Runs in the Afternoon


Mystics versus Contango at Dunsford, 23rd July 1995

I have no idea what happened during this match. Considering I was scoring, you may consider this rather an odd claim, but there it is. I can only assume that with Annie's boots to fill, I was concentrating so hard on not making any errors that I was only able to grasp the match on a ball by ball basis rather than on a higher level. Had I only a greater intellect, maybe you would be reading something different today.

Let me at least set the scene. A hot sun was beating down on the cricket pitch at Dunsford, and rising beyond the fields behind were the majestic towers and thatches of the village itself. Ollie was feeling a little hung over and queasy, so much so that, in the morning, he had agreed to go for a drive down the narrow, windy, up and down country lanes of Devon. Why he felt this would make himself feel any better is beyond any of us. Even Ollie. So he retired under a hedge for much of the afternoon.

I found myself without a hat, so borrowed Adi's Panama. That turned out to be an honour for which many would have given their box that day. Things may have started a little slowly as Mystics opened the batting, but once Adi was at the crease, it was another game, another world, another plane of existence. What strokeplay, what timing, what brilliance, what modesty, what humble elegance. And that early cover drive that had the gods in Valhalla throwing down their swords and rushing to the nets! And the six that flew over the tree on the boundary that wasn't a six because it grazed one of the top branches. He received the adulation with his usual puzzled diffidence, but behind that little smile was the pride of having pulled off two great consecutive innings for a great team.

Tea was impressive. I particularly liked those little cakes with the interesting icing. I think I had about 15 of them. Mind you, Tamsin had twice as many. And so Contango's turn. Ern, skippering on a ground he knows so well, pointed out to everyone where his house is: within view and walking distance of the ground. What a shame that this is the last year that this pitch will be used by Dunsford. He won't be so close to home as he'd hoped. During the course of this game, he used eight bowlers. One of these was Annie with her lovely little run up and hop...I wasn't playing, so someone had to bowl like that. There was excitement during the Contango innings too. There was the caught behind controversy where Fred forgot himself and ticked squeakily. On a difficult chance, Sid made a right pig's ear from a sow's purse and caught the ball anyway. He gets so bored with the ease of it all you see that he has to put the circus style catching in just to stay interested. And finally, Ern brought himself on to bowl at the end and took a few cheap wickets, just to impress Edie. But she loves him anyway, so it was quite unnecessary.

So ended another victory for the Mystics. Duncan didn't bat, and Matt didn't bowl. But then, neither did I.

Kevin Barron


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