Village Rules OK!
“Some men are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them”. (B. Shakespeare)
But more of that later……
On a lovely summers day TMG’s skipper lost the toss, and TMG’s took to the field, Hoare and Day opened the bowling, dazzled by the sunlight glinting off the new ball the older man opted to come down the hill with a tailwind. After a couple of overs to loosen up Hoare took the scalp of Hassocks opener Molyneux, nicking the ball to a hungry Burbridge in the gloves. The openers toiled on, Day as usual bowling well, but with no luck. Hassocks opening bat Collins looked well set and cruised to an excellent half century, looking rarely troubled. He had been joined at the crease by Tatford a less elegant player but effective all the same and he soon joined Collins on 50.
After an opening spell of 17 overs Hoare and Day were put out to pasture and Ibu and Tubby took up the challenge, Tubby softening up his man with his now customary first ball beemer, went on to settle into a good rhythm finally dislodging Collins on 73, with a leading edge to Brasher at short mid off. He also claimed the wickets on Tatford bowled and Singh well caught by Gallagher. Ibu bowled Sinbanda with a ball that left the young lad wondering whether he should take up golf instead. Line bowled S. Green, with a stump high full toss. These wickets bought the Hassocks skipper to the crease and he proceeded to strike lustily to all corners of the ground taking the Hassocks score to 207 for 6 at tea.
After eating their fill and taking a cursory glance at the tennis, 11-11 in the final set, Brasher and Line went to the crease to see off the Hassocks openers, and then both promptly returned with bats tucked under their arms and tails between their legs, both sporting ducks. There followed a wholly precedented collapse. Gallagher 1 caught behind giving catching practise to the keeper, Fenton 5 c&b backing away. Burgess 8, caught behind prodding at a ball outside off stump. This is to take nothing away from the Hassocks bowlers who bowled well, in particular Eade coming down the hill bowled with pace and bounce, ending up with figures of 3 for 6. The fall of wickets bought Drinkwater to the crease in the 11th over, 7 foot tall and dripping with muscles resplendent with golden bat Adam looked at ease, why had the top order capitulated so. Unfortunately things were not going so well at the other end Burbridge appearing to be swiping at flies as he was bowled of his pads, Day going cheaply as well, only Tubby put up some resistance using his weight well with some hearty blows bringing up a quick fire 20 before he too succumbed to the Hassocks’ skippers mercurial spin. Ibu was entertaining, as always, peppering the square leg boundary before he fell for 11.
This was the 25th over and it brought Hoare an occasional batsman, and not renowned for his stickability, to the crease. What followed will be sung about to enthralled children the world over. After playing himself in, swinging wildly and missing, Hoare proceeded to dig in. The spinners were seen off and the openers brought back on but from different ends Eade bowling into the wind was not the force he had been coming down the hill, the breeze in his face generating swing which he struggled to control. Drinkwater continued to look at ease and the Hassocks team became increasingly frustrated as TMG’s decided that the draw was the only result they could aim for. As the overs mounted up and the excitement on the boundary reached fever pitch the Hassocks skipper, Green, brought himself back on, but not bowling spin, this time it was serious and he roared in down the hill bowling fast and furious. For the first time Drinkwater was rocked back on his heals by a short ball, which surprisingly was not repeated. Collins bowling from the other end offered less problems bowling military medium pace, it was therefore probably ill advised that Hoare facing and coping with the slower bowling should nick a single to take the strike for the final over. As the Hassocks skipper marched back to his mark steam pouring from his ears the birds in the trees ceased their song for this mighty clash of titans, fire leapt from his heals as Green tore in down the hill, time stood still as the ball flashed down the 22 yards of parched soil, the only sound the gentle trickle off urine down the inside of Hoare’s left leg, and the ball thumping into the keepers gloves. 5 more times this was repeated, the chirping behind the stumps had turned into bleating, could this actually be happening they had thrown everything they had at this last pair and it was going to be a draw. Hoare and Drinkwater had seen off 20 overs together, Drinkwater had been in the middle for 34 overs, a brilliant effort he had nursed Hoare through and deserved all the plaudits. The final ball bought unprecedented scenes of jubilation, grown men wept, and Hoare was immediately connected to a Hophead drip, what a day!
A final word about village rules and thems that play them, much has been written about the pros and cons of these rules on these pages, but today it was the only way that TMG’s could have salvaged anything from this game, at 130 odd for 9 we were never going to get the runs, Hassocks were a little disgruntled at TMG’s dropping anchor, but if you can’t get a number 11 out in 20 overs then you don’t deserve to win, and if you want a result play 40 overs. The bowling at the death was not good enough, nuff said.
PSM – Hoare seeing off the last ball. (unanimous)