Ollie - the Man with a Hundred Balls

Mystics versus Clackmannan, 4th August 2000

It was the match that almost never was. Clackie had been rained off. How could there be a tour without Clackie? The lads at Clackie seemed to agree. The game had to go ahead and the Friday rest day was available.

Scouts were sent far and wide to gather a side to play the tourists. But even before it began, there were two circumstances in the Mystics' favour: the pro was down at Old Trafford watching the test match and Dave Wilson couldn't make it.

After the previous day's draw, Chris Healey suggested a declaration game. Clackie, used to playing limited overs, had no idea what he was talking about but agreed anyway out of politeness. As it turned out, it was an unnecessary precaution.

Ollie anchored the Mystics innings with a century. A century of balls faced that is. He studiously ignored the heckling from the boundary as he settled into his armchair in front of the stumps, read the paper, had a snooze and occasionally tapped the ball away for a run. In this way, he made 29 while bodies fell about him. Sid went in and nurdled the ball around a bit until he'd got himself worked up enough to score three fours in quick succession. He was replaced by Skipper Healey who took matters into his own hands and flailed the ball around the ground. Ollie, shocked by the foolhardy behaviour at the other end was caught behind, but not until he'd solidly helped the Mystics reach their century.

Chris ended up with 43 in 42 balls, then retired to let the tail perform with the pressure off. The tail was so relieved to have the pressure taken off that it managed to score a huge 9 runs for four wickets. Thank goodness for Matt knocking up a quick 7. Incidentally, it says in my notes that I was "bowled playing a bad shot." I'm not quite sure why I felt that particularly worthy of note.

We got to 163 with X.Tras our second highest scorer.

Ollie opened the bowling as well and showed he was a man of contrasts by taking a couple of quick wickets, including our old friend Graham Bhatti who hadn't played for two years.

It goes without saying, but I'll say it anyway, that Chris Healey is a master tactician. In me as his first change bowler, he had a reliable partner. As two short balls on the leg side were dismissed for four each at deep square leg, Chris knew he could count on me to place it right on the spot again for a third ball in a row. He gently signalled to Matt to drop back a little; the trap was set. With another short ball it was sprung and as Matt's hands closed around the ball Symington was off back to the pavilion. As I said, Chris is a master tactician: he didn't tell me what he was doing.

From then it was the spinners' game. Windy and Chris Healey shared the remaining wickets with Matt who didn't concede a run until his 19th ball but by then had already taken two wickets. Wright passed his first half century and deservedly was undefeated on 60.

Sid won the Mystic Moment. He was at first slip when the ball rocketed towards his shoulder. Despite not seeing it, he managed to get two hands to it before it passed through. He sat dejected, ever his greatest critic. Meanwhile, Adi tidying up behind him, scooped the ball and whisked it back. His aim was several yards off and it thudded into Sid's leg as he sat on the ground.

"Are you okay?" we asked.

Sid made no bones about it. "No," he replied.

Kevin Barron

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