Following last week’s game when G.C.C. beat G.C.C. (so at least the club’s initials have continued their unbeaten run), it was back to a more normal routine as we returned to Spring Lane under leaden skies and the obligatory drops of rain. The Radegund were our vaunted opponents and after a series of delays, first the stumps, then the captain and finally a wicketkeeper, AP and John strode to the wicket as Ben announced he would return shortly. The Radegund’s superbly bearded opening bowler (called much to my astonishment, Beard) flexed his physique and gradually normality resumed. AP and John stayed where they were and so did Ben, wherever that was. The rest of the team slowly fanned out around the ground and commenced their normal routine of fence leaping, hedge diving and bramble bashing to retrieve AP’s (mostly) and John’s (not completely outdone) meaty blows into the hedgerows. At least we didn’t hog all this fun to ourselves as we gallantly allowed one of the visiting team to take an ‘early bath’ to retrieve a ball from the river (which given the score was a hundred and something for none at the time, I thought was a remarkably generous gesture on his part). Finally AP took pity on my bleeding arms and missed a straight one. Given he was on 90 something at the time, I muttered this looked suspiciously like Jug Avoidance. John was not to be outdone on this score as he cautiously approached his 50 with a series of well placed singles before smashing one. We rose to applaud before heading back to the hedgerows to look for the ball when we realized that the fielder had not been able to move out of the way and had pulled off a stunning catch, (Jug Avoidance)^2. The rest of the innings passed with some further meaty blowing and some somewhat pathetic hobbling between the wickets by yours truly. Nonetheless, G.C.C. amassed over 220 from our 35 overs and we were about set about the rather splendid tea when we were halted in our tracks by Nouveau who quite rightly suggested that our visitors should be allowed first go at the groaning tables (I hadn’t quite got the locking mechanism correct when assembling the tables earlier….).
The Radegund made a reasonable fist of overcoming AP’s score but were rather thwarted by AP himself, TK, our brace of Daves and a remarkable series of catches including a stunning gully catch by someone whom modesty prevents me from identifying. (As a hint, I’d asked Wiz if I could stand somewhere where I wasn’t expected to move too much….). Wiz, himself, got into the spirit with his now legendary field placings where folks who could move were placed where they needed to be placed so they could make the necessary moves as well as swallowing a blinder himself at Cover. Ferg finished them off with two spectacular grabs behind the stumps fully justifying Phil’s ‘Thanks for turning up’ award. By this time the sun was out (typical!) and the shadows were lengthening over our idyllic little ground. So it seemed somewhat ironic that we enjoyed the best weather of the year as we took down the sightscreens, retrieved the flags, put up the fencing and struggled one last time with the marquee, for this was our last match of the year at Spring Lane.
Retiring to the BB, it was quite clear that our visitors were much more at home as beer (and some Jugs!) flowed on both sides of the street. We even got a speech out of Wiz who responded to the very gracious words of the Radegund skipper in his brightly, ‘actually it is the colours of some college which I can’t remember but they match the Radegund’, coloured cap. “We’d love to play G.C.C. again anytime during University term” was basically his message.
So farewell Spring Lane, Good luck with the Shire Horses and Ferret Racing or whatever next week as G.C.C. decamp to Fitzwilliam for our season closer…..