Nobody likes being beaten by 79 runs, and certainly not The Philanderers, who lost to us by that margin back in May. They came into today's rematch with a steely sense of focus and determination, completely out-playing us from the moment they won the toss and asked us to bat on a devilishly low and slow wicket.
One swing merchant aside, The Philanderers strangled us with a succession of slow bowlers who dropped the ball just short of a length time and time again. Of the 20 (six-ball) overs they bowled, four -- four! -- were maidens and there were two more which would have been but for solitary wides. Combined with some outstanding fielding we were going nowhere fast, and at 27/5 after 10 overs Geoff was, once again, getting all worried about record low totals and the like. We did mount something of a recovery towards the end of our innings as John Gull (31* off 41 balls), with support from Harry Picton-Turbervill (10 off 17 balls), Colin Anderson (8 off 6 balls) and Richard Rex (5* off 8 balls), at least put up a fight, but 80 was never really going to be a competitive total.
Still, we had nothing to lose, and Harry P-T (1/18), Alec Armstrong (1/8) and Daniel Mortlock (0/6), combined with some great fielding by Colin Anderson, Paul Jordan George Speller and Richard Rex, at least made The Philanderers work for their runs. When they were just 36/2 after 8 overs there was almost a hint of a chance . . .
. . . which promptly disappeared as The Philanderers' third-wicket pair batted with the considered wisdom one might expect for a pair of sixty-year-olds, doing nothing silly and simply waiting for the bad balls which we served up with increasing regularity. The nadir came when John Gull, just after he'd been complaining he needed a hair-band (where a haircut would cleary have done the trick), stopped a return with his eyebrow and, not for the first or even the second time, left the field with blood on his face, wobbling into the sympathetic arms of some female members of the opposition's support crew.
After that it was all one-way traffic, the winning runs being hit with 33 balls and 8 wickets to spare. And all this despite the fact that, as young Ferdinand Rex incredulously noted, ``They all have grey hair!'' But then so do most of us as well.