Match Report June 23rd 2013 Napsbury Park
Match abandoned – rain
The scorebook records the weather at 2pm on the 14th June 2013 as ‘Overcast, windy, wispy cloud’, and who could argue with that? Well into summer, a shower was forecast for later on, it was note quite cold and spirits were justifiably high. The pitch is described as ‘Unknown as I have not been out to the middle’ and so with all of this in mind, Goodwill Wanderers won the toss and decided to bat.
A steady breeze was blowing from North to South, and so Boxer opened from the Asylum end to make the most of conditions. With two slips in place Boxer found the edge on a number of occasions, but his usual bad luck meant they streaked through the third slip position for more runs than was deserved. Similarly, Bungle made the most of bowling into the wind from the Motorway end, creating prodigious sideways movement and getting impressive bounce from the pitch. Both openers, Sayers and Wilson, looked uncomfortable, although played some decent shots among the good bowling and, having watched the horse gallop away, third slip was brought in, only to palm away the first proper catching chance of the day. However, with variation of pace and good control of length, Goodwill was held to 44 from their first 10 overs, with most runs coming from the lucky edges of Sayers.
Marriott came on for Bungle with the skip unable to bear any weight on his crocked ankle (as a result the other ankle was shaking at the thought of bearing all the weight itself and his run-up was affected), with Sufian replacing Boxer at the other end. Both bowled very tidily to bring Goodwill’s run rate down further and in the 17th over Sufian made the breakthrough, with a ball obviously too good to edge and knocked back Sayers’ off stump for 27. The next wicket followed soon after, as Si elicited some turn and bowled Sen through his garden gate for 5. Simon and Sufian (SAS) put the squeeze on Goodwill, with the next batsman, Cashman, taking 17 balls to get off the mark. However, Wilson continued accumulating from the other end and with the SAS bowled out Goodwill stood at 103 for 2 after 27.
It was the turn of Minchin and Nurse next, from the Asylum and Motorway ends, respectively. Needless to say, Nigel was straight and consistent, with Stu pushing a few wide, however both had arrived as the batsmen, one well set, looked to accelerate. The left-handed Wilson, especially, seemed in combative mood and cracked a series of boundaries as he and Cashman upped the rate. Nurse persevered, however, and earned himself a caught and bowled chance. What with being so polite and all, he refused to shove the non-striker out of the way, though, and was unable to gather to his right. But not to worry, he’d got the hang of it and two balls later was presented with another chance, which he pouched with obvious relief. This brought Westwood to the crease who, together with the impressive Wilson, looked to finish the match aggressively. This resulted in two balls being lost in the corn field and two difficult, high chances put down on the cover boundary, all off the bat of Wilson. Boxer returned to good effect at the death, but the two bats knocked out 88 runs in the last 10 overs to set a target of 203 for the Mighty Fishers to chase.
Tea was had by all, with VIP guest appearances from Watson Jr, looking all the worse for his painkillers, and Cormack Jr, looking like the little blonde sweetie his Da used to be. And so, having kept wicket for 60 overs in 3 days and with the support of his family at the boundary, Keith opened for Fishers with Graham Booth. By this time, the previously wispy cloud covering was looking decidedly more solid, although the day was still bright. The pitch hadn’t changed.
Like Jonathan Trott (whose first name, inexplicably shunned, is Ian), Keith’s hard work in the winter nets appeared be paying off as he unveiled his own new type of block, parrying full tosses with gentle elegance to the nearby fielders. A superb example, for any youngsters watching, of how to bat to one’s field. Goodwill persevered valiantly in their attempts to ruin things and force Keith to score, bowling in turns short, wide and on the full, but the Aberdeen Avalanche held firm, with a dedication to his art that was a wonder to behold. Fortunately for the scorecard, at the other end Super Booth was not afraid to describe an arc with his bat and smartly amassed the Fishers’ first 17 runs by himself over 7 overs. Suddenly, though, there was drama on the pitch. After 21 glorious dot balls Keith had played a loose shot, overhitting his block and missing the fielder at cover. As the fielder moved to gather, Booth set off for a sharp single, obviously confusing Keith who, still annoyed with his shot into space, forgot to ground his bat at the other end and was run out by a direct hit, retiring to the pavilion on a duck’s egg before embarking on a slow walk around the park, we speculate to think up new ways to avoid scoring runs.
So with the new ball seen off, Si Marriott strode manfully out to the middle, apparently with his own game plan formulated. In a selfless act of generosity he decided someone else should have a go on this fine Sunday afternoon and feathered a catch through to the wicket keeper. You cannot fault such humility and benevolence, and so the principal recipient of this kindness, Chairman Andy, hefted his willow club and went to take Si’s place. There followed a 52-run stand with Booth in 6 overs that not only brought Fishers in line with the required run rate but also spoiled what were decent figures for the Goodwill opening bowlers. Watson was bowled by Patel while trying to catch his breath after a single, bringing Ollie to the crease. He opened his account with a Napsbury Cut through the slips and with the impressive Booth took Fishers into some light rain and to 85 for 3 after 20 overs.
But as drinks were quaffed the rain became more insistent, cutting short Keith’s slow lap of honour, and everybody ran to the clubhouse. The rain turned from insistent to relentless and seemed well set, although a brightening of the sky invited a pitch inspection by both captains. By this time, the boundary flags had been gathered and so when the Goodwill skip decided his bowlers were happy with the degree of risk out in the middle, it was gently explained to Boxer Jr that, having moments earlier proudly brought an armful of flags to be put away, he would now need to go and put them all back. He was firm on the point that his Dad should do it as punishment for being mean and not letting him have more food during Tea, however it was agreed the point was moot as the heavens widened (they had never fully shut) and rains came down once more. Stumps were lifted and the day ended, match abandoned. Fishers’ run chase ended ahead of the ‘worm’, although a Duckworth/Lewis app would suggest the final total was 6 runs short of the rain-adjusted par score.