Rain starts Play

Mystics vs Methigion at Reen Manor Park, 2nd August 2017

In a sane world, there would be no Brexit, Bernie Sanders would be President of the USA and this match would never have started. We drove from Tor View to Perranporth through steady rain, and I thought I'd glimpsed a walrus on the square while Donna was parking the car. The sensible thing was to take cover in the pavilion bar, where the groundsman was doubling as mine host. Ninety-nine out of the hundred groundsmen I've met would have issued a total ban on play: this one, being the hundredth, cheerfully ventured out to plant the boundary flags. Sipping cider out of the rain, I observed through the window the scattergun arrival of the opposition, looking almost as bedraggled as the gathering Mystics, and I found myself silently chanting an alliterative refrain: the Mystics and Magicians meet the medics of Methigion. Which - once the rain relented - we did.

Derek was our nominated captain, but - according to the scorebook - the toss was won by Annie (and the weather was 'bloody horrible'). Fraser and Ernie opened the batting and were still together when Fraser reached the obligatory retirement score of 30. He's been batting this season with the kind of nonchalance displayed by the man who broke the bank at Monte Carlo. Before Fraser was born, Peter Colclough, who replaced him briefly, used to bat like this for the Erratics. Today, let it be said, he scored twice as many runs as Graham Sharland, who followed him to the wicket, and whose abrupt dismissal so unnerved his careworn sibling that, after a lingering innings, he surrendered his wicket in the next over; so it was a fourth-wicket partnership between Chris Healey and Duncan that lifted us towards a total that would have had my favourite first-class umpire standing on one leg.

111 was the sort of target that more or less guarantees a close match. While Robin Van Lingen was batting, it looked insufficient. But the retirement-at-thirty rule got rid of him, and, as it turned out, you could have extrapolated Methigion's eventual total from the figures of Will Thornton's opening burst of four overs (for 20). It was an unusual feature that we bowled all our overs from the same end. This was Chris Healey's idea. He knew from experience that the side batting second at Perranporth has the setting sun to contend with. I'll bet Ernie was pleased. Keeping wicket into the sun is six deaths an over. Our bowlers kept the run-rate down, and Graham Sharland defied the physical odds by adroitly running out the dangerous Patterson, but it was Chris Squire's 2 for 7 in two overs that clinched the victory. The sun was still shining then, tempting into flight one of the Silver-studded Blues for which Perranporth is famous among lepidopterists. If you can get close enough, you'll see that its marginal border is much narrower than that of its New Forest cousin, but it would be a serious mistake to ask me why that should be so. And you probably won't believe me when I write that Perranporth is situated in the civil parish of Perranzabuloe (which sounds as fictional as Shangri-La) and that it used to have two railway stations.

Peter Thomson

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