Twenty-Twenty is the most exciting variant of our noble game and for a good five minutes this was set to be a twenty-twenty, for reasons of limited pitch availability. To the considerable regret of the considerable number of us suffering physical incapacitation, the three skippers reconvened (we had two: Derek, assisted by Duncan) and figured they could shoehorn in a thirty-thirty. Bugger.
Fielding, we asked Sam to open so that they might think we had a pace attack, and his inherent physical capacity overcame his own physical incapacitation. However his first over was somewhat random and got dispatched for eleven, and even the caught behind that followed was from a wide long hop. Fortunately, at the other end, line and length were the very attributes which (art lovers skip the rest of this sentence) Chris Cook was exhibiting. Matt Cook took a fine catch, and Barber, their #1 and allegedly captain of New South Wales Under-16's, joked "here comes the tail"; tail is a relative thing in Cornwall, and Grey, a more than competent left-hander arrived. Chris Cook continued over the wicket to him, not by cunning plan, but because various incapacitated Mystic outfielders were unable to move the sightscreen. But Grey fell to another fine catch, this time from Jim.
An article defending Ashley Giles this week suggested that "There is no English Shane Warne", which may be true, but then neither is there an Australian Jim Thomson. Jim now came on to bowl and, in today's Mystic Moment (yes!), he bowled Barber third ball. Mr. Barber's shot selection for this ball included about six separate shots, as the delivery seemingly refused to arrive. Imagine a slow motion replay of Giles himself, a technician's finger on the forward/reverse button, with the batsman somehow still at normal speed.
The bowled Barber hung around for some considerable time, motionless, as WG Grace was wont to do, since what had just happened clearly could not have. Finally he walked, to enter his new universe of disbelief. "He's never seen a ball arrive so slowly!", joked Jim. So true:
-- Returning to midwicket I overheard their still-quality #5, Bullock, advising Barrett, the arriving youngster: "He gives it an UN-BE-LIEEE-VABLE amount of air. Don't get through your shot!" Sound advice.
-- The young Mr. Barrett also confirmed that he never has to face anything that slow at his U14 level, before slapping Jim for 4.
-- I can personally confirm that Mr Allen, the heroic Bugle nine-year-old who pinned us down for four magisterial overs yesterday, gets it down there quicker.
Jim's cover blown, though, Bullock interspersed the minor exertions of boundary after boundary with the occasional puff on umpire Peter's fag, and retired on reaching 50.
Ern did his best with two dropped caught-and-bowleds but the middle fell out of the innings when Graham came on, mopping up an excellent colt effort and even adding Bullock on his reappearance, attempting a reverse sweep. His 4-13 in 5 was the pick of the bowling.
133 was less than we'd feared. Matt and Chris Healey saw off the openers at a clip, bringing up 50 with a steadily increasing supply of allegedly intentional air-shots. By the time Chris was caught for 39 he had long been trying to heave every ball out of the ground. Sam's round-shouldered Cricketschmerz then showed itself in some less than committed running between the wickets. On the sideline, Chris Healey was questioning Sam's lethargy at the crease, and Windy defended Sam, saying "he needs a good innings after his bowling", this sentence ending with the ball midway from the bowler's hand to its connection with Sam's stumps.
Clem looked up from the scoreboard: "Is it fifteen overs gone, or is it fifteen to go?" The briefest pause. "Fifteen gone," advised Derek.
Matthews the leggie was turning it a mile - maybe we do have a Warne over here? Matt carved another cover drive through third slip for another four and a fine fifty and retirement. Clem now adopted Sam's disease and almost ran himself out on an easy single, later claiming this as a deliberate tactic in soliciting overthrows. Ernie glided between the wickets as if on roller skates.
The St Austell team tried a range of attitudes on the Mystics, some players offering a stream of fully-committed chirping, others declaring they'd had enough and substituting themselves. Which way will their colts fall? But the Mystics glided and shuffled along, before Clem was stumped and Chris Cook strode to the wicket to the now traditional cries of "think of your average", which he did, polishing off the remaining runs.
By the way, the philosophy discussion later that evening peaked at 2am when Derek declared: "Obviously 'subjective' has two different meanings". (I don't know - what do you think?)
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