Blase das Bugelhorn

Mystics versus Bugle at Bugle, 28th July 2019

I had deserted my long-suffering Family in Germany and driven up der Autobahn (f, dative) for Cricket (Triin and the Girls were both openly pleased and displeased by my Decision to Soliday). Freakishly, across the Fatherland and Benelux, every FM Station I tuned in to insisted on at least one "Dreadlock Holiday", until I must have heard the Ohrwurm about five or six times. By then I was suffering invasive thoughts, "But do I love it?... Do I still?" unhelped by the Zugunruhe of having been kooped up for hours in meine Audi.

But shortly after arrival, this Verfremdungseffekt passed swiftly into old, unconscious, and happy Routine. The squishy softening Faces seemed bemused, frankly, to be passing among each other yet again, as early Optimism for another Mysticsfest swelled in Cornish Hinterland. Yes the obligatory Weather was expected later in the Week, but this Sunday Bugle sounded bright with Birds, with Sun there or thereabouts, and a cool Slurp of Air often running down off the Mount -- that Roof to a bijoux World built on waste China Clay. The Hedges had stepped in from the Edges since the last time I saw the Ground, the Nails and Fingerlings of the Trees too. Short Boundary on one Side, I couldn’t help but notice.

Mystic Mannschaft news was that Pete W. was all about his Knee Supports at the mere Mention of Bowling. Signature self-effacement no doubt playing a Part, but still, some sort of Batting Total was probably needed. For Bugle C.C. the Physiotherapist’s Report was little better -- we’d heard the previous Afternoon had been hot and long; Players falling to Injuries of one kind or another, and since this had been League Cricket, we detected some other, less quantifiable Dolor still hanging over.

Captain Fraser lost the Toss, and we were put in to bat. Eyes turned to mysterious Newcomer Tom Bennet-Hughes (henceforth TBH), whom fellow Opener Sam Cook appeared to lead in conversation as they strode out. A bit of Spiel, Tactics perhaps -- First Names?

From afar, TBH, by a Margin the shorter of the Two, expressed a little Pop at the Shoulders as they crossed onto the Playing Square, and proceeded to Guard-Taking with rigid determination. Sam preferred to windmill his Bat a few times, betraying to the Audience the heft of his Intentions. Little did he know that he would shortly be thwarted by another Sam (Couchman, son of Nigel) and the sage-green Wicket -- as ever offering salwation for Seam. Sam was caught in the Cordon to conclude the third Ball of the Match, and sensing implosion, TBH really got his nose to the Grindstone.

Watching him bat made me feel all the more a Deutscher Eindringling.

Sehr puzzling! How do People muster die Disziplin to play a Game so? TBH sparkled in his Sargasso-blue Helm, cool Clouds of Coconuß above and Grass Matting below, at peace with himself, and evidently with the Cricket Ball. The Field were relaxed enough that gentle Catches seemed to melt like Icecubes through the Fingers. A Churl might have suggested TBH ditch the Parasol and drop a Finger more Rum in his Cocktail, but I myself had been transported. I really was here in balmy Cornwall, Imagining soft warm Sand creeping up between my Toes (could have been Insects flittering through the Holes of my neglected, decrepit Boots) and here was TBH, bobbing in the Sea, kein Theater.

An off-field Remark made my Ears go red, "remember last year? Walked off without paying for his Lunch, he did." A Year on, and my shameful (but accidental) plunder of the Local Pub was still making Waves. I blenched as the Conversation naturally flowed into Talk of "Little Terrorists" -- and a spate of recent Sightscreen-tippings performed by local Umlauts that could be solved if only a bit of Barbed Wire could "rip their bloody Ears off." Sun warmed red through my Eyelids as I listened enchanted, and dreamt up a piece of Driftwood I was at once trusting to carry me over Shallows, clear and sickling with bright reflections. Through hearing alone I remained aware, of TBH Probes, Pushes and Punches of the Ball, which travelled, as if along a Slide Rule, to each and every occupied Fielding Position. Another watery (but far colder and grittier) Memory painted itself out -- Breadalbane, long ago and Clem Hitchcock’s celebrated "Binary Innings" of 20 or so, which some claim was scored exclusively in Singles (Not to mention the other Story in there concerning Lederhosen). Celebration of the non-binary is more the Expectation these days, and there was an awakening among Mystic Supporters who began to hope for a few more Boundaries. Kev Davies, a former Nomad, had bowled eight Overs at an Economy of 3.00, with Couchman going for little more.

Batting opposite TBH, but rather in the Shade, had been Hoops. His Approach was more typical of a Beach-Towel-priming Tourist in Paradise -- living dangerous and getting away with it. The sharp Contrast in Styles certainly gave Bugle something to think about, and between shrimped Singles and the odd rare Four, Hoops teased them with a few risqué moments of his own. From the Boundary, I counted no fewer than six stinging Put-downs during this Partnership -- not to mention all those Dropped Catches. But by the time Tom finally lost his Curaçao Cool and was stumped for 34, he and Hoops had seen off Couchman and Davies and built us a fair Bühne. Enter Duncan Chave, showing those Qualities of his taken easily for granted, scoring 35 of 73 for the third Wicket. Both he and Hoops (who was now starting to open up with e.g., one very cleanly struck Sweep behind Square) carefully negotiated Josh Carn’s loopy Tempters for a time, until Keeper Jake Moore (in broad brim Kitsch) put Bugle’s catching woes behind them with Duncan’s Capture.

Arriving at the Crease I could see the Twinkle in Hoops’ Eyes, which told me I would soon have the Pleasure of seeing him reach his maiden Mystic Fifty (Overdue! Hoops has scored a Fifty -- and even a Century -- against us). And so he did, becoming the 20th Mystic to reach the Milestone. One final boomer of a Drive, and Hoops was out caught and bowled (though that Catch too, was dropped once) leaving Chris Squire, Ern and I to give it der Hammer, jaja! Clumping the total to 192.

Being kaput, Peter did not pace out his usual Run, but spoodled in off a short One, like a Kingfisher hunting from its Perch. A few of those penetrative Cutters were issued that divide Batsmen in two, and a remarkable Take from Sid helped to dismiss Opener Matt Chadwick, but by the End Pete seemed wholly amenable to the Effluxion of his Duties. Tony Baden, meanwhile, after a wobbly Start, began to bowl Ball after Ball right on the Pfennig of economic Uncertainty, building Pressure upon the home Team over a long spell, and bagging the Wicket of the circumspect Josh Carn in the Process.

At the other End, Sam Couchman appeared as capable with Bat as Ball, and had been resolute in his Negotiation of the New Ball. It was going to have to take some kind of Gedankenexperiment-cum-Schnappsidee to dislodge him. Enter Cook Doppelgänger Sam, who has set aside blood-filled Snorkers still sooner in Life than tall Pete, and is now pursuing a more wholesome Career as a spin Master, using Soil and Earth to showcase the flavour of the humble Cricket Ball. He produced a Trio (three Overs) of Oddities and Tasters from his newly-opened Gasthaus -- some things went down well others not so -- his Receipts; 2 for 25.

The Rate was climbing, but Bugle never gave up on the Chase, preferring to schussboom to the Finish and to take victory or defeat in einem Rutsch durchziehen. In the same edgy Spirit Fraser cut loose my own Sturm-und-Drang googlies, always likely to tip the Balance of a Game in one Direction or another. Somehow my lolloped Dreck deceived dangerous-looking keeper Moore, Davies and the elder Couchman in the space of two Overs, leaving only Colin Henshaw and the powerful Nathan Toms still fighting.

Having put himself to bat at eleven, I thought Wunderkind Fraser might have bowled sooner, but his Bildungsroman doesn’t read that Way. Spiritually opposed to selfishness of any sort, Fraser’s Captaincy is a Lesson in Gestaltism, his Teams cognate Organisms quivering happily towards a Finale under the measure of his delicate Fingerspitzengefühl. Finally persuaded to do Third Change, Frase wheeled down his leaping Offies conceding only 4 Runs from his two Overs, and claimed the Wicket of Nathan Toms (30) who had been very positive indeed since his Arrival, and who alongside Henshaw (16) deserves great Credit for continuing to attack a Target Total that had gradually moved out of reasonable Reach.

It left only Hazel Henshaw-King to join her Husband in the Middle and with conjugal Ceremony waltz us through the fizzled Embers of a lost Chase, before leading us merrily off to the Working Men’s Club to spritz off a few frothing Steins.

Matt Cook

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