Mystics versus Erratics at Gras Lawn, 26th July 1988
I won the toss and decided to bat. It was a strong Mystics batting line-up, capable of setting a decent total: one that might even be out of Chris Cook's reach. Windy was probably lucky not to be LBW first ball to Geoff Fox - apparently Graham Sharland didn't give it out because he was still sorting out the stones in the pocket of his umpire's coat and hadn't really seen the ball. Things (especially Windy) went slowly for a while, and then it rained briefly. While the players sheltered in the tea room, I pointed out the strength of the batting order and suggested that Windy might want to get on with it a bit. The first ball after the short break - Jeff Stanyer bowling to Windy - was belted for a majestic straight six; and Windy sailed to 50 before being questionably LBW to Stanyer. Neither Nick Howe nor Ernie hung around for long; but Duncan was getting going, riding his luck on the way to an important 85. Andy Payne made a quick 30, but 188 was probably 20 or 30 short of what the Mystics should have got given that they were 91 for none more than an hour before tea.
Stan opened the bowling with an attacking field: four slips and a gully. Graham Sharland had to make do with three slips and a gully. The Mystics needed to attack, both to take wickets and to give some runs to an Erratics team that was heavily dependent on Chris Cook. A few wickets did fall, and Chris kept the scoring rate high. When the last 20 overs started, the Erratics needed just over six an over and had six wickets in hand.
Peter Thomson made a quick 13, mostly off me as Andy Tuckett at the other end was bowling his medium-paced cutters and drifters accurately. Eventually he came down the track once too often at me and was comprehensively stumped. Andy Tuckett's summary of the innings was, "Jim bowled crap so Peter would look good; Peter came down the track and missed one so that Jim would look good; and he stayed out of his crease so that Sid would look good." Harsh.
In the end, 24 were needed off the last over - Chris Cook facing me - with eight wickets down; and both sides could have won. Chris scored 14 off the over (passing 100 in the process), but also got perilously close to holing out a couple of times with only Annie Thomson to bat. An honourable draw, and certainly the best game of the series so far.