Blown away by Corey

Mystics versus Dunfermline at McKanePark, 1st August 1996

Duncan won the toss and fielded first as usual. The first ball from Ollie went for four and the second was a wide. Everything going to plan so far. At the other end, Fred, fresh from an unbroken 16-pint spell in Clacky bar, opened with a maiden; and in the tenth over claimed the first wicket - a super outswinger found the edge and then first slip. This brought in the Bajan Corey Harding. Fred decided to try him with the inswinging yorker first ball. Ollie went to fetch the ball from the road as the resulting leg-side full-toss was hit for a huge six.

Mutzy began to play well and Ollie and Fred took well-earned rest to be replaced by Jim and Windy. In Jim's second over, Harding was well stumped after an injudicious foray down the wicket. The Mystics spinners were in control and Spreng was next out, nicely caught in the deep by Chris Healey off Jim. The next wicket was greeted with mixed feelings. On the down side, it brought the formidable Ashok Malhotra to the wicket; but it did spark off one of the most memorable displays of ticking in Mystic history. Jim, already into his ninth over, finally got one to turn, and trapped Gibson on the back foot. The appeal from bowler and 'keeper was simultaneous and reasonably confident, if not exactly demanding. The request was granted and the batsman very slowly left the crease with more than a word of advice for the young umpire. Around 20 minutes later, he finally reached the boundary, having thoroughly entertained the crowd with a fine display of bat throwing.

With Ash and Mutzy together, the Mystics were expecting some ball-fetching practice, but Jim induced a false shot from Mutzy and many celebrated Managers League points as Duncan held a good catch. It was now a case of keeping Farmer Malhotra away from the strike; and, despite four tidy overs, Bryan managed to persuade Duncan that he wasn't the man for the job. Ernie was invited to take over, and produced such a mystery ball first up to Ash that showed sufficient respect for the two long-hops which followed only to take a single. Young Ross was bowled by a rare straight one, and, at 151-6 it was game on. Sadly, Ash forgot all about the Mystery Ball and even Jim couldn't contain the run surge as the diminutive Indian used his feet (and his bat) to great effect. Jim finally took his bow after a superb spell, and Bryan could hide no longer. He was recalled to go another couple of rounds with Ashok. Windy caught Ferguson off another deceptive Ernie long-hop, but all attempts to deny Ash the strike were largely unsuccessful. The last ball was bowled with the score on 222. Ash thought that sufficient and aimed a catch at deep mid- wicket to send the Mystics off with a prized wicket. Ever alert, Adi outwitted him and consummately dropped the catch.

Chris and Sid opened up for the Mystics, and were untroubled by the opening bowlers. Chris picked tuns all round the wicket and Sid played and missed nonchalantly. The travelling support was content as the fifty partnership was registered and it was an unpleasant surprise when Sid was bowled. Adi took his place and was particularly unforgiving on the spin of Mutzy, and the 100 was posted without further loss. The young Indian persisted and eventually got his man as Adi perished for 27. Chris was cruising now, and shed his extra padding. Jim's umpiring signals became more and more like Riverdance. The home side had to resort to the pace of Harding to swing the game their way. Chris remained unmoved but, from the non-striker's end, had a grandstand view of the carnage that was to follow.

At the start of the 32nd over, the Mystics were 145-2. 14 overs remained in which we had to get 79 at just over 5.5 an over. With Chris and Duncan at the crease, an exciting finish was in prospect.

After 32.1 overs, we were 145-3, Duncan bowled by a very quick one that "nipped back a bit".

After 32.2 overs, we were 149-3, Windy stamping his authority on the proceedings with 4 majestic leg-byes to fine-leg.

After 32.3 overs, we were 149-4, Windy bowled by a very quick one that "did a bit".

After 32.4 overs, we were 149-5, Ernie trapped l.b.w. by another very quick one that he didn't see enough of to know whether it had done anything.

After 32.5 overs, we were still 149-5, Peter preventing the hat-trick and showing the preceding trio how to do it.

Next ball he showed them how they had done it, l.b.w. to another very quick one.

The Mystics were now 149-6, 75 runs required at nearly six an over. It was still a possibility as long as Chris remained. In Corey's next over, however, he was bowled (another quick one) to end a wonderful innings of 88. The West Indian removed himself from the attack to spare further punishment, and Bryan and Ollie safely negotiated the remaining overs as Duncan congratulated himself for suggesting a declaration match.

As a contest, this match was unsatisfactory. The broad range of playing abilities within the home side required more sympathetic captaincy to engineer a decent game. Let this not detract, however, from Jim's spell of bowling, Chris Healey's knock, Windy's four leg-byes and Talia's maternity jeans.

Martin Sharland

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