16 June 2008

As bad as it gets

It's time to come clean. Yesterday I played for Old Merchant Taylors' in the Cricketer Cup - a competition for old boys of public schools. Over the years the competition has been graced by many internationals and a far larger number of county players. Yesterday we played Haileybury. We had prepared seriously and were determined to get through to the later stages of the 5 round knock out competition.

We started badly and were soon 20 for 3 and then 45 for 4, forcing a big rebuilding job. We kept revising the score we thought we could defend as it became obvious we wouldn't be able to get anywhere near 200. Their skipper was Nick Walker, formerly of Derbyshire and Leicestershire although he's only 23. He took just the one wicket and coming in at 9 I even hit him back over his head for six (admittedly amidst lots of playing and missing) in my 17 towards the end, so you could say he was nothing special.

With the ball that is. Although considered a bowler at 1st class level, even there he can hit the ball a long way, as his profile on Cricinfo shows. He opened and his first couple of heaves didn't come off the middle, prompting calls that it was like watching Devon Malcolm bat. Unfortunately for us, he soon got his eye in and declared himself "in Twenty20 mode" to anyone that would listen. He started to take a liking to the one 1st class cricketer we had in our side, peppering the short-leg side boundary so I got the call up to bowl in the 7th over of the innings with just the two fielders allowed outside the ring still.

My over went 4,0,4,6,6,1. Surely enough to come off, right? Wrong. Our skipper also happens to be one of my two best men, but rather than take pity on me he asked me to continue. When I questioned this post-match, he said he thought I'd get him out and he knew I had the character to take being hit! The second over was even worse - 0, 1 (to the other batsman), 6,6,6,4. Two overs for 44, thank you very much.

Although the whole thing was completely humiliating, the other bowlers took the same stick and Mr Walker made a mockery of the game. He reached 50 off his 25th ball, and then scored 100 off his 36th - yes, just 11 balls for his second 50. When he was out in the 11th over, his team were 128 for 1 chasing 157 from 50!! We lost in the 17th over - you can see the scorecard here.

As I lay awake last night reflecting on the match, I thought through my 12 balls. One ball slightly short - the sort that normally gets tapped back to me at the level we play at on Saturday's these days, but this time went for 6. One slightly over-pitched as I went for a yorker and he took a big stride forward and made it into an easy full toss, 6 again. Apart from that "decent" balls. Could I have bowled well outside off stump? Tried to vary my pace more (which I struggle with at the best of times)? I'm not sure anything would have helped.

So now I'm left wondering what the benefits of having a phlegmatic character are. Anyone else would have been taken off after the 1st over, but I got the second because of my "character". My best man owes me big time!


Anonymous said...


signed: A Pedant

Ed said...

thanks - I've changed it.

Can't bowl and can't spell!

David said...

Sounds dire - especially without the services of your star left-arm strike bowler to turn to! :-)

Anonymous said...

Ouch - not sure I could come back from that. How many times did you shout "catch it" during those 2 overs?

Ed said...

at least 3! My colleagues touched on that in the changing room after the game.... :-)

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