Peugeot: the (lofted) Drive of your Life

Mystics vs Pencarrow, Pencarrow House, 28th July 2009

A most eager band of Mystics arrived at a very blustery Pencarrow to be told that things looked good for a game of cricket as the weather came from Wadebridge and, sure enough, a glimpse to the far corner of the ground yielded a view of sunny Wadebridge. The eagle-eyed amongst us could also make out an occasional meandering fluorescent blue or orange dot, presumably representing the luminous boiler-suits favoured by the inhabitants of that parish.

The Mystics were invited to bat and at 2.30pm Matt and Ernie strolled to the wicket with purpose in their eyes, Matt required just 27 to become the first of the Cook clan to register 1,000 Mystic runs and Ernie needed 185 dot balls to bring his Mystic total of non-scoring shots to 5,000. Both set about their tasks with zeal, Ernie's first 16 balls brought him exactly 16 closer to his target while, after having faced the same number of balls, Matt was 12 short of his milestone.

Then came the 'You are the Umpire' moment. The two Mystic batsmen ended up at the same end in the course of attempting a run, neither had made their ground when the bails were dislodged and yet there was no appeal. What does the umpire do in such a situation? a) raise a finger as there has clearly been a run out, even if there has been no appeal; b) invite the fielding side to appeal so that a decision can be made; c) nothing. The answer is apparently c) and Matt and Ernie carried on in their pleasantly contrasting styles until Ernie, who had diluted his 24 dot balls with four singles, got carried away and was caught off Libby at extra cover.

This brought Chris Squire to the action and Matt, as the senior batsman, greeted Chris with some advice about the bowling which included the observation that Libby had not been bowling many of what David Lloyd would term 'wicket to wicket' deliveries. Fortified by Matt's sagacity, Chris took guard and received what David Lloyd would have undoubtedly described as a 'wicket to wicket' delivery that, in lieu of any interference from Chris, serenely proceeded to hit his off stump. Amazingly, the scorebook records that four minutes had elapsed between the dismissal of Ernie and that of Chris, possibly the longest golden duck in the history of cricket. For the life of me I can't think of any reason why it should have taken so long; it has taken me less time to write this paragraph of waffle.

The arrival of Duncan seemed to spur Matt into action, and a lofted drive brought up his 998th, 999th, 1,000th and 1,001st Mystics runs. Cue a raised bat, much cheering from the Mystics ensemble and the exchange of bemused expressions by the fielding side. Matt carried on blasting away and a similar shot to that which had recently caused such celebration now caused a more than equal amount of consternation. He caught it particularly well and as it sailed through the air Chris Squire gleefully observed "That's a car gone" and, after the unmistakable sound of leather on Peugeot indicator light cover, in a delivery reminiscent of Huckleberry Hound he opined, "My car". Squire-Cook relations were now as frosty as the approaching weather.

Most of the Mystics were huddling in the pavilion by the time Matt brought up his fifty, although Chris Squire did stay outside to congratulate Matt with a most un-Churchillian two-fingered victory salute, and Matt holed out soon afterwards. The sight of Deke strolling to the crease was enough for Pencarrow, it must be a mixed blessing to strike such fear into the hearts of one's opponents, and they pleaded that the rain had become heavy enough to bring play to a halt. The Mystics innings ended on 84 for 3 off 20.4 overs, no further damage was inflicted on unsuspecting motorcars and the pavilion made a cosy setting for tea and the entertainment of children.

In the distance, Wadebridge was no longer visible, however, like fireflies at dusk on an August evening, blue and orange specks could still be seen flitting around in the gathering gloom.

Jimmy Ton

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