Clap your hands, stamp your feet, Family Club

Mystics versus Bugle at Bugle, 31st July 2022

After what felt like months of hot, dry weather in the UK, there was a warm mizzle hanging in the air as we arrived at Bugle. The start was delayed while Ian Moore worked on the rain-caressed square; and the drizzle didn't definitively stop until towards the end of our innings. In dry summers, the Cornish farmers must love our tour. We should charge them. Of course, by the end of this week of hot, dry weather, they'd have been asking for their money back.

There were plenty of Buglers at the ground for the start: generations of Gribbles and Moores, and everyone seemed to be a cousin, uncle or in-law of everyone else. There is (or used to be) a football chant that went something like "clap your hands, stamp your feet, family club". Bugle CC could make it their club song.

The Mystics batted first, and our opening partnership -- Duncan Chave and Matthew Borley -- had an average age of about 35. Matthew played a nice shot and then a lovely one -- both square on the off side from wide deliveries -- before popping up a simple catch to Kev Spencer in Josh Karn's first over. Neil Hadley, who describes Kev as his favourite non-Mystic cricketer, would probably have been disappointed to see the smile on the catcher's face: it's Kev's unflinching negativity, however good things might be, that Neil most admires.

Duncan fell to Toby Martin at the other end: a well-taken caught and bowled off a mistimed drive. Josh "Big Boy" Raven replaced Karn and bowled two tight overs, dismissing Ernie and Mat Ogley in the second, both bowled by Chris Cook style darts. We were 30 for four off ten overs. Memories of the 2021 rout (20 for seven, anyone?) were being rekindled. This time, however, we got our substantial partnerships in a bit earlier. Matt Cook and Sid put on a fluent 63, at about eight an over, for the fifth wicket. Matt fell for 64 to a surprised Gary Spencer. Matt hit the ball well but aerially into the leg side and Gary seemed not to pick up the line and to stick out an apologetic, unexpectant right hand. More Spencer smiles as the catch stuck.

Sam Cook fell in the next over, bowled by Rhys Le Masurier who was, like Josh Raven, a loan from Saint Stephen. Adi, skipper for the day was next, and flattered with a couple of boundaries (half of which, as the saying goes, were richly deserved) before falling extremely LBW to Sam Couchman, the junior of the day's two Couchmen. 132 for seven with nine overs of the 35 left. Pete joined Sid for an excellent unbroken partnership of 65. Our total of 197 looked a good one: stretching but definitely not out of reach if two or three Buglers hit the right notes for a while. None of the nine bowlers used by the home team was outstandingly successful, but nor was any particularly expensive.

A quick turnaround and then Gary Spencer and Josh Karn opened the Bugle innings against Mat and Choccy Will. Gary hit a nice four in the first over, but got overconfident in the second and was bowled swinging optimistically at Will's fourth ball. Away from the action, the barbecue was being lit and Paul Tucker was showing off his comprehensive book of Bugle Cricket Club's records, results and history going back to 1910. Apparently, Nottinghamshire's Pasty Harris (not one of the county's biggest names admittedly) once graced the Bugle acres. In those days, the ground was little more than half its current size, with a hedge running from the corner of the stone wall across to the hedge near the entrance. The current pavilion and the entire lower part of the ground would have been behind the hedge.

In his next over, Will had Josh Karn smartly caught by Ernie, who later took an even better catch off a no ball. Nigel Couchman and Brandon Hartley were now together trying to rebuild the innings. Nigel hit fours off Mat and then Mat's replacement from the top end, Sam, before lobbing up a catch to Adi to give Will his third wicket. Sam Couchman, bristling with intent, was the next batter. He raced to 25 off ten balls, then tried one shot too many off Graham Sharland, and was caught at deep mid on by Matthew Borley. It was a calmly taken catch, with a very good recovery after a slight initial misjudgement. Bugle were 62 for four, needing another 138 off 23 at exactly six an over.

Rod Nicholls, the home 'keeper was next in, and the scoring rate slowed as he and Hartley consolidated to the tune of 20 in eight overs. Nicholls was caught behind off Dunc: a gentle lob that Sid didn't need to move much to gather in. The closeness and gentleness were a relief as Sid later experienced corporeal lockdown when a top edge from le Masurier flew about 40 feet into the air and necessitated a sudden 90-degree switch of focus from forward to upward. That chance fell on fallow ground.

Five overs and 15 runs later, Hartley was gone too, caught at slip off Ernie's first ball, and Bugle needed 101 off the last 65 balls. Kev Spencer and, especially, Ryan Le Masurier weren't prepared to admit defeat. They put on 57 for the seventh wicket -- of which Ryan scored 42 -- before both fell in the penultimate over. Will was the bowler, and he finished with an analysis of five for 14. Only Windy, with six for six in 1985, has better bowling figures for the Mystics. The home team were left needing 42 off the last over, bowled by Sam, with two wickets in hand. There was time for one more wicket, Toby Martin falling to a straightforward caught and bowled, before the innings closed. The Mystics won by 36 and it was time to queue up for the barbecue, draw the raffle winners and talk a load of nonsense about the game. A perfect start to the tour, really.

Jim Thomson

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