Ode to Ultimate Adi

Mystics versus Erratics, 22nd July 1995

Seasons of pissed and mellow mystic men,
Close bosom - friends in the maturing sun,
Conspiring with Jim where to meet and when,
And how to maintain a long unbroken run.
Ultimate Adi is our op'ning bat,
With Deke the Doc, our syllogistic chair.
The plan was good; Adi looked set to stay,
And, after five balls, Derek was still there.
Alas, the sixth fruitless he plunges at,
And Penny Price has knocked his leg-stump flat.
"You bitch, you're dead", Derek was heard to say.

Unpartnered, like a rampant, rutting stag
Whose lovely hind the hunter's dart has slain,
Bold Borley eyes the tattered Mystic flag,
Sees dainty Duncan pricking on the plain,
Observes with pride the grace of Duncan's game,
Blinks in bewilderment as Duncan's bowled
(By Fisher, whose slow loopers look so bland),
And welcomes Sid into his fiery fold.
At last a partner worthy of the name!
At last an open sesame to fame!
Fifty for Adi, and a hundred stand!

From mouth to Mystic mouth the plaudits pass
When Adi smites his premier magic six.
Young Matthew Cook takes close-ups of the grass,
While Adi's off-drive rivals Graeme Hick's.
The champagne's open! Adi's ninety-three!
The mystic crowd prepares to mob the hero.
John Somers bowls, and Adi's down the track;
But who's that parsimonious Bob de Niro,
The wicked wicket-keeper, who is he?
That traitor in a Mystic cap, with glee,
Removes the bails ere Adi's back foot's back.

Old Father Thomson, blush if blush you can!
A Trojan horse to blot a Mystic story.
You stand and watch as Sid is joined by Dan -
Yours is the shame, and Adi's is the glory.
The game goes on. Is there a secret plot?
Has Dan been told he mustn't score too fast?
A poke, a heave, a grimace and a tap,
But no sign of a run, until at last,
Frustrated of the strike, Sid takes a trot,
Steve Berry runs him out by quite a lot,
And Sid takes refuge in Naomi's lap.

Squire Ern of Dunsford's next to try his luck,
With desperate Dan and the Erratic crew,
But Dan was bowled for a protracted duck
After our Ern had struck a four or two.
Ern lofted, then, a jaunty ball from Hale
Into the safish hands of Richard Fox,
To be replaced by Matt, who'd hit one four
Before our Ern had quite removed his box.
Less eager to succeed than not to fail,
The south-west Wind stonewalled, for fear the tail
Would crumble, leaving an indifferent score.

Such fear has never entered Matthew's brain -
A territory rarely stressed by thought.
Matt bats like Ian Botham born again,
Whilst Windy boycotts ever being caught.
A fifty stand; the distribution's fair.
To Windy's single, Matthew's forty-nine
Off nineteen balls. A nifty fifty's near,
when skipper Jim decides it's time to dine,
And signals to his dad that he'll declare
At one-nine-nine for six, eat an eclair
And run through The Erratics before beer.

And so, with tea demolished, out he strides
To set his field. Red Barron limbers up,
Along with Biz. They serve up seven wides,
But seven straight balls, too! We'll win the cup,
Whatever Robertshaw and Hale can do!
Ultimate Adi holds a sharp slip-catch
Off Kevin, and Steve Berry hobbles in.
Jim catches Hale, but can we win the match?
It's half-past six, and fifty-seven for two.
Gras Lawn's no track to run a side right through
If they're defending, with no chance to win.

And so it went. At one-two-six for five,
The book records, stumps and the match were drawn,
Unmemorably. Yet, to be alive
To celebrate the early-Borley brawn
Was bliss that balmy night in Moa Hill,
Bliss in the bar of the Tally Ho
In Countess Wear, where we have been of yore,
And where, all being well. Next year we'll go.
And Jim will take the cup, Sid catch a chill,
Adi sing mollusc songs, whilst Mystics still
Recall his Magic match the year before.

Annie and Peter Thomson

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