The weather looked to be the main talking point of the day for our match against our old rivals Cairns Fudge, and so it proved throughout. We trundled up to Stanton St John more in hope than expectation, to discover the Fudge boys preparing a new wicket as the one provided for Saturday’s game looked distinctly sub-par. The roller was out, and the white paint was plastered onto the Sunday wicket as we got an alternative pitch ready for whatever game we could manage. There was some talk about reducing the game to 35 overs instead of 45 but the captains were told by the umpires that that wouldn’t be possible. As it was, the worst indiscretion of the day was committed by Ian who managed to lose the toss and Wantage were predictably asked to bat.
Colin and Dave “Vendor” Spencer opened the batting under strict instructions to see off the dangerous opening Fudge pair. Conditions were tough, with Patel in particular getting some big bounce off the wicket which was made more difficult by the sightscreen getting stuck in a tree and therefore not quite being in the position to do its job. Colin however continued his fine form from last week with a couple of glorious shots, one of which went for four – the other slowed up in the wet grass away to the long boundary. Dave looked slightly less comfortable and it was a surprise when Colin was the first to go, surprisingly being given LBW to a half-hearted appeal. He departed for 20.
In went Barry at number three with a point to prove. Unfortunately it was not to be his day as he seemed to struggle with the rough conditions. He and Dave scratched us to 48 before Dave tried to go big and succeeded only in edging to third man where Patel took a good catch. Barry departed caught behind the following over and we were teetering at 51-3. Not that you’d have known it from the terrible chat on the sidelines, Duncan and TPL having some ‘your mum’ chat to which Mikey added some additional words, specifically “It’s OK, she’s already knocked in”. Chaz also revealed what many had long suspected about his feelings towards ethnic minorities (NB quote may have been taken out of context).
Back on the pitch, the players were coming off it – and going back on at regular intervals with light showers the order of the day. Such conditions made getting rhythm difficult for either the bowlers or batters but it was the Fudge bowlers who led from the front, Timmy sweeping leggie Anderson-Elliot to Square Leg and being caught for 9. When Mikey followed him a few overs later after mishitting a back foot shot to point, things looked ominous as we sat on 77-5. Time for skipper IC and Mabbs to rebuild. This was made tough by two more rain breaks, although Ian hit a couple of crisp shots including a big six over the bowler’s head. When he departed for a well made 35 after an inside edge on to his pad which unfortunately rolled onto the stumps Ryan joined the fray.
He and James looked in good nick, although runs were hard to come by. When a heavy shower forced us off we took an early tea and mused over the possibilities of actually getting the game finished. Tea had a couple of highlights. To give it context: Timmy’s plate was heaped as high as a termite mound. However he didn’t get the pleasure of eating most of the food on it, as Mabbs seized regular opportunities to scavenge from his plate, taking at various times his chocolate fingers, cocktail sausages, and then most amusingly a large slice of quiche, none of which “Chuckles” Lane even noticed.
Back on the pitch, Mabbs and Ryan took us to 140, including two superb shots off Shaw by Mabbs, one of which was a well timed pull over the ropes. There was then a poor piece of cricket as Mabbs dropped the ball at his feet and the two batsmen dallied before deciding to run, succeeding only in having James run out by a few feet. Will Harvey then went in and out within one ball, attempting to slap Shaw for some big runs over cover but only managing to spoon it to the fielder.
Which left our two number tens (number 11 had been removed from the scorebook by a frustrated Chaz). But would it be 10a Duncan, or 10b Chaz, who went in first?
The answer was 10a, and Duncan, despite running like a quadriplegic Bambi, saw us through to 156-8 before some more heavy rains came. Though they did stop, the pitch was deemed not in playable condition by the umpires due to a few damp patches on the strip and a drenched nearby wicket (which we had actually been supposed to play on all day!). Fudge were understandably keen to get on and play but, having not managed to get on in the brief sunny spell, the next brief shower brought the end of the game and we called it a day. Ryan finished on a good-looking 21 not out and Duncan on 1 not out.
It was a strange half-match, with conditions tough for all concerned and in truth the cancellation probably fell in our favour with us a few runs short of par – although the pitch was not an easy one to score big on. All that was left was for James to enjoy a shower alone as the lack of warm water dampened the enthusiasm of most of the rest of the team and decisions were made to shower elsewhere instead. We also sat amused listening to the Fudge fines, musing that if we were to impose fines as harshly as they did, we could probably afford a tour to the Caribbean next year instead of Cambridge.
Pig’s Ear went to Timmy “Chuckles” Lane for losing his quiche at tea time. Other nominations were Mabbs’ run out, Duncan’s running and Will’s golden duck.
Champagne Moment went to IC for his 6 over the bowler’s head. Other noms were Mabbs’ pulled 6 and Mabbs’ cold shower.
TFC went, of course to batsman 10b Chaz. There couldn’t really be any other winner!
Motm was not awarded due to only playing half a match.
Anyway, onwards and upwards. One day we might manage to get a full match in with decent weather against Cairns Fudge…