So, we bowled first and two separate Talbot micro-climates emerged at either end of the South lawn. In one Talbot (J) served up a veritable feast of allsorts with no-balls liberally mingled with wides, long- hops and full bungers. The only thing missing was a well-pitched up delivery on the stumps, although in all fairness, with the first ball of the match he did have their opener dropped at cover by Canham (part jib, part difficult chance was the general consensus).
At the other (Walker) end Talbot (G) was doing his best Willey (David) impression with some excellent left arm swing bowling and was rewarded by rattling the middle stump. Twice. However Salix had by this stage raced along to 41-2 off their first 6 overs. The run rate was pegged back slightly with the arrival of Canham into the attack but after 15 overs Salix had still progressed to 85-2 and it was looking like the afternoon was to be as long as the one the previous Sunday. However, Canham finally got due reward for an aggressive spell which started a procession of wickets that saw the opposition lose their last 8 wickets for 18 runs off 12 overs.
This passage of play saw one batsman dab the ball out to square leg where Cox was patiently loitering. Having set off for a quick single, time seemed to stand still as we all took a moment to ponder ‘what would Stanley Angol do here?’ Regardless, Cox threw into Kerr and the run out was perfectly executed. Modesty prevents me from naming the 3rd change bowler who, in his 4 overs, bowled 3 wicket maidens. The equally prolific (if somewhat more expensive) Gokani proving the perfect bowling partner weighing in with 3 -12 off his 6.
Precious little was offered or accepted in terms of catches between the first ball drop and the last ball catch by keeper Kerr and indeed a quick look at the scorecard in years to come will reveal that 7 of the 10 wickets were as a result of bowlers bowling their opposite number. So 103 to beat and at tea we were all wondering ‘What would Allan Engel do?’ And thus it came to pass that Rob Kerr opened with our veteran Chairman. A steady start was made but with less than 3 an over required, no fireworks were required. With Shaw back in the shed Spearman looked a shoe in at no. 3 carting the leg spinner for four before he too departed. New boy / old boy Phil of the Humphreys variety also perished leaving us at a very English like 39-3, teasing the opposition and sparse crowd alike into thinking that the game was still in the balance. The reality was though that a Salix win was about as likely as a Labour party triumph at the next election.
Kerr was still there and having been joined by Cox, the ship was steadied and after Kerr’s demise – for 32 including 6 fours – Pathak picked up the mantle and the run rate, trumping our keeper with 7 fours in his unbeaten 31. Awesome. With the game all over by over by 5:30 we retired to the Kings along with the opposition where great merriment and cheesy chips were enjoyed by all who could lay their hands on them.
Other highlights / selfless acts / points of note:
- Nigel – not selected after a late notification of availability – not only turned up and scored but also helped with the ropes etc
- Malcolm likewise was there preparing the pitch and umpired but didn’t play. Much.
- Mike did his usual great tea although it was sadly lacking in the veritables earlier served up by Talbot (J)
- There was only one bye.
Salix 103 all out (27 overs) P.Spearman 3-2, R.Gokani 3-12
Blenheim 105-4 (29.2 overs) R.Kerr 32, S.Pathak 31*