We realised Falkland were not keeping up their intimidating professional approach of past years when they told us they were a couple of players short. Matt Cook and Chris Squire were recalled from their walk up the hill, and drafted into the side. Duncan, captaining the Mystics, won the toss and put them into bat. They started well, putting on 37 before the fall of the first wicket, and 62 before the fall of the second. This is not to say the Mystics were slackers in the field, far from it. Windy's fielding brought Derek Randall to mind (now retired, of course). Duncan took to fielding the ball with his forehead, and Jim with his chin. Thanks to some tight bowling by Windy, there was a bit of a middle-order collapse, with Falkland going from 62 for 2, to 78 for 7. It was during this spell that said Martin Miller took his 50th wicket for the Mystics. This seems a good time to reflect on what a splendid and committed Mystic he is: a giant in the Mystic pantheon.
Ollie, having bowled well at the start of the innings, found high living catching up with him and appeared to cease to function. Jim came on again and another milestone was passed: Chris Squire, caught by a somnambulant Ollie, gave Jim his 50th Mystic wicket. Windy ended up with 5 for 19, and Jim 4 for 40. This was, I think, the finest Mystics bowling performance to date.
The Mystic innings began with some blinding batting. Adi hit a cover drive which, if it had been televised, would have been pointed out as a model to all young cricketers out there. However, it became clear that things were not going to be easy. Falkland's two young bowlers, K. and R. Meakin, were making things difficult. K. Meakin in particular, bowled some excellent leg spin. Sid was a victim to the first ball he faced from that end, and the lengthy duel between the bowler and Neil Pope was one of the highlights of the tour. Between them, the Meakins took all six Mystic wickets, with R. getting 2 for 27 and K. getting 4 for 32.
It is a sad reflection on the times to have to report the first instance of a streaker at a Mystics match. The game was held up as the offender was apprehended and returned to the custody of Annie, his mother. At 52 for 4, the Mystics were obviously feeling apprehensive. Clem went in with a firm view to settle the nerves. His pre-batting chat with Neil conveyed the view that the need was to get their heads down, and overcome the total through some sensible running in singles. Soon after he charged down the pitch to the awesome K. Meakin and was stumped by about three furlongs. The same bowler finally had Neil caught. This bought the formidable pairing of Chris Healey and Martin Sharland to the crease, who batted well, putting on the 40 runs that saw us safely through to the end.
It was a memorable match in all kinds of ways. The Mystic Moment trophy went to Jim for his 50th wicket. That there are so many occasions on which it is brought home to us what a splendid fellow Jim is, is indeed testament to what a splendid fellow he is. Long may he continue with his selfless organisational task, and I look forward to writing the report telling of his 100th, and 150th even 1000th wicket.
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