A Ton too far

Mystics versus Broadclyst at Killerton House, 10th August 2003

It had seemed a good idea to give the captaincy to Jimmy Ton. After all, as a Broadclyst regular, he would be in the best position to discern and exploit their weaknesses. However, when he chose to bat first on a sporty looking wicket, and sent Adam and Kev in to open the batting, we realised that he had his own agenda. We were soon two for two (or, as the Australians would have it, two for two). Chris Squire came in to join Duncan, and batted out of his skin for seven runs on a lively track against excellent bowling. He fell in the ninth over, having blunted the attack for 25 valuable minutes. Sid came in, and it was backs to the walls stuff, as the Mystics first and fifth highest run scorers set about establishing an innings.

My dad often rails at teams who are over-defensive in one-day matches. He questions the need for the anchor who drifts along at two-an-over. This day, however, was a day when my dad ate his hat, which was a mistake as it was very sunny, and he has a lot of scalp on show these days. In its first 12 overs, the partnership yielded only 42 runs. By now, though, the worm was beginning to turn. Six runs came from the next over, and 14 from the one after that. Duncan got to his fifty off 80 balls. Sid, soon after, got to his off 68. They were scoring freely, and Jimmy Ton, started to make calculations about the right score for a declaration. He decided that 200 would be more than enough. Since Duncan was in the nineties and Sid only had 69, he sent word out that the declaration would come as soon as Duncan had his ton. At this point, though, Duncan slowed a bit, and Sid went crazy. He took 18 off one over, and was suddenly within reach of a century. He would have been closer still if the umpire's ribcage had not stopped one well-struck straight drive. Jimmy, in the end, had to give him one last over in which to try to score the 17 he needed. He only made nine, and was left still waiting for his first Mystics century.

After tea, Graham Sharland bowled well, as Broadclyst started solidly. The first wicket fell in the eighth over. After that, wickets fell fairly regularly, including two - the seventh and eighth - to Kevin's first two balls. Humphries had been well set, when Kev started with a long hop outside off stump. Instead of belting it over the pavillion, as he had with most of my bowling, he hit it in the air to me at extra cover. The skipper was in next and looked determined to improve a difficult position. This time, Kev bowled a wide half volley. To his utter amazement, Euan Davey hit it straight at me, and Kev was on an unlikely hat-trick. Foolishly, he bowled a good ball to the new batsman, and was only able to start with a two wicket maiden. In the next over, however, Ernie persuaded the batsman to lob a high catch up to me. Oh well, I may have bowled like a twat, and, as umpire, stopped my own brother scoring a four, but I had at least held three catches in eight balls. And that's a record.

A stubborn last wicket partnership ended when Adam got bored of bowling off-breaks, and took a slightly longer run.

The end of another Mystics summer. Definitely Duncan and Sid's day. Their partnership of 190 was a new all-time high for the team, and if any pair has ever batted better for us, well, I'm buggered if I can remember it.

Jim Thomson

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