Devon…home of idyllic villages, buxom wenches, cream teas, and the Exmoor beast, all very exciting I’m sure but what The Mighty Greys Go West for is CRICKET, and the most extreme male bonding session known to man, and table tennis.
This year we found ourselves in Somerset…
Hang on a minute I thought we were supposed to be playing somewhere on the Devon coast!
Now I’m no geography scholar, but that seems a long way away. Turns out that, apparently, Devon was fully booked so Somerset it was, and jolly lovely it turned out to be, so well done Alex, without whom we would have been staying under a tarpaulin at the M5 services.
Arriving Friday night we set about ruining our chances of winning our opening match by consuming anything that we had about our persons that could possible mar our sporting ability the following day, and I think we’ll all admit we tried bally hard, top bombing the Greys!
We awoke to a sodden Somerset, but fortunately that had nothing to do with Ricky who sadly couldn’t join us this year due to a heavy shagging schedule. Rain had always been our greatest foe here in the rainiest place this side of the Tropics, but fortunately the scheduled match was quite literally on the other side of the country and there they had fared better. So with bats and balls metaphorically tucked under ours arms we set off to put Sidbury to the sword, and play the popular TMG tour game of guess who regurgitates breakfast first, cooked stoically as ever by the beatific Alex, what a fella.
Arriving at the ground we were greeted by two firsts for this haughty scribe, first a placard on the town’s main thoroughfare advertising the game to the passing populace, crikey a crowd… and second a bizarre question from the umpire “Will we be playing LBW?” Once it was agreed that we were actually playing cricket and not some bastardized version of rounders, Skip went off to toss, [add onanistic joke and continue].
Toss duly lost The Greys’ were put into bat, and the indomitable opening pair of Biff & Jerry shuffled to the crease. Now I have very little interest in stats, however, I can recount that this season this pair have so far averaged a very creditable 40 plus for the first wicket, and they didn’t disappoint today either. Facing a young pacey attack they both played measured innings steering the wild and wide balls away to the short boundaries, and knocking along nicely at 5 an over until in the 11th Skip (probably reminiscing about some of Robbie’s stunning footwork from the previous evening) was bowled by the young Stone for 20, and with the score at 55 Delbert joined the fray.
In past years Sidbury has been a happy hunting ground for this effervescent aussie, however, it was not to be today as his brief cameo of 17 was brought to an end by the bowling of the wily old head Crick. Jerry at the other end was cruising along imperiously, getting dropped every other over but this didn’t seem to worry him and he looked bound for a decent score (the oracular Double D predicting 83).
An Ex-greysman haunts the lanes and villages of this neck of the woods and goes by the name of Stuart Francis, luckily he was free to plug the gap in our ranks, [add onanistic joke and continue]. Coming in after the demise of Del, he looked in good nick and with the luckless Brasher piled on the runs before being trapped LBW by the skipper Rowe for 26, during which time Jerry had raced past 50 and they had put on the best part of a ton (77 runs). With 5 over to come it looked like the Greys were on their way to a mighty total in their allotted 35 overs.
At this point Jerry was on 83 and the omens were not looking good, and neither was Jerry, his immaculate whites only helping to emphasis the purple and green hue of his face, then [nearly] true to Dave’s prediction, just 2 runs later he was out, to the bowling of Mr Miller, somewhat unsurprisingly known as ‘Windy’ to his friends.
Terry “Zorba” Burgess came and went for 1 leaving the two Al’s, Gallagher and Fenton, to finish off the day’s scoring, with 16 and 2 respectively, included in this a rather nice 6 from Alan, to see the Greys back in the pavilion with 188 for 5, maybe 20 or so shy of what we had hoped for earlier, but the later bowling of the more senior players had been tighter and given us less to play with, maybe something for the younger bowlers to learn from.
After a typically luscious tea, served by typically luscious mums and wives, it was time for the Greys’ bowlers to lace up their bowling shoes and get to it.
First up Dave and Rob, the Fred & Ginger of the Sunday cricket opening bowling partnerships, so beautifully do they complement each other, why only last week Rob commented on the lovely shine Dave had achieved on his pate.
First to fall was Sidbury number 2 Williams with neither opener having scored a run he was trapped LBW by Rob, whilst plodding his leading leg down the strip without playing a shot to a straight one, lovely jubbly. He was soon followed by his opening partner who received a jaffer of an off-cutter, again from Rob, that nipped back and clipped the off stump (and also won PSM).
Rob was on fire, Dave at the other end couldn’t buy a wicket despite bowling his usual brand of sharp swing and nip, although to be fair he bowled predominately at Mr Miller (no. 3) who turned out to be a very decent bat, and also had a chance fly through 2nd slip.
Number 4, Stoyle, got a slower ball that sent him packing, for a duck and claimed Rob’s 3rd scalp.
Sidbury’s #5, did not look to be at the races at all and after Dave was brought round from fine leg to 3rd slip he too was dismissed, by the rampant Rob, caught at 3rd slip, for 9. Sidbury were reeling at 22 for 4, but nothing last forever and Fred & Ginger had to make was for Jack & Vera. First change were QB and Eo, the swing twins, but today neither was firing and Miller and skipper Rowe (who had joined him coming in at 6), started to plunder the short boundaries.
Sidbury’s score started to accelerate and the Greys comfortable victory looked to be in danger, Ben was pulled off after 4 overs, [add onanistic joke and continue], and replaced by Alex, which didn’t help, as Alex was unable to settle into a rhythm and was smashed unceremoniously around the little ground.
Ian at the other end, was not troubling the Sidbury pair and finished with figures of 7 overs, no wickets for 40. Alex was removed after 2 overs which cost 16 runs, and Ben was brought back on. He was joined from the other end by Del bowling seam up. Together they broke the partnership taking a wicket each, Del knocking over the Sidbury skipper, for 63, who played a horrible hoik across the line to a straight one, and then Ben bowling Miller (60) with one of his trademark in-duckers.
This left a long tail of young boys, blokes in black shoes and wounded veterans, young Stone and Pearce both had a creditable go but, the die had been cast, and Sidbury were left needing 32 off the last over to win, and finished up 23 runs short of the Greys total.
After the match The Greys settled down to enjoy the last rays of sun of the day (and as it turned out the weekend), in the company of a selection of the Sidbury players, and to enjoy a pint and contemplate yet another mighty victory, ahh! DFWTMG. Hoorah!