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“The Saloon Bar

 

 

Match:  21 / 557

Won by 3 wkts

 

 

Team

 

Total

Mandarins

133 - 4

J. Pearson  2 - 11,  J. Cartwright  2 - 18

 

FFTMCC

142 - 7

R. Turner  28,  J. Bateman  26

 

 

 

 

 

No one wants to drink in the last chance saloon. The décor is shit, the drinks taste of piss and the jukebox has young people’s music on it. But, until approximately 7.45pm on Friday 3rd September 2021, MAD skipper Russ Turner had been propping up the bar in that particular drinking hole with a frankly alarming 100% loss record for the season and was staring at the mucky end of a very unwelcome record.

 

Russ’ record was not for want of trying. Bad luck (and ringers) had dogged him throughout the season, some close results had just gone the other way and the spectre of the Blewbury loss still loomed large. At Harwell he even urged the team on with the promise of drinks if we won. We lost, and he still bought the drinks (which, while very welcome, possibly sent out a slightly mixed message). The Mandarins game represented our Russ’s ultimate opportunity for a last minute gallows rescue.

 

 

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After a shockingly crap August, weatherwise, this particular Friday saw the first proper sunshine we’d all seen for the weeks. Horspath’s second pitch puts a lot of grounds to shame and this might well have been the best wicket we played on all year. It’s a pretty big ground too and hard to defend on. Also, for some reason the ground literally feels harder and hurtier when you have to dive on it. Mandarins are a team of very well seasoned (making Geoff and Joe look like nippers) civil servants and actually have a few very handy players, possibly not, then, the ideal oppo for Russ’s last gasp at glory.

 

The game got off to a lively start, 28-2 off the first three and a half overs, with James Pearson bowling one opener and having the other caught at square leg by Webster. The Mandarins are new opposition to The MAD, having first played them last year, but we were already very familiar with their next batsman, Neeley. He’s a very good player who has that knack of hitting every bad ball for four and also some good ones; his driving, in particular is classy.

 

 

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Neely. A class act from Middlesex.

 

 

The bowling rotated with Harris, Williams and Timms all taking their turns. No one bowled particularly badly but the Mandarins got on top and at one point it looked like 150 might be a possibility. Cometh the hour, and cometh the man, however, and Joe Cartwright emerged, like a very rusty Tony Lock, as the bowling hero at the back end of the innings, doubling his MAD career tally by picking up 2 wickets and shipping only 18 runs. His first wicket was one to savour. Such is Cartwright’s guile and capacity to take any kind of speed whatsoever off the ball, the Mandarin middle order batsmen had sufficient time to stand so far back that he was actually behind the stumps, which he then demolished with a swinging cut.

 

At the end of the 20 overs, Russ was staring at target of 134 runs to salvage some honour from a very, very long season.

 

Pops and James B opened the batting, fresh from the glorious 10 wicket humping of old rivals, The Astons (Russ was not the skipper for that one). Pops (8) went early to a handy catch at square leg from the Mandarins’ sole youngster, but James carried on from the previous week, biffing a quick 26 off 17 balls. This brought in Paddy Mellor for his first MAD game since 2017. Paddy then proceeded to fulfil his own score prediction with a well crafted duck. Welcome back Paddy.

 

 

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Paddy. A hit with scorers who can’t count very well.

 

 

Almost immediately Spam, not playing but keen to create some havoc through the medium of umpiring, then appeared to give Webster out lbw. He was then shocked to discover that in raising his index finger skyward and slightly to the left no one had realized that he was indicating the ball was going down the legside. The Mandarins were gentlemanly enough to withdraw their appeal, even though, as Spam was not slow to point out, no one had actually been given out. Even though it looked exactly like someone had been.

 

James then slapped a long hop to cover bringing in the skipper, bursting with determination to bring us home. With Webster holding up an end / batting like a busted bollock, Turner then compiled a very steady 28 to keep us in the game. He fell at 95-5, with the game very finely balanced – The MAD requiring 39 to win off 33 balls. An easy IPL challenge, a little harder at MAD level.

 

Pearson (13) and Webster (18) took it down to 19 off 10 balls before both went (Webster after hitting his first 6 for the club, a mere 9 years after his debut). At this point Turner was possibly planning the press conference to announce his imminent retirement/ sacking by the board and tension was running high.

 

 

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Turner bathed in late evening sunshine….

 

 

The last over had arrived with 11 needed to salvage the ship known as Russ’s dignity. In the words of Lou Reed, Mike Reeves flickered for a minute and was gone (dot, 4, 3, dot out). Harris faced a single ball and managed to ping a 3 leaving, fittingly, the club’s other skipper, Mr Gary Timms, one to win off the final ball.

 

Gloriously, this was achieved by a top edged cut over where the slips might have been and joy reigned unconfined. To everyone’s amazement, Russ then did a series of cartwheels around the entire perimeter of the ground before ending with a spectacular set of splits in the dead centre of the wicket*. Fireworks went off and an entire nation cheered the cricketing equivalent of Dunkirk. Hurrah.

 

*Artistic license.

 

 

‘Jan’

 

 

 

 

 

*

 

 

Statto Scorecards

 

 

 

Far from the MCC versus Mandarins

Played at Horspath CC (Pitch B), 3 September 2021

 

Far from the MCC won the toss and elected to field

Far from the MCC won by 3 wkts

 

Far from the MCC debuts:  n/a

 

 

21 / 557

 

 

 

 

 

20 over match

 

 

 

Team

Mandarins

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#

 

Batsman

How Out

Total

Balls

4s

6s

FOW

1

P. Garrett

c Webster b Pearson

5

 

-

-

1-15

2

S. Tivey †

b Pearson

5

 

1

-

2-28

3

C. Baker

retired

25

 

1

-

-

4

C. Healey

retired

33

 

6

-

-

5

A. Somerville

hit wicket b Cartwright

25

 

2

-

4-125

6

S. Keayes

b Cartwright

3

 

-

-

3-124

7

J. Hawkins *

not out

6

 

1

-

-

8

M. Hurst

not out

3

 

-

-

-

9

A. Hurst

 

 

 

 

 

 

10

A. Heard

 

 

 

 

 

 

11

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Extras

NB3, W20, LB1, B4

28

 

 

 

 

 

TOTAL

(for 4 wickets, 20 overs)

133

 

 

 

 

 

 

#

 

Bowler

Overs

Maidens

Runs

Wkts

Econ

 

1

Reeves

4

0

31

0

7.75

 

2

Pearson

2

0

11

2

5.50

 

3

Harris

4

0

33

0

8.25

 

4

Williams

3

0

18

0

6.00

 

5

Cartwright

4

0

18

2

4.50

 

6

Timms

3

0

19

0

6.33

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Team

Far from the MCC

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#

 

Batsman

How Out

Total

Balls

4s

6s

FOW

1

C. T. J. Williams

c A. Hurst b Keayes

8

(9)

2

-

1-12

2

J. C. Bateman

c Heard b Somerville

26

(17)

5

-

3-57

3

P. A. S. Mellor

b Keayes

0

(5)

-

-

2-31

4

J. vdG. Webster

run out

18

(33)

-

1

5-112

5

R. P. Turner *

b Healy

28

(26)

3

-

4-95

6

J. W. Pearson

st Tivey b Healy

13

(20)

1

-

6-115

7

G. J. Timms

not out

3

(3)

-

-

-

8

M. K. Reeves

b Keayes

7

(7)

1

-

7-130

9

J. Harris

not out

3

(1)

-

-

-

10

J. A. Cartwright

 

 

 

-

-

-

11

G. Carter †

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Extras

NB1, W12, LB8, B7

28

 

 

 

 

 

TOTAL

(for 7 wickets, 20 overs)

134

 

 

 

 

 

 

#

 

Bowler

Overs

Maidens

Runs

Wkts

Econ

 

1

Heard

4

0

16

0

4.00

 

2

Keayes

3

0

26

3

8.67

 

3

M. Hurst

4

0

19

0

4.75

 

4

Somerville

3

0

15

1

5.00

 

5

A. Hurst

3

0

20

0

6.67

 

6

Healy

3

0

23

2

7.67

 

 

 

 

 

MOTM:  R. P. Turner

Champagne Moment:  J. vdG. Webster’s straight maximum

Buffet Award:  J. Harris’ delightful cheeseboard selection (extra pickles)

MAD Moment:  I. Howarth (as umpire) giving Webster not out by raising his finger

 

 

Opposition:  V114 / 02

Ground:  G046 / 10

Captain:  C024 / 52

Match No:  20 / 160