Done for a Run

Mystics versus Dunfermline at McKanePark, 28th July 1994

Another day, another 40 overs game. Skipper Chris Healey was offered the toss and lost it and on finding it again, discovered that he had won it. On the basis that the Mystics have been poor at chasing totals, the logical choice would have been to bat. Logically, Chris elected to field.

On arriving at Dunfermline, athletic was not an adjective that could describe many of us, particularly Sid and Dunc after the day before's titanic display of running between the wickets.

A mixed day in the field with many performances not as bad as they might appear in the scorebook. Sid behind the stumps suffered the indignity of byes being awarded against him while he was appealing for lbw. Although Ernie had chances to take catches, they would have been hair chances to a lesser fielder. Sumo on the other hand, had an unequivocal nightmare start which included a ten ball over and a dropped catch, but this was all forgotten (only to be brought up again here) when he pulled off an improbable catch at full stretch off a stroke from the captain Fisher, that had six written all over it, his feet only inches from the mid-wicket boundary rope.

Overall, Dunfermline's batting was very competent. Raza made an excellent 77 before off driving straight at Chris. Fisher was very fluent before his surprising dismissal; his 30 included six boundaries. The one we'd all been waiting for, the former Indian test batsman, Ashok Malhotra, came in at seven and clocked up a rapid 38 before Matt sent his stumps flying, thus picking up his second pro scalp in as many matches. Their innings closed with a small child at the crease. I couldn't help feeling like the kind of person who enjoys stealing sweets from kids' prams as I closed in from point to silly point when he was facing. But to his credit, he saw out the last few balls of the Mystics' bowling attack, as they finished on a convincing, but reachable, 214.

Over tea, it was agreed that 250 had looked a likely Dunfermline total after the first few overs, but we had fielded well on what was a perfect looking yet rather bumpy field and the bowling had improved considerably towards the end of the innings, Windy kept it very tight and was unlucky to be wicketless, Peter picked up his first Mystic wicket and Sanjay would no doubt be press-ganged from Clackmannan if we were ever a player short again: he took a high catch and a couple of wickets.

Duncan and Ernie got off to a solid but slow start, which picked up after the Dunfermline opening bowlers, Ayton and the left handed Graveland came off. Ernie's departure brought Windy to the crease in the thirteenth over and we were treated to some confident and speedy batting. Dunc's 59 and Windy's 60 were not only their seventh and fourth Mystic fifties respectively, but they also put on a new Mystic record for the second wicket partnership of 92. Furthermore, Windy also passed 500 runs for the Mystics. At this point the skipper's orders were to continue scoring at this rate at any cost. The result was a flurry of runs: Sid's useful 10 coming entirely in ones and twos had a familiar ring to it; Sanjay, Dan and Chris added a handful of quick runs and sacrificed their wickets just as quickly.

Realistic hopes of some more of the rabble rousing nail biting match-winning, six-hitting that Sumo provided at Clackmannan evaporated when he was bowled for 17 by Raza, with two balls of the innings left and eleven to win. Jim, creditably batted for his team and not his average, despite the unfavourable circumstances of the final over, the result of this was a dot in the scorebook and his being caught.

So. A defeat by 10 runs, but a game in which both teams played some very good cricket. At no point before the final over was the game ever beyond our reach and at times we would have called ourselves favourites to win. Perhaps.

And not only could we not escape the Dunfermline hostility to our lower order batting, we were also unable to escape Dunfermline itself. My personal thanks must go out to Duncan who was kind enough to give us a brief late-night tour of the best in Dunfermline retirement homes en route to Rumbling Bridge.

Dan Shepherd

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