Streat. 8:05 pm. Game on. The sun is setting behind the trees and the shadows are creeping inexorably across the square. At mid-wicket it is beginning to be difficult to see the ball. Streat are eight down and needing more than ten an over for victory. Unfortunately for TMG, Streat’s number three batter is on a ton and is creaming our best bowlers off his stumps to all points of the compass. Their portly spinner, in at ten is no rabbit and is also slogging boundaries. Their 229 total suddenly looks eminently gettable. We are staring defeat in the face.
Only a few hours earlier it had all looked so different, the Worthing Wankers had rocked up with Dom who managed to negotiate a forty over match instead of the traditional village rules, while TMG were awaiting Skip’s M 25 delayed arrival. Electing to bat, TMG got off to a reasonable start. Jerry doing what he does: including a sumptuous cut for four before getting caught at mid-wicket for 17. Biff went to a skidder off the toe of the bat (he said). Dom should have got at least 50, and had hit an enormous straight six, but was caught almost on the boundary by their Gun fielder Skipper who had replaced the callow youth who was standing there for the previous ball.
At this stage it looked like we were in trouble, but Dan C steadied the ship as their attack faded in the incessant 30-degree heat and he went on to score 58, including some quality cover drives and a rocked back maximum before being bowled. Trev had come and gone without troubling the scorer, spooning a soft catch to mid-on. Then the tail truly wagged with EO and young DD making a 50 partnership. DD sweeps a sumptuous four in front of his proud parents. EO thwacks a back foot four.
Tea. A total of 228. At least runs on the board to defend.
And so it begins. Old men take on liquid, tape up fingers and toes and spray Deep Heat on aching limbs. We have a good attack; they seem to be playing as if for a draw. Have they forgotten the format of the game? At the halfway stage , they are four wickets down and nowhere near the asking rate. It is looking deceptively easy. Their best batsman seems to be avoiding the strike. Shortly we will discover why.
In the meantime, we continue to take wickets, QB takes an amazing diving catch inches above the ground. EO takes an impressive grab at second slip after an inspired fielding change from the Skip. He then surpasses this with a jaw dropping caught and bowled off probably his worst delivery of his spell. In the outfield Wiggo channels his inner Sir Bobby Moore to save a boundary with his foot work, whilst Jerry was doing a morale boosting Peter Shilton imitation to save more precious runs. Even Trev hit the deck like a sack of spuds on top of a ball at gully to save a certain boundary.
It was also in this passage of the game that Sewell gifted Trev the coveted PMS award by prostrating himself in front of the stumps whilst Trev hurled the cherry in the direction of the timbers and inadvertently struck the EO arse to much hilarity all-round.
Streat. 8:10. Ashton changes ends and stops bowling his off-spin filth and runs in fast. Biff observes the obvious. If we don’t get this guy out we are going to lose this. The skipper brings himself back on for his final spell. Still not looking good, they are up with the rate. And then, and then the skipper manages one more effort, he comes bustling in with his trademark run up. The star batter advances up the wicket and tries to drive and basically yorks himself. Wicket.
Game over. Dom bullies a 15-year-old and an 80-year-old man. The portly off spinner gets run out. All is well. Whisper it quietly; DFWTMG.