Like hot Butter off a Bat

Mystics versus Erratics at Gras Lawn, 27th July 1996

There had been some concern over the weather: there were a few too many clouds about for my liking. But when they didn't get in its way, the sun shone down very warmly. I was glad I'd brought my Akubra, even if nobody else was.

We started a little late, following some logistical problems of ferrying players from the pub in the Quay, but Mystics opened the batting with that doughty dreadnought Borley. How we cheered as he drove a glorious four and sat back to watch another innings of stature to rival last year's triumph. And what a great innings that four was. Chave joined Sid Thomson at the crease and they attacked well with a good many fours and things like that. By why was Chave wearing his BBC cap? And more to the point, why didn't Donna fine him for it after the match?

As Jim disappeared into the undergrowth to look for the first of a few bushbound balls, the Erratics realised they were a player short. Were there any spare players to be had? "Annie, get your kit on!" suggested Windy. "Not often you hear that is it?"

Runs flowed like hot butter and the 50 came up in 35 minutes. Rita suggested no one else was going to get a bat. That sort of remark usually results in an instant wicket, but voodoo wasn't going to help the Erratics today, not in the form of wickets anyway. Sid called for a new bat because he had broken his. Well actually it belonged to Chris. Jim raced on with a couple of bats and a putter for Sid to choose from while some wag suggested he needed a six-iron. Dunc reached his own 50 at 3.50pm and Sid reached his ten minutes later. I was regretting leaving Sid out of my fantasy team. He knocked a big six over long on. Not to be outdone, Dunc hit an even bigger one over the fence which was never retrieved. They continued to hit the ball into the air and anyone would have thought they were trying to get caught. In fact this was precisely what they were doing and the only result it was having was to increase the run rate. At one point, Annie (who had indeed got her kit on) came very close to catching her brother, then he hit another six and came off, sweating profusely: "retired hot".

Kate went in to bat. She batted very well before she was bowled. The declaration was called at 196 for 2. A record partnership.

By the time tea was ready, the Erratics were 20 for 1 after 6 overs. The second wicket came soon after tea. But what would you expect with Fred and Ern opening? Donna came on for a bowl, but by the time she bowled her second over, Rita's voodoo struck and she bowled so many wides that, together with her hair colour, people were beginning to think she was me.

Meanwhile, Edie sat on the boundary indulging in her own style of commentary. "He hit it, it blumped up, Adi went for it with his left hand stretched to the floor ... and he missed it." Peter Thomson was batting like a man possessed. Ian Hayter stormed in red faced and aggressive and would be deftly steered away behind the bat. Peter turned one full toss over his shoulder to fine leg where Donna could only watch helplessly as it flew past her and hit the fence.

A change of bowling brought in Windy. He bustled in, John Somers struck and Ern dived and scooped at mid-on. This brought in Annie. Ian Hayter lobbed down a slower ball and she was clean bowled. Jim, fielding nearby was seen to say something to her and Annie aimed a swipe of the bat at him for his pains. Ian was too good for Penny too. A slower full toss was tonked in the air to square leg where Freddy dived and rolled to catch it. The next ball and the last batsman fell, clean bowled.

The tour had started with a flourish.

Kevin Barron

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