The Start of Everything

Mystics versus Erratics at Gras Lawn, 31st July 1984

I arrived at Gras Lawn that Tuesday afternoon reasonably confident that I'd have a full side. There'd been a week of frantic 'phone calls after the late withdrawal of three players but John Bird and a couple of non-cricketing consripts had agreed to play. In the end, there was one no-show, but Colin Tarrant (who was to go on to achieve near-fame in The Bill) had turned up to watch John Rudlin play, and readily agreed to join us.

I won the toss and put the Erratics in. "Bill Hanson and Richard Seaford open the batting," yelled my dad as he walked back from the middle. "John Rudlin number three; Kelsey four." Stan opened our attack down the hill, with Windy at the other end drifting his left-arm-over medium-pacers into the right-handers. In the tenth over, with the score on 26, Seaford was out to Windy, with Rudlin following soon after, bowled for one. Windy had the first three wickets when Hanson lifted one into the gully and Martin Watts held a solid catch despite colliding with Stan who had run around from slip. Hanson had made a gritty 21 in 52 minutes.

My first over saw the run out of the dangerous Pete Colclough: an excellent pick-up and throw by Windy. Kelsey Thomas, having scored 22, was well stumped by Sid. Soon after that, Bill Parker managed somehow to glove one of my gentle off-spinners to John Bird at slip, and the Erratics were six down for 75. There now followed a solid partnership between Peter Thomson and Jeff Stanyer, both batting confidently and securely (though one or two were edged past slip off Duncan Maclaren's bowling). On 26, Peter Thomson managed to miss one of my straight full tosses. Stanyer soon followed, run out attempting a second on my arm. Other than a couple of violent pulls by Steve Berry off Martin Watts, the tail put up little resistance - especially after Stan had been recalled to the attack - and the Erratics were dismisssed for 133

Duncan Maclaren and Sid went out to open our batting, but both had been bowled by Berry before the total reached double figures. Windy joined John Bird, and runs started to come. Stephen Fisher's innocent-looking drifters were replaced by the nagging accuracy of Jeff Stanyer, and Windy soon perished trying to drive a good-length ball but only managing to lift a tricky catch to David Salter at mid-off. 39 for three, and I started to worry about how many we still needed and how little batting we had to score it.

Stan was next in, and Rudlin came on to bowl some muscular medium pace. There was some dramatic appealling, but Stanyer and Bird were unconcerned as they built the match-winning stand. John took the anchor role with a risk-free 39, while Stan was bolder, hitting a six (off his dad) and nine fours in his 59. With five needed for victory, Stan was well caught by Bill Parker off Kelsey Thomas. One run later, John Bird was bowled by Berry, and it fell to Colin Tarrant and Nick Howe to score the winning runs. Victory by five wickets, and a new cricket club had been born.

Jim Thomson

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