Mystics versus Boconnoc at Boconnoc House Deer Park, 26th July 2016
The omens weren't good from the start on Tuesday. My bladder woke me at about three o'clock with my head still in Exeter, which is why I got up and walked into the wall. Then there was a breakfast-time power-cut at Tor View: the Lostwithiel car-park was closed in anticipation of a giant robot: and the Globe Inn, which had recovered its G since last year, wasn't serving food. Cornwall is one of those rare counties which can get out of bed the wrong side, but Boconnoc's braes are bonny, where falls the early dew, and 'twas there the teams assembled to start at half past two.
Martin Sharland, skipper for the day, either lost or won the toss, and Boconnoc batted first. My suspicion is that Krups and Chris Ferro were surprised to find themselves opening the bowling, but their shared ten overs gave us our only glimpse of economy, accounting for three wickets along the way (24 for 3). Windy would later be fined for pouching Pusey in the gully without looking at the ball, but he had a counter-claim available. All the catches subsequently missed by Mystic fielders were closely watched from bat to ground. Did anyone else notice Chris Ferro's iconic dejection after he'd fired successive balls wide of the batsman's legs? Ernie did, I reckon, but it was when he 'rested' his opening bowlers that the festival of sixes began. The first, struck by Spencer Junior, flew between rows of symmetrically somnolent Mystic ladies straight through the pavilion door, and it was the same batsman whose savage response to a shortish ball from Fraser bullet-cracked into Fraser's ankle and had him retire to the maternal bosom and an ice-pack. It was a blow that would have felled an elephant, and it says a lot for youthful self-assembly that Fraser was back on the field within twenty minutes. By then, Chris Healey had dismissed the dangerous Spencer with his first ball (64 for 4), thus initiating a partnership (unbroken by human hand) of 166 between Walters and Foot. Theirs was the kind of batting that discourages slow bowling, particularly when it involves contending with the climate as well as the batsmen. I'm not sure when the thin drizzle started, but it was persistent through a fair proportion of the forty overs. You have to admire hosts who risk damage to the square to give touring sides a game. The retirement of Walters soon after completing his century (230 for 5) was emulated by Foot a few balls later (245 for 6), and the forty overs were rounded off with Captain Spencer's run-out - Ferro's accurate return from the outfield - and yet another fraternal collaboration (stumped Sid, bowled Jim).
The rain won, after a stop-start-stop again thirteen overs. Time enough for Adi to unfurl one of his patented straight drives, for Ernie to look pugnaciously untroubled, and for Fraser to play a small gem of an innings which included a six, clipped nonchalantly off his pads. Once the match had been abandoned, the rain stopped, pints were drunk, fines were imposed by the Chairman and a rich variety of eating arrangements scattered the Mystics from Lostwithiel to Lanlivery and to a pasta concoction (Windy as chef) at Tor View, where power had been restored.
A footnote on poetic forebears of Boconnoc players
Sir Henry Newbolt (1862-1938), an ancestor of Boconnoc's opening bowler, coined the famous instruction to 'play up, play up and play the game'.
An aged ancestor of Boconnoc's wicket-keeper caught the eye of Robbie Burns, who wrote: 'Should auld R. Quaintance be forgot'.