Psycho Killerton (qu'est-ce que c'est?)

Mystics versus Broadclyst at Killerton House, 1st August 1999

I am writing this in an unusual (though, I must say, not an original) way. First Mystic to work out what it is wins a small gift from Dan, probably a pint. NB, if I cannot tour, Jim has had this account for months so should know what it is by now, so ask him for a pint if you think you know too and I shall pay him back.

So, to Broadclyst. In rolling lowlands just south of a National Trust country mansion, a band of various Mystics and Magicians, having said adios to a night of alcohol, conflagrations and song at Moa Hill, Dunsford, was grouping. First up was, as usual, a tossing of a coin, and notably our captain, Martin Sharland, was not around. No doubt his gallic car, and not frolics from Saturday night was making him tardy that day. Not to worry: Jim calls upon Windy, long-standing protagonist of many a Mystic victory, and occasional Mystic failing, to captain us all.

Toss lost, batting was Broadclyst's task. Old man Thomson had difficulty with a digit, so continuing guarding stumps was not an option for him. Luckily, Sharland's arrival did allow for a fitting substitution in that position. Young Barron, hamstring (or bottom, according to many) injury notwithstanding, was bowling with aplomb (obtaining his top Mystic analysis), although Chris's lack of catching form was balancing things out (two straightforward drops, and I thought catching balls was his bag!).

Not to worry. Our first disruption to Broadclyst's innings was a catch by our colourful Mystic T-shirt sporting sub Jim Thomson off Barron's tight and quick bowling. Hitchcock was also bowling tidily, and Duncan took a ludicrously difficult catch off him. Jim's catching hands struck again, on this occasion for Broadclyst's handy batsman Smith's dismissal. And Jim Junior's catch, notwithstanding Barron's barging into him with boyish spunk (but no gumption) had Broadclyst struggling: 50 not got, and four down.

It was a pitch for slow bowling, and Chris's was fixating us - no googly or wrong'un, but a nasty chinaman in his armoury. I totally forgot his catching slip-ups as our gladiatorial star was bamboozling Broadclyst's batting, disposing of Rush (quickly) and Myton (thus Myton had not got his ton). Duncan, apart from six abysmal balls with an unfamiliar, pacy action, was bowling slow, cool and straight, and had an lbw call in his favour. Broadclyst's total - not too high nor too low - was comfortably within our sights.

Windy's mind was focusing on gobbling food, but this was not to stop him starting our batting, going in with Prof. Thomson at two. Topping 30 runs without loss, this pair was looking okay, though scoring was not particularly fast. With Thomson Sr and Windy out, our South African batting star hung around for a bit for four runs (until out lbw to Bradford) with Jim Junior joining him, also an lbw victim.

Martin Sharland was having an unlucky day, missing out on captaincy and scoring a duck, as did I. Owing to Chris's and Duncan's stylish batting ability, our smallish group of Mystic fans was still hoping for a famous victory, but alas, Chris was our third batsman in this innings to fall to an lbw call, following a joint knock of 50 with our man Duncan.

So, with a ton and a bit up, it was down to Duncan to pull off a victory, if improbably. His innings, with a boundary or two in it, was not, alas, up to saving us. Our BBC man got our third duck. Hitchcock and Barron swung willow with no small amount of ardour, rabidity and vivacity, but no cigar. Our final total was almost 30 short of Broadclyst's - so a bit of an anticlimactic finish.

Acclaim, popular approval and rampant clapping for Thomson Sr in attaining our famous "Mystic instant" award for his digital daring. In conclusion, it was too hot a day for many of us to carry out our duty gallantly, but who would not hail a match in quaint Broadclyst again, to kick off our Two Thousand Tour?

Dan Sh*ph*rd

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