Mystics versus Bugle at Bugle, 30th July 2017
With batsmen concerned about potential hail storms ("ave-rages"), weather predictions delayed the 2:30 start to 2:45, as spectators found their sunglasses to enjoy the gorgeous weather. One person was heard to wish for sun cream, even.
As I settled in to watch this match and get a glorious tan, it dawned on me that Jim had nominated the person on tour who had both the least knowledge of cricket and of the team members, exhibited beautifully by my first question: "Who's the guy in the lab coat? Are those his whites?" Of course, that's the umpire. Oops, my bad.
And then suddenly, we were 5 overs in, with a grand total of 8 runs (5 wides, 3 runs), and, for lack of other stimulation, other supporters start bemoaning the paucity of my note-taking for my match review. Sorry, report. Laws of cricket not rules of cricket. Etc.
Jim ends his brief career in Bugle's fielding side after the 6th over, acknowledging the crowd with a majestic hat wave (the hat being majestic rather than the wave). And then, at 3:07pm, a fielder lost his far less majestic hat, chasing a ball hit by Matty V. Marky Manbun says of Vincent: "he hits a heavy ball".
Ernie, still in the prime of his career in Bugle's team in the field, suspiciously drops a catch so Matty V can stay at the crease. Probably had him in his Fantasy Team. And worth it - Matt hits the first boundary next ball! Crowd goes wild in the excitement!
We are now 30 minutes into the match and two Mystics/Magicians are limping, as Fraser stops a boundary for the other team (questionable loyalty there) with his knee, and Matty V pulls an already strained ligament, shortly before getting caught.
Sam knocks a six on his first ball but soon gets out after a brief but sterling spell at the crease.
Jim Thomson starts to assess morale around the remaining batsmen, asking Marky Manbun: "how are you feeling?" To which the reply came: "like I need another piss". But Mark, urine to bat soon.
Danny started venting his frustration at the score on Bugle's wall, with many a punishing four struck at its crumbling face. Alan, meanwhile, was showcasing the luck of the Irish, as two catches were dropped against him. But, like all good things, his streak came to an end and he was caught for 16 runs.
Rain stops play at 4:15pm, shortly after Jim mansplained to Donna who had caught Alan... after she had it written down. I thought I had felt the first drop of rain but Laura said this was probably someone spitting as they described mansplaining. It was, however, actually the first drop of rain and we all took shelter to consider the Duckworth-Lewis method.
The Mystics were 116-5 after 25 overs batting. Once Jim had told his app which way to bias itself, the opposing side had to reach 147 from 30 overs.
My note-taking became strangely peaceful, forming a perfect Haiku after the rain interlude:
Pete bowled the wicket
Down to 10 men fielding
Then a four happened.
The unpretentious reader will be glad to know that I then reverted to full sentences; Bugle fired up the BBQ and, in true British fashion, tempted the rain.
The players proudly battled on through the light shower and a wicket was taken. Unfortunately, and very confusingly for this reporter, this was in a concurrent match (England's test against South Africa), and not in the match I was watching.
In all honesty, my attention was drifting at this point, but it sharply returned when I heard that someone had got De Kock out. Sadly, this too was happening in The Oval. Pas de Kock in Cornwall.
Actually, then someone did get caught out in Cornwall, but not in a cock-related way. 16-2, 7 overs down. Things were spicing up, so I took a comfort break and missed Jim bowling "a wide wide wide" (after some appeals, this was changed to only a "wide wide".)
Marky Manbun was bowling when the third wicket was caught. Tragically, I missed the next wicket because I was unwrapping plastic cheese at Bugle's BBQ.
The match continues without much event; an ice cream van plays its tantalising tune but is nowhere in sight.
The spinners are on to get through the overs quickly. They are hungry for wickets ... and for the burgers. Or maybe the phantom ice cream van, which has now circled us but still not braved the muddy road to the pitch.
Bugle have 79 off 21 overs. This doesn't look hopeful for them, as Alan steps up to the damp crease. Alan bowls, and gets a wicket! Pete catches the ball right on the boundary. That batsman had 42 runs. A wicket maiden over!
Sam then bowls a golden duck** and it's clear that Bugle are on the ropes. The batsman does a beautiful baton twirl, with a bat, as he walks to the clubhouse.
I was really distracted by this, and still Googling Duckworth-Lewis, when I missed another wicket. I quote my fellow spectators in the discussions afterwards: "the batsman looked to the square-leg umpire to suggest a no ball as it was too high, but then it hit the stumps. Can you have a no ball that hits the stumps? It's either a no ball or he's been bowled ..." - but no, he's out! 94-7.
Edit: Jim later said it hit the bottom of the stumps, and Alan (who was bowling) said he was "too ashamed to look the batsmen in the eye" as he walked off.
The match continues as we get agonisingly close to Pete's third catch of the game! It goes over his head... Those burgers must have lost their appeal. Chris Squire continues his bowling...
But then Pete gets a catch the next ball! His third catch of the game - a great running catch!
Duncan finishes the innings as he bowls Bugle's wicketkeeper, the fourth duck of the game, and Mystics win the first match of the tour! 96 all out. Everyone has a very British handshake - and, one spectator informs me, "now we will never hear the end of it ... All evening is spent talking about what they did."
**Apparently this phrasing is so wrong that it's thoroughly hilarious, so I've left it in for the amusement of the educated reader.