As good as Any

Mystics versus Lanhydrock at Lanhydrock House, 31st July 2015

There has been a house on the Lanhydrock site since 1640. In 1857, the then owner, Thomas Agar-Robartes, had it remodelled by George Gilbert Scott. This burned down shortly afterwards. Gilbert Scott was the architect of most things at the time, including St Pancras Station. His son, also George Gilbert Scott, was also an architect and went mad. His grandson, Giles Gilbert Scott was also an architect, and designed the red telephone box. His great grandson, Richard Gilbert Scott, is currently an architect, and lives in North Norfolk. It is not known whether any of them played, or play, cricket.

We were rained off in 2014, which deprived Sarah Johnson, New Zealand niece of Neil and Claire, of her debut for the Mystics. Amongst the strong side we fielded this year was her brother, Jeremy, who brought to the team expertise in spin bowling and being able to get out of a car seat without complaining of the pain. Chris Cook, captaining, won the toss and elected to bat.

After Lanhydrock formed a huddle (leaving Ernie, who was fielding for them, looking even more puzzled than usual) Duncan and Mark opened the batting. It really did look rather good. The two bowlers, Ben Attfield and one of the Tretheweys, Harry, bowled very tightly making it rather difficult to score. Indeed, Mark faced 37 balls for his 5, being finally being bowled by Test Match Tommy Trethewey. Duncan too was finding it difficult to score, before Annie gave him some drugs. His score mounted (a fine 6 to bring up his 50, and then another 6 the following ball) as his batting partners fell at the other end. Matt hit a 4 and departed; Fraser hung around for a dogged 8 before being caught and bowled by Harry Collinge; and Chris Squire came and went for 3. Duncan was finally caught for 99 off Nicholls after a stand of 65 with Chris Cook (who hit 21 off 19 balls). Jeremy scored 3 on his debut, leaving Pete and Graham not out at the end of the innings. We had 175, which, against these steak-eating Cornishmen, did not seem quite enough. Nonetheless, Sheila was busy behind the bar, and all seemed rosy.

Tea was taken, and very splendid it was too. The scones with jam and clotted cream were particularly welcome. Barny Barnicoat had turned up after a lengthy session at the abattoir following a sharp upturn in the price of beef. Several wasps had met a grisly end.

The Mystics started well. Pete was bowling like a demon, and wickets were falling fairly quickly including a fine square-leg catch by Chris Squire off Chris Cook to dismiss Rojano. We even had a chance of a Mystics hat-trick (one of several this tour) but a solid Weatherhead ball was met by a solid forward defensive. Test Match Tommy came on to umpire in unsuitable attire (well, very little attire) and was called back to the pavilion after one over. Two of Lanhydrock’s finest (Jack Trethewey and Ben Attfield) came together for a fifth wicket stand of over a century and I got more exercise that I ought; pushing and pulling the sight-screen up and down. Matt put down a chance of a caught and bowled, so it was a relief to get two similarly-handed batsmen to the crease after Mark finally got Attfield out for 43. Graham caught Jack Trethewey off Chris Cook, thus making Ellie’s long day-trip down from Sidmouth worthwhile. I don’t think the Mystics bowled badly; it was simply dogged batting by two good batsmen. Fraser took the 7th wicket with one run to get, and so we lost by three wickets in the 37th over.

It turned into a fabulous evening. The sun shone as we ate our barbeque and revelled in our Doom. The weather is not always so obliging at Lanhydrock, even if we always have a good time. This time was as good as any.

Derek Matravers

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