Mystics versus Bugle at Bugle, 24th July 2016
What better place to start the celebration tour for the 20th “China” Wedding Anniversary of the 'ever-young' Jo and the 'was-he-ever-young' Ern, than in the Cornish epicentre of china clay production, Bugle.
Unfortunately the rain misread the guest list and assumed it was invited to attend the festivities, arriving early dressed in its finest drizzle. The china clay 'volcanoes' stubbornly refused to make an appearance, but the early afternoon saw a happy eruption of players, spectators, children and domestic animals spilling onto the ground to spread some Mystics joy. The pavilion was bedecked in a fine hand-knitted Mystic anniversary bunting, which gave everyone something to look at until the happy couple arrived and the lifting rains revealed a green field and a lovingly prepared pitch.
Shortly after 3 o'clock with the rain retreating into a state of low hanging cloud, a 30 overs game was agreed and the Mystics cricket machine spluttered into action for another year, a machine that to the casual observer probably resembled the product of a collaboration between Heath-Robinson and Professor Branestawm. A brief first hurrah (but by no means the last) from Hoops made way in the fouth over for the careful, watchful duo of Duncan and Ern. The Mystics raced to fulfil a handful of maiden overs (four of the first six to be bowled were barren) punctuated by occasional boundaries to keep everyone interested.
Duncan's departure for 21, edging behind in the tenth over, made way for the slightly more hirsute of the Cooks, who set about building the first 50 partnership of the tour with a combination of confident defence and opportunistic attack. Plucky Ern's luck finally deserted him on 13, allowing Evenin' to make the briefest of afternoon appearances.
As the conditions improved somewhat, Adi and Matt set about an acceleration, or more accurately Matt accelerated while Adi provided some navigational support, cleaned the glove compartment and generally admired the view from the passenger seat). 68 runs were added in less than seven overs, before Adi, in trying to step up the tempo was undone by a straight Couchman delivery.
Matt continued his onslaught against the energetic endeavour of the Bugle bowlers (the pick of the bunch being S Couchman with 1 for 21 from 6 overs, and M Hutchins with 3 maidens, 1 for 29 from 6 overs). A very impressive hundred was racked up from just 57 balls, and a final push together with Sid saw the visitors tip over the run-a-ball mark. Matt's marvellous 118 not out, which was almost two thirds of the final total of 182 for 5, included seven sixes and 12 fours and certainly allowed the Mystics to enjoy the tea interval more than they would have done without him.
Buoyed by his earlier bowling success, S Couchman put himself forward to open the batting with Jake Moore. Moore, however, hadn't banked on the esoteric Mystics strategy of having Dunc open the bowling with Jim, and promptly edged Jim's first ball to Sid behind the stumps: Moore or less, you might say. Figuring that was as good as it was going to get for his own bowling, Jim immediately gave way to the younger, sleeker J. Thomson.
Hocking and Couchman went some way to recovering from the early shock, adding an articulate fifty together before Hocking was run out for 13. A few overs later the combined effect of Webb and Chave (Wave?) accounted for Couchman, a frustrating two runs shy of his fifty.
Bugle's much-trumpeted middle order battled valiantly, but successive pairs of batsmen failed to build the partnership that was needed, despite a tenacious 23 from Paul Tucker and a hearty 18 from Hutchins (who was finally bowled by Fraser). A veritable Saharan caravan of Mystics bowlers helped to conjure up a combination of boundaries and wickets in apparently equal measure.
Not one for resting on his batting laurels, Matt then enthusiastically joined the bowling cavalcade and his clutch of four wickets in three overs all but sealed the fate of Bugle, allowing Sean and Jim to wrap up the innings and achieve a handsome win by 37 runs.
Rain held off enough to allow for a post-match drink or two over the Bugle barbie in the early evening air, before damp but happy Mystics headed away to prepare for the next damp but happy encounter.