Oh, we do like to be beside the Seaside

Mystics versus North Cornwall at Crooklets, 2nd August 2005

Look one way out of Bude's ground, and the ocean lies before you. Look another, and there is a pretty town, and across to hills and the beautiful Cornish countryside. It is the kind of ground that is benefited by a sunny day, which indeed it was when we turned up to play our first game at this venue. For what it is like when rain, fog and a cold wind come lashing in, you will need to ask the Erratics (who have experienced being bowled at by a man with foam in his beard).

Fraser and Joseph make their own amusement We took the field, with Sam and Chris Healey opening the bowling. Things toddled along and the opposition were soon 2 for 7. Indeed, they became 3 for 7 when Fretwell (A.), their number 4, took a big step forward. Ever the polite side, the Mystics did not appeal apart from young Sam for whom life has yet to ground out his spirit - a very discreet 'owzat' led the Berry finger (for it was he) to point to the sky. Whether or not one thought that was a good decision (and opinion inclined to the view that it was), it was a relief that the next LBW decision (Fretwell (J.)) was given by someone less well known to us. That bought a left-handed, right-handed combination to the wicket. One look at our bowling, and one of them promptly ditched their helmet and called for their 'Cornwall cap'. Perhaps distracted by the saga of a lost boy called 'Oliver' coming (in an Australian accent) through the beach loudspeakers, our excellent secretary, fielding in his favoured cover position, let one - albeit one very fast one - pass through his usually safe pair of hands. A few balls later, Sid, behind the wickets, missed a difficult stumping. (Incidentally, it was universally agreed that the wicket was a difficult one on which to keep and that Sid did exceptionally well). Shaken, Captain (Long) Cook swooped on a ball hit high into the covers and took it over Jim's head. Celebrations were short-lived, however, as the umpire had called no-ball as the ball (not a dangerous one) had passed above waist height. This was the subject of some controversy, although the facts of the matter (disputed) seemed to be that Cornwall, unlike Devon, regarded everything above waist height as a no ball. If (being Cornish) the batsman could have been acting on this information, the decision seemed fair enough. The result of all this was a stand of 99 that meant the fifth wicket fell on 146 - the stand broken by Chris Healey's 50th Mystic wicket. Thank goodness Shane Warne does not have his repertoire of tricky deliveries.

Duncan and Graham put on 54 for the first wicket, although the rate gave some cause for concern. No fear: Clem was sent in with an instruction for an 'aggressive innings'. It was aggressive, it was short: he was bowled by a deceptively straight third ball. Captain Cook batted well, knocking 39 off 36 balls before finally being bowled by Hockin, who bowled economically, allowing only 14 runs off his 6 overs. Sid scored the most for us, getting 42 off 45 balls. However, 180 was a competitive total to be set and, with 10 overs to go, the Mystics were faced with the need for a run rate of just over 7 an over. It was a difficult rate to keep up, but, with some sportsmanlike captaincy from Simon for the opposition, we kept ourselves in touch needing 15 off the last 10 balls. The final over began with us needing 11 to win which is always rather a tall order. The bowler (young Rhodes, S.) kept his nerve and, in six balls packed with incident, we saw both Ernie and Chris Healey run out and the Mystics lose by 2 runs. A game played in the true spirit of the Mystics, a beautiful venue, some splendid cricket, my letting a four through, and an awesome tea: a day that sums up what the tour is all about.

Deke Matravers

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