicket. Richard shortly after fumbled a take and it deflected past George at slip; Sweet decided to steal a single off this and was subsequently run out by a superb recovery throw by George for the worst sort of duck (not that there’s a good sort). Chris Scott is always referred to as “Scotty” by the Players and Stuart thought his first name was Scott and addressed his as such. Note to Scotty: ensure you call him “Bruce” next time we play. These people with two forenames are so confusing. Imran was now bowling an incredibly high quality spell, fast and with deft lateral movement, meaning that the number of times the ball was played at and missed was so frequent that even Richard started to glove the ball cleanly as he was getting so much practice. Poor Richard McKay (aka Jabba) was pinned plumb in front by another shooter that might have been the lowest of the day – probably hardened Dave H’s resolve to send that email. Tom Hickox played some elegant strokes in the face of some fine bowling by all of the bowlers: Stuart, Ashwin and Jason were all bowling some good stuff – and Ash took our fifth wicket as Dave Stead caught Tom for 23. Big clouds gathered and Richard shouted “let’s take a break!” as it started to tip down. The forecast predicted a short shower or two. This turned out to be torrential for over 45 minutes meaning that abandoning the game was the only logical outcome. It’s a test match, so that’s a draw. Moral victory? Maybe, but I refuse to begrudge our pals the favour of the weather gods and we look forward to meeting these gentlemen later in the season. Salmagundi!