A four-Weetabix Day

Mystics versus Breadalbane, 3rd August 1996

Given the events of the previous night, it was a late, hushed breakfast for most of us. Kate was wandering around asking everyone individually whether they were wearing her frilly cream knickers, but even this barely drew a response. Sid tucked into his four Weetabix with grim determination.

Things were a little better by the time we got there. Bryan, wearing he Captain's armband, had returned to his usual cheerful, co-operative self: "they told me they'd tossed and we were batting, so I said OK."

It seemed a little off for the captain to nominate himself opener, too, but out he went, only to edge the ball onto his stumps when McCallum, outrageously, bowled one that didn't swing a mile.

No-one really got in, on whatever it was that was standing in for the pitch that day -- Windy, Sid, myself, Adi and Dunc all made it into double figures before getting ourselves out. At 80 for 6 Chris Healey put down his videocamera and went out and slapped a few, ably assisted by Peter. A gangly youth, whose name I missed, responded by knocking Chris's lucky helmet off, ably assisted by the pitch substitute.

Healey continued undeterred to 64 at a rate of slaps, being dropped on the boundary, and rewarding Peter for his sterling support by running him out on a misfield. He steered the innings to 184-8; we might perhaps have made more on a ground that small. Ollie, my fellow tour virgin, came in towards the end and set about aiming for a rather lower total. With about three overs to go it seemed suddenly as if he was worried he might not appear to be trying; he began flinging his bat about, and managed to cart the ball all over the square, heroically stop overthrows with his body, and generally restrict the run rate further.

Bar a couple of looseners from Jim, he and Kev were tight with the ball, as were Ollie and Dunc who followed. Aberfeldy crawled to 55 for one off the first 20, enlivened only by Windy's banter from behind the stumps. On came Sid and Chris; Chris's second ball did for the "angled bat player" (we should have put everyone at point for him), his next knocked back off peg and they were 74-3 in the 26th and struggling. But the new guy in -- last year's opener, apparently -- hit a couple of fours off Sid and the crowd finally started to get into it.

There was only one thing for it -- we brought on Adi. He bowled some fantastic loopers, some of which hit the pitch, and one of which unfortunately had some big youth stumped off a wide. At 100-4 they were ticking over at the required 8 an over, until their ex-opener Simon skied one to Windy. Then the miracle happened again -- a stunning wide from Adi, a slog, a miss, and another stumping.

The tail enders put up a game slog but it was too little, too late, and they went for 137. In a final twist of irony another incompetent bowler -- yours truly -- came on, after a bowling hiatus of 15 years, and continued my Magical Mystery Tour by collecting three of them. Sadly this included the 9-year-old on the side -- who, I might add, had an arm which put me to shame. Not as much as Adi did, though, with a full-length diving catch to dismiss the lachrymose infant.

Oh well. Didn't hurt my figures.

Note: The Breadalbane out-swing bowler, McCallum, now has bowling figures of 29-15-44-7 against us.

Nick Healey

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