Alloa and Goodbye

Mystics versus Clackmannan County at The Arns, 28th July 1993

When the Mystics played Clackmannan County in the Summer of 1993, they showed that they could cope with county cricket. Clackmannan won the toss and elected to bat. Inspired by their Australian International, Merv Hughes, Mystics were not over-awed by the occasion or the large county ground. Perhaps because he was put off by the chanting of the crowd: "SUMO............ SUMOoOOOO................. SUMOocOOOOOOOOOOOO OOOOO", the experienced Hughes was unable to break the Clackmannan opening partnership. It was Kevin, in a fine spell from the bowling-up-the-hill end, who took the wickets of both opening batsmen.

In what was an inspired piece of captaincy, Sid then brought Jim on to bowl. Exhibiting both flight and guile, he enticed Roake to try to hit him out of the ground and over the nearby mountains. Roake missed and Peter took the bails off. Unfortunately, at least for the Mystics, that brought Anwar, Clackmannan's Pakistani professional, to the wicket. It was not long before Jim began to wish he was not bowling. Anwar was the best batsman the Mystics had to face on tour. He played beautifully, stroking the Mystics' bowling to all parts of the ground. Seven Mystics players had a bowl, but only Chrises Healey and Cook were able to contain him, Anwar reached 50 in just 54 balls and went on to score an unbeaten 104, a sizeable chunk of Clackmannan's total of 197, especially considering he came in to bat at number five.

During the tea break, Annie appeared from the scorebox, which she had been sharing with Len the Clackmannan scorer, to give the Mystics some much needed encouragement. She had been listening to Len's cricketing anecdotes. In his time he had apparently taken 1000 wickets in Scottish league cricket and on one occasion had completed a devastating spell of 10 wickets for not very many. None of this had seemed to impress Annie very much. But then he was a bit too old for her.

Windy and Martin opened the batting for the Mystics. Unfortunately Martin was soon bowled and this brought Chris Healey out to bat. Windy and Chris batted carefully, building a record breaking second wicket partnership of 79. Chris was eventually caught on the boundary, trying to force the scoring rate along, for a fine 41. Chris Cook came in next to join Windy and the pair began to build another good partnership. Windy played watchfully. By the time he was caught out for a patient 61, he had put the Mystics in a position from which they had a chance of winning. At this stage though, with Chris Cook and Sid at the wicket, they still needed 68 to win off about 15 overs.

Luckily Kevin had offered himself as a replacement for one of the Clackmannan fielders who had an injury. Fielding in the covers, he pulled off a couple of genuinely unintentional misfields and an overthrow, all of which helped to add a few runs to Mystics' score. In order to overcome the embarassment of Kevin's fielding and to show that they did not need his help, Sid and Chris smashed the last 60 runs to complete a famous Mystic victory with two and a half overs to spare.

Bryan Wendon

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