May Rust in the Rain

Mystics versus Grampound Road at Grampound Road, 29th July 2013

This wasn't so much a vintage Mystics performance as a veteran one. Graham's huge sausage in the Falmouth Arms before the game was probably the most virile the Mystics got all afternoon. Perhaps, if you were in the nets and heard the cryptosexism in Hayder's discourse on bowling, physics and the philosophy of everyday life, you might want to claim that as a half hour of manly Mysticism. However, flying in the face of lad culture, I decline any link between masculinity and misogyny.

Grampound Road had a smattering of first-teamers, an Aussie pro and some very promising youngsters. The Mystics had the strongest team we could put out, with plenty of bowling, plenty of batting and pretty much no fielding. Pete and Sam, the only two Mystics who could reliably register above about 45 mph on a speed gun, opened the bowling in a 40-over game, and they were economical without being penetrative. Matt Manuel dominated the batting, scoring 62 (off 51 balls) of the first 74 runs before he was fourth out, smartly stumped by Sid. At this point, Chris Healey had all four wickets, two of which he'd had to catch himself. He also top scored in our innings, racing into a lead in the player rankings for the Managers League - a lead he never relinquished. May and Rust were now batting together. As the drizzle began to thicken and the Mystic joints started to creak, May-Rust looked like a more appropriate description of the fielding side than of the batting side.

A fifth wicket for Healey brought Aaron Todd in. In hindsight, dismissing May was probably a mistake. Up to his arrival, Grampound Road had been drifting along at two or three an over, but Aaron (who has a page on CricInfo all to himself) changed all that. His 58 featured ten boundaries and just four dot balls, to the last of which he was loudly LBW to Graham Sharland. Note that the Mystics kept him to a run fewer than Tasmania Under 23s did later that year when Western Australia Under 23s won by an innings in Perth.

A final thrashing by Dan Barretto and Pretty J-Mingo took Grampound Road to 199, all out in the 36th over. Matt used eight bowlers, with a wicket each for Fraser and Ernie and three for Graham to add to Healey's five. Tea was in the old club house, with the brand new pavilion still held together by scaffolding and tarpaulin. Hopefully we'll get a proper look at it this summer.

Todd and Ridd started the bowling after the break, with Ernie and Duncan as reliable a pair of openers as a Mystic team could hope for. They soon got rid of Ridd - both got out in his first over leaving Dan Barretto having to change the bowling if there was to be any sort of game. Grampound Road continued to try to open up the game with generous bowling changes (all eleven of the team took a turn) and adventurous fields, but all in vain. It was the captaincy equivalent of holding the door open for an elephant - as wide as you hold the door open, that elephant just ain't going through.

To be fair to us, there was a gritty 28 from Sid and a dashing, boundary-laden 46 by Chris Healey; and the Mystic elephant actually got to within 30 runs of the target. In the scorebook, it looks like a pretty good game. On the day, watching through misty rain and gritted teeth, it didn't really work as a spectacle. Still, it was a fun evening, and this year, with Becky not touring and Tom taking his fines-officer role seriously, there were still a few Wooden Hand beers left for the rest of us. Aaron Todd was insightful and refreshingly rude about that summer's touring Australians and about some of the selection decisions being made. I seem to remember him and Chris Healey agreeing on a better approach and on ways that the Australians could turn the tables the following winter. Maybe Aaron had a word with Clarke and Lehman when he got home. Last winter's Ashes defeat, then, was all Chris's fault.

Jim Thomson

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