Gardiner's (popping the) Question Time

Mystics versus Broadclyst at Clyst Saint George, 17th June 2001

Fortunately for your correspondent (who was in the process of trying to convince his future fiancee that cricket can be enjoyable), the weather improved significantly from the previous day's rather damp beginning to the weekend. A prompt (well, prompt by Mystics standards) start on a sunny Sunday afternoon - what could be better? We even managed, thanks to Captain Sharland's astute judgement, to win the toss and, like all strong batting sides, duly elected to have a bat. In an attempt to confuse the opposition, Gardiner was sent in to partner the redoutable Healey and the Mystics got off to brisk if not entirely certain start. All was going well until Gardiner was bowled by a Magic Ball which must surely have turned several right angles in all directions before finally clattering the timbers. Further disaster was around the corner when Healy was forced to retire hurt having taken a fearsome blow.

In typically Mystic fashion, the batsmen who followed - including the likes of The Ultimate Destroyer, Windy and Cook Snr - all contrived to get themselves in and then out again with no-one managing to clear 20. At 78 for eight, things looked perilous but the intrepid Healey returned to the crease to plunder a total of 39 out of a Mystic total of 122 and succeeded in carrying his bat (albeit with a long rest in the middle of his innings). This left the Mystics nervously considering whether this score would be sufficient and beginning to realise the merits of a straight bat, having carefully watched ball onto stump seven times.

Our noble skipper donned the keepers gloves and the Mystics took the field with your correspondent duly embarrassed at being allowed to open both batting and bowling by taking the second over in partnership with the Fredster. Wickets fell regularly but they were accompanied by an equally regular supply of runs and, in a mystic parallel of the Mystic's innings, Broadclyst also failed to register a score above 20 other than that of their opener who was finally trapped LBW on 49 with the score on 109 for eight.

With just 14 runs and two wickets in it, a tense finish was assured. Chris Cook was in fine form and eventually prised out their number ten en route to figures of five overs, two for seven and so it was left, once again, to your correspondent to deliver the final over with one wicket and ten runs to go. Unfortunately, the pressure told as a succession of balls passed ever further to the wrong side of leg stump, and thus an honourable draw was secured by a dishonourable final over containing a wide, a four and not single ball aimed at the stumps...

Oliver Gardiner

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