May the Fours be with You

Mystics versus Edinburgh University Staff C.C., 25th July 1995

In this role play game you are Captain Peter Thomson, your job is to lead your team to victory by making the all the right decisions. There is only one route to success and many diversions along the way: use all your knowledge and PhD experience to find your way to the pub with the correct result under your belt! Good luck and may the fours be with you. ( Of course the right decisions are the ones that Peter took on the day, anything else would be foolish and not lead to a Mystic win! )

(1) Stardate: 25 July 1995 you have arrived at Peffermill Park, Edinburgh to play the university staff in a twenty over match. Your adversary is Captain Kerr. He beams down a coin and you win the toss, but do you decide to bat or bowl. If you want to bat click on link (26), if you want to bowl click on link (18).

(2) Bryan falls cheaply and is soon followed by Jim, Dan, and Deke. Fortunately Chris slogs his way to a rapid fifty, and finds a useful partner in Cook, who pushes singles with ease to keep Chris happy. With two overs remaining you need ten to win. Does Chris play the ball on its merit and take the game into the final over (15), or does Matthew deliberately run him out, in revenge for his father's appalling dismissal two years earlier (9)?

(3) You let Windy take the strike and off the next two overs he scores two, one off the last ball of each, ten is now required off the last over. The first three balls Windy tries to sweep and misses, the next he sweeps and connects, a top edge for four, the fifth ball he sweeps again, this time the edge goes straight in the air and is caught by the keeper. Enter Matthew Cook who needs to hit a six off one ball. Does he come down the wicket and loft the ball over the bowler's head for six (6), or does he move to leg and hit the ball over extra cover (11)?

(4) Wickets are now falling but you don't want to give anything away so you set a run saving field, you ask Charlie to field sweeper on the off side. In a quick discussion of tactics Charlie feels you would be better off fielding a four, four, two. Confused at first you eventually realise that what he means is four on the off, four on the on, the two being the bowler and wicket keeper, which leaves Charlie free to go to the pub. You tell him there is plenty of drinking time later and move him close to the wicket to save the quick single. The next ball Derek bowls a slow full toss that the batsman middles and Charlie saves a certain four by stopping it right between the eye's. Derek is distraught and goes off the field to seek comfort from his wife, and a bottle of Talisker. When Charlie comes to does he jump up shouting "Penalty ref, send him off, Exeter tra la la!" (7), or does Windy tell him to get his head down (16)?

(5) It's 46 for no wicket after just 8 overs so you decide to bring on Freddie. "This should change things a bit", you think, and you're right. After one over from the trusty young swing bowler the score becomes 57 for no wicket. Freddie looks jaded after his recent couple of holes of golf and eighteen pints of Bass. But do not despair because, thanks to some expert captaincy and fine diplomacy, in Freddie's next over the ball is pushed to mid wicket and Bailey calls for a quick single. In runs Kevin. A pick up and throw later and it's goodnight Mr Bailey and well done Kevin. Two overs later and you witness an on field miracle. Does Kevin repeat the direct throw run out (29), or does he take a skying catch on the boundary (20)?

(6) As you watch the ball sailing over the boundary the vision fades and you wake up in bed at Lendrick, you realise it's all been a crazy dream. The game hasn't even started yet (go back and start again)!

(7) Thanks to a good last effort by everyone, and some fine singing from Charlie, you have managed to keep the staff down to 112 for 8. You feel the team needs a reward between innings, so you go with Dr Bailey into town for some chips. Unfortunately it takes three hours and fifty chip shops before you find one that actually sells chips, and when you return the game is over and no one is sober enough to tell you what happened.

(8) Throughout the innings Dan has striven manfully behind the stumps and no-one is more delighted than you when Jim finds the edge of McGinnity's bat and Dan takes a comfortable catch and celebrates with a quick rendition of 'Quoc Ca'. Then off the last ball of the last over Marsh skies a Cook leg break high into the air and you realise Dr Derek is under it. Do you panic and try to get there first (17), or do you walk casually off the field knowing the catch will be taken with ease, to give Matthew Cook his first Mystic wicket (12)?

(9) Chris is very unhappy at being run out and a fight ensues. Just as you think Matthew is using his height advantage to full effect the police arrive and they are both carted off. You have no choice but to forfeit the game and go in search of a solicitor.

(10) The score is 101 when Kerr comes on and the captain persuades Bryan to slog in the air and he is caught, 19 well-timed runs off just 17 balls. You must now go in to see your team safely through to victory. You still need 12 off three overs and Windy is at the other end, you must decide weather to give Windy some much needed batting practice (3), or take the responsibility of wining the game yourself (30)?

(11) Unfortunately Matthew is just not strong enough, yet, and the ball bounces once before crossing the boundary. You lose by one run, bad luck Captain, try again.

(12) You need to overhaul 112 off 20 overs. You know it could have been a lot worse, had it not been for some Boycott like running between the wickets. You understand from the spectators report that it probably was not the first time the staff batsman have been involved in misunderstandings in the middle. Indeed one batsman was overheard, on returning to the pavilion, to complain in a Wildean manor (as is befitting of such educated persons) "once is unfortunate, twice is fucking malice". The game must continue and you must decide your batting order. Do you open with the hard hitting pair of Healey and Thomson, J. (25), or do you play the safety-first option of Miller and Hadley (21)?

(13) After 4 overs the score is 30 for no wicket you hope that Freddie can improve matters. Unfortunately an encounter with the "Hare's Clap" at Muckhart golf course has seriously affected his bowling action and the wicked away swing he usually gets has turned into serious slice. His first two deliveries start on target but fade out towards the square leg umpire. Then, trying to correct by putting draw on the ball the next two start on middle and just miss off, silly mid off, on the wrong side. Twelve balls later the over has finally ended. Do you take Freddie off and order him home for net practice (22) or say, "Bad luck, Freddie have one more" (24)?

(14) You are a brave man but this time fortune does not favour you, and, despite some classy fielding by Hadley, Kevin continues to be generous with his bowling and compounds your anguish by dropping the staff's gifted opening bat, Hameed. This could prove costly! Do you take revenge on Kevin by making him repair his own foot holes (24), or do you say, "Bad luck, Kev" and position him at mid wicket (5)?

(15) With just three runs needed off six balls, Chris's concentration is suddenly broken by the sight of a man riding around the boundary on a mountain bike. Chris is not happy to see the man carrying a guitar and a set of left handed golf clubs. He immediately runs off after him in an effort to retrieve the stolen goods. Realising the situation you set off in pursuit with the rest of the team behind you, leaving the university staff amazed and the game unfinished.

(16) With Derek off the field the pressure is now on Dan to take wickets. He, therefore, takes a longer run up in an effort to increase his pace. The next ball is so fast that no one sees it, including Kevin, who is now behind the stumps. The ball hits Kev on the head and he is obviously concussed; he starts talking sense. You feel that it would be best to take advantage of the situation and let Kev take over the captaincy.

(17) By the time the ball comes down you have run into Derek, knocking you both to the ground, and the batsmen have run two, possible crucial, runs. Derek picks you up and apologises for dropping the catch. Do you accept his apology and quickly change the subject by telling Miller and Hadley to pad up (21), or do you feel very guilty and talk to Dr Philip Bailey about buying chips for everyone to make amends (7)?

(18) There is a maximum of four overs per bowler and you entrust the new ball to Kevin and a new, meaner, looking, Bryan. Things do not start too well and Kevin's first two overs have gone for 16. You must decide either to take him off now and get Freddie on quickly (13), or leave him on, hoping that one of his long hops will be hit in the air (14).

(19) Dan and Jim see things through to the 17th over when Jim accidentally runs into the opposition wicket keeper who is unfortunately knocked to the ground. Thinking there was malice in Jim's action the keeper squares up to him in a threatening manor. Dan, seeing a situation developing, quickly uses all his diplomatic training and clubs the Scotsman over the head with his bat. The game is immediately abandoned while the police are called.

(20) At last the tide has turned. Thanks to your decision to bowl Dan and Derek the flow of runs is halted and the staff's batting begins to crack. Unfortunately, halfway through his third over Deke notices his wife chatting to some rather handsome looking men. Does he continue playing as if nothing has happened (4), or leave the field and save Amanda by chatting to the chaps himself (16)?

(21) You soon feel that maybe you should have thought longer about opening with Windy, after 10 overs and thirty forward defensives he has scored two. At the other end Charlie tries hard to keep the scoreboard going and scores a very good 35 before being caught at long on. You must decide whether to go in next yourself to try to improve the run rate (28), or call Windy in and send in Bryan and Chris instead (2).

(22) Feeling Freddie's treatment to be over harsh the rest of the team stage a coup and vote for Matthew Cook as their new captain. You cannot bear the humiliation and so sulk off to the pub alone.

(23) You go in and mistakenly ask Jim what the scoring rate is. Unable to work out the ninth decimal place Jim rushes off to find a calculator. He comes back with a Psion organiser and, after opening it, realises that the game has been double booked and we had promised to play Scotland in Edinburgh as well. He decides to send you off with the Mystic ladies to play Scotland and takes over this game himself. You're not happy but would never argue with the boss.

(24) After a wayward first over Freddie's second is on target and causes problems. His fifth ball forces the batsman to stop on a drive and the ball lobs back over the bowler's head. Derek runs around from mid on to take the catch, unfortunately Kevin is still repairing his foot holes and the two collide, spilling the ball to the ground. Derek, obviously concussed, offers to bowl. Kevin, hearing Irish folk in his head rushes to the bar to join in. Do you go to the bar with Kev (27), or give Derek the next over (20)?

(25) On a bouncy pitch offering help to the opening bowlers Jim punishes anything off line, ruthlessly guiding it to third man or fine leg. Meanwhile Chris grumpily accumulates. Jim, job done, rewards Marsh's efforts by allowing his last delivery to hit his stumps. He marches off happily knowing that he had notched up his highest Mystics score and smugly expecting his first little fat Buddha. Next you send in Big Bryan for a timely acceleration of pace. The umpire notices that he's not wearing his glasses and Bryan informs him that he is "batting blind", and proceeds to smack the ball back over the bowlers head for six. The crowd sing, "Bryan, Bryan ....." but Bryan gets his head down, not waving, hitting. Meanwhile Chris has demonstrated every shot in the book ("Fly Fishing" by JR Hartley) on his way to a fine 50. Does he now try to concentrate and see the match won (15), or does he slog madly in order to get Windy in (10)?

(26) You open the batting with Windy and Charlie and things go well at the start with 50 coming off the first 10 overs. However, Hadley is then bowled, around his legs attempting to reverse sweep the fast bowler, for an excellent 48, and Healey and Wendon follow cheaply. Then Windy, unable to take the pressure, is bowled trying to force the ball off the square. Jim looks sound at one end but you must decide whether to go in next yourself (23) or send in Dan to steady the ship (19).

(27) The bar is like a sauna and you collapse with heat exhaustion. The game continues without you.

(28) You push your first ball into the covers and immediately see a way to improve your team's chances of a good score. You call Windy for a quick single then send him back to leave him stranded halfway down the track, tragedy! Between your laughter you apologise to Windy, who scored three in 13 overs. In comes Derek and you go over to talk tactics. "What do you think ?" you ask. Misunderstanding the question, Derek then engages you and half the university staff in a discussion of Kant's "Critique of Pure Reason". The discussion goes on well into the night and the match has to be abandoned.

(29) Meanwhile, at the other end Windy, bores Hameed into submission and he throws his wicket away after scoring a fine fifty. You are now in charge and a flurry of action sees Jim make an easy catch look hard and drops it; then he makes a hard catch look easy and catches it. Windy continues to baffle the batsman with flight, turn and bounce (well that's what he says, anyway). Then another suicide run out means you have seen six wickets fall for 17 runs, and all thanks to your field placing and bowling changes! Now's the time to call on Matthew (Shane) Cook to wrap up the innings. His first ball is pulled to square leg where Bryan waits. Does he take a magnificent one-handed catch (4), or does he wave it over the boundary for six (8)?

(30) Successfully shielding Windy from the strike you, fittingly, make the rest appear academic. You make a fine 11 not out and victory is secured by seven wickets with eight balls remaining. Well done, captain, go to the pub and celebrate! Don't forget, before you get too drunk, to thank the University staff for a great game and Dr Philip Bailey for setting it all up!

Duncan Chave

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