So, with the late, but predictable withdrawal of Great Tew from our fixture, The Barbarians filled in for our last battle of the season on the South Lawn.
Stan & George Kerr turned up, took one look at our team and decided instead to play for the opposition. The predictably late Raj & Coxy also eventually turned up too.
As is obligatory in any match report, the toss must be mentioned. So it took place and we bowled first. The innings generally went well from our point of view with Nigel finally getting some justice for his hard yards opening the bowling week after week. He managed an economical 3–fer, as did first change Spearman (P). Wickets fell at irregular intervals and the score progressed slowly but with the Barbar’s opener still at the crease there was always some hope for the visitors-cum-turncoats.
In a move of sheer incompetence and self-indulgence though Captain West brought himself on to bowl his usual utter filth – presumably to make more of a game of it and to give our side – evidently packed with prolific run getters – something to stay awake for. But what was this? Such was the openers glee at being gifted a ton so easily that he completely missed a straight one first up!
Spearman (W) and Spearman (J) both weighed in with a wicket a-piece – the latter as a result of a superb catch by the former on the square leg boundary (Stan please note –catches are allowed in this position). The innings closed at 178 -9 off the allotted 40 overs including a creditable 13 from a late order ‘S Angol’. A good effort from all concerned especially with the distractions of boorish hooray Henrys giving it some from the fine leg/long off ‘Eric Hollies’ marquee and naked bitches on all fours regularly invading the pitch.
Over tea, thoughts then turned to our own batting. Or at least some thoughts did. Our captain however, randomly picked out newcomer Matt – who, by his own admission, hadn’t batted for 2 years – along with Spearman (P) who never bats, to open the batting. Thoughts that our captain may have finally lost the plot were therefore crystallised.
But this is cricket and anything can happen. And at 110-0 off 22 overs we all suddenly realised why Malcolm is the genius he is and why we keep re-electing him as captain (apart from the fact no-one else can be arsed of course). The game was therefore, by this stage, well beyond the visitors reach.
Or was it?
This is Blenheim of course and anything can happen. Matt perished (for 70 odd) going for one big shot too many and the middle order ‘engine room’ of Keyes, West & Cox badly misfired. Gokani & JVF also didn’t last long and with Spearman (P) having also succumbed agonisingly short of a maiden 50 it was left to Spearman’s J & W to see us home with 7 down and 2 overs to spare just as we’d entered into squeaky bum time.
We then all retired to the usual hostelry to marvel at the miracle of Malcom’s genius.
A big thanks to Simon Parker for gathering together a team to fill the void at very short notice. And thanks to Stan & George for agreeing to play for the oppo.