On a near perfect May Sunday we started our home season on the South lawn the air thick with heavy expectation, midges and Spitfires. After a hard week of prep without the roller thanks to Raj, Nigel, Phil Boardman, Andrew and Stan the ground and pavilion was looking excellent and our relaid wicket about as good as it could for the first game.
As the striped army of IZ advanced across the Haha and onto the south lawn we were surprised to note that we were all at the pavilion at least 15 ins before start time, hopefully a habit to be continued. As planned we lost the toss and IZ decided to bat in this timed game. So yet a new opening partnership of Walker and Dewar (Mitch ) welcomed our guests with early session variable bounce and immediately we felt we might have something to play for. So when they quickly made their way to 33 we were getting concerned but then Old faithful Walker broke through clean bowling the opener. Then to our utter delight Mitch produced a fantastic three wicket maiden (..WW.W) inducing jag back down the slope, full on front foot LBW and another bowled and suddenly we were sniffing victory already. But with 15 overs of openers past we were needing a change. Jake bowled very tightly and Nick had the remaining opened dropped on the boundary at deep square leg but we made no further breakthroughs as the total began to build. The opener piling on the runs comfortably passed 50. Changing to Gokani and Stoddart started to bring wickets at the other end but with the opener again dropped in the deep it looked like he was inevitably set for a century…but no. Inexplicably with him on 90no and his team on 161-6 his captain declared ten minutes shy of the allotted tea time. (Yes we can’t quite explain it either).
There followed a very nice tea.
As suspiciously nobody else seemed that interested in opening the batting with Mitch the skipper stepped up and after breaking his bat and then creaming the perfect cover drove to the rope he was predictably caught by deep mid-off and Lee joined Mitch. However we struggled to really get away against a good opening attack who bowled 21 overs. Mitch picked up the occasional boundary including a huge six over deep wide mid on (cow) but eventually, inevitably the wickets began to fall. First Lee frustrated and then Martin LBW and Mitch (44) caught as the frustration grew. Then a flurry of wickets with only Nick beyond the top order able to break double figures and carry his bat to the end. We eventually held out for a memorable draw (for all the wrong reasons in the end) 110-9 from 39 overs. Unfortunately we couldn’t blame this on the pitch which had evened out over the day and ended up playing quite well.
Still a draw in a timed game against that bowling attack is not to be sniffed at and we proceed undefeated towards the bookworms of Bodleian Library next Sunday.
MOTM: Mitch Dewar