Ide v Erratics Cricket Club Erratics on Fri 17 Jun 2016 at 6.00pm
Erratics Cricket Club Lost by 2 runs
Martin Wright reports...
And so to Ide. Home of many a doomed chase or a floppy failure to defend; many an Erratic erratum.
Would today be any different? It had rained much of the morning – much of the week, no less – so it was a joy to see the skies clear to an evening of scudding clouds and sunshine.
The Ide ground as ever looked lovely, and was newly accessorised by Amber, the latest in the line of canine ball retrievers - as long as you don’t mind the ball being retrieved with a liberal layer of drool, as your correspondent discovered when bowling practice balls to Fraser. (It says much for said bowling that this had absolutely no impact on its accuracy. Or otherwise.)
As to the game, well…in deference to Euro 2016 fever, I have to report that this was very much a game of two halves, Gary. And when it comes to halves, these were big on contrast. You know, like Day and Night. Life and Death. Hope and Despair. Bright Sunlit Uplands and the Slough of Despond.
You get the drift.
Anyway… Ide batted first, and started brightly, seven an over, aided by a bit of wayward bowling from Ben, Sophie and Fraser and the odd misfield. So far, so familiar. Then…. Something happened. Or, rather, a number of things. None particularly striking in themselves, but in the sum of their parts, really quite unErratic.
We started, in short, to look like a cricket team. (A worrying development in the eyes of welcome returnee Simon Orpen, who’d expressed horror at the sight of Erratics actually warming up before the game.)
The bowlers tightened up dramatically; hittable balls all but vanished. The fielders rediscovered their toes, and remembered what it was like to be on them. Catches went to hand, most notably an astonishing running-backwards-then-turning-and-chasing-and-plucking-at-full-stretch one from Matt at mid-on – long-on by the time he got there.
Runs dried, the rate staggered then slumped – six, five, then barely four an over. Guy and Chris came on and tightened the screw still further, Chris extracting some pace and lift, and Guy, probing and nerveless and accurate from the start, going for just nine off his four overs, picking up three wickets into the bargain.
Ide tried to hit their way out of trouble, and merely succeeded in hitting the deck. Wickets fell in a flurry. Only their clean striking opener put up any serious fight, and after his mandatory retirement at 30, little else remained. When Ben cleaned him up second time round in the 19th , that was it. Ide were upended for a measly 69.
Just 70 to win. OK, so the pitch was a little unpredictable, keeping fearsomely low at times, but… 70. Barely three and a half an over. And those tempting short boundaries. And a batting line up as long as your arm.
At which point, the second half, like Nigel Farage in the saloon bar just before closing time, loomed disturbingly into view.
There wasn’t much to worry about at first. Fraser and Matt played tight bowling cautiously, but scampered singles adventurously, and wides and byes did their bit as well. Scoring was slow, but when you only need 3 or 4 an over, where’s the worry?
Where indeed? OK, so Fraser launched an ambitious drive and missed, and then Matt was plumb before, but Martin was next in…and promptly next out, thereby dipping his season’s average close to, er, 1… Then Mark, having swung as mightily as a Premier League footballer caught by paparazzi emerging from a dubious Marseilles bar, holed out and…..
...And what? Come on? We might be 30-4 or thereabouts, but now there was t’other Martin and there was Jonathan, so really, what was there to worry about? Particularly when we had witchcraft on our side.
Yes, witchcraft. As Jonathan took guard, one of the more vocal Idesters noted the fact that he was left handed and suggested loudly that “500 years ago we’d have burned him at the stake….Or drowned ‘im”. (Occasionally the same fielder would let out a guttural roar of no discernible words, prompting speculation that his family had been on Ide land since the days before language, and in the heat of battle – against the Romans, say, or indeed the Erratics - they still dispensed with it altogether.)
Sadly, whatever spells Jonathan could conjure came to nought, as indeed did he, holing out to mid-off.
Guy joined Martin Weiler, and the two looked solid for a while, until a hopeless kerfuffle of calling led to Martin being run out. If only he’d grounded his bat, thought the square-leg umpire, who also happened to be your correspondent. He also thought “Bloody hell – an Erratics run out that has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with me.”
It did, however, have a lot to do with Ide’s increasingly tight bowling and sharp fielding, which forced frustrated Erratics into high-risk cricket. Guy, who’d fired briefly, was run out racing for a second, despite a heroic full-length dive. Simon was undone by one that kept particularly low, and Sophie, after some resolute defence, bowled by a sharp offcutter.
We still had Ferro who, preferring geometry to witchcraft, was placing the ball neatly into gaps for ones and occasional twos, and slowly we crept up towards the magic 70…until, just three runs short, Ben drove boldly, the ball nipped back in, his stumps were castled, and that was that.
After the game, Ide were as generous in their hospitality as they had been miserly with their bowling, offering beer and a barbecue in return for modest donations. The burgers in particular were very tasty, at least for the omnivores amongst us, and so we left the ground happily stuffed. Even if we had, unhappily, been stuffed. As it were.
for 10 wickets
69 (18.3 overs)
Erratics Cricket Club Erratics Bowling
Erratics Cricket Club Erratics Batting
for 10 wickets
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