Another week, another late fixture substitution. Wantage filled the Sydenham-sized gap in the schedule, and pleasant guests they were too.
Your intrepid reporter arrived a few minutes late, so missing the entirety of the match contributions from Keyes and Skipper West. The responsibility for both dismissals lay with either:
- The lethal playing surface (Messrs K & W), or
- Missing straight balls (all other observers).
But these early losses did nothing to disturb the zen-like calm of Boardman at the other end. A man so relaxed he can at times be mistaken for being in a coma, he set about restoring the reputation of the Club as one whose top-order batsmen can, on occasion, keep out straight balls. In partnership with Sadiq and later with debutant Hayat, the scoreboard inched towards respectability, and then, with the arrival of the pugnacious Kerr jr (45), it exceeded adequacy. Driving sweetly and dispatching anything short, Phil reached his half-century in the 30th over, and accompanied the fielding team off the pitch after the thirty-fifth, unbeaten on 69. It had taken a breath-taking catch to dismiss Georgie (formerly known as George), when Mercer on the mid-wicket boundary dived forward full-length to snag a tracer-bullet of a shot inches off the ground, one of his three catches. Boag was the pick of the bowlers with 2-15 off 6 as the home team finished on 175-6.
Spencer and Mercer opened for Wantage, and managed to subdue the demons in the pitch (that had never actually existed). Angol, Fleming and Spearman toiled away fruitlessly, as both openers stroked their way to half-centuries, and then, in what turned out to be a monumental act of hubris, retired with the score above 100 in the 17th over. Cunning skipper West (at least I think that’s what his underlings were calling him) had held back Hayat and Kerr jr until fourth- and fifth-change, and, implausibly, the fortunes began to shift towards the boys in maroon, gold, and whatever Lee was wearing. Wicket followed wicket in an orgy of self-destruction, as Georgie’s 4-15 and Qasim’s 3-15 meant that the visitors ended their innings twenty-eight runs short of victory.
Both teams then retired to The Punchbowl, the latest grateful recipients of BPCC custom. The lap of your (still intrepid) reporter was less grateful for the contents of the waitress’s tray.
BPCC (175-6) beat Wantage CC (148) by 27 runs.