Sometimes a cricket match can transcend its simple origins as a game of bat and ball, mixing skill, tension and excitement to become the sort of sporting struggle that is remembered for years afterwards. A corollary of this is that some games are destined to be forgotten almost immediately. Sadly today's fixtures against the UCLES fell very much into the latter category.
Do not read any further if operating heavy machinery.
UCLES took the field first, but unfortunately they were pretty weak in the bowling department and it was pretty difficult for the batsmen to get into any sort of rhythm. Andy Owen (80) and Colin Anderson (11) got off to a quick start, but our innings was dominated by an excellent 112-run 2nd wicket partnership between Andy and Dave Williams (35). Both batsmen hit plenty of good balls through cover with great power, but the bulk of the runs were scored behind square on the leg side when the bowlers strayed. Andy and Dave were both out in quick succession, and the last few overs saw almost as many wickets fall as runs scored, but we still managed to post the season's highest total of 163/5.
When it was our turn to field the match still retained something of a scrappy feel to it, with neither our bowling nor the opposition's batting approaching the standard of some of the season's previous matches. And despite the fact that we didn't take many early wickets there was no real tension as it was clear that UCLES weren't going to get close to our total. The most successful bowlers were Paul Jordan (2/28, bowling two of the better batsmen with slower balls), Mike Jones (2/21, to go along with three catches) and Martin Law (2/6 at the death); and possibly the only highpoint in the field was John Young's sharp run out from short cover. The single best performance, however, was by one of the UCLES batsmen (who claimed to have a career aggregate of 14) who grafted his way to a well-earned 50 completed off the final ball of the game when Martin ``accidentally'' misfielded on the boundary.
The batsman - whose name is lost to history - was duly clapped from the ground and then, in keeping with with the tone of the game, everyone sort of wandered off home . . .