“Hi, sorry I’m a bit late” I said trying to pre-empt a rather serious looking Dave and Jerry as I finally made it to Spring Lane. I was clearly not the first to arrive as the usual scurrying around as the ground was prepared was in evidence. “Good evening, you’re looking authoritative” came the reply. “Oh, author-ative”, I thought my Blogging skills had finally been recognized. “No, authoritative” I should have paid heed to that tiny bell that started ringing. “We’d like you to Captain the team”, that ringing sound increased a bit but I ignored it thinking it was just tinnitus. “Uh, captain?” was all I could come up with. “AP had to pull out” (Ah, I’m the 2nd choice captain), “J#$% said no” (3rd choice), “W*&^% also declined” (4th choice) “Wiz is at a golf day” (5th choice) “We think F*&^% may be late” (6th choice) “And we’re not playing either” (7th and 8th choice).
Oh, well better to grab the horns of opportunity when one can, I thought, before the reasons Ben and the rest of the GCC membership were unable to take on the onerous task were explained. “OK, sure”. The sense of relief on Dave’s face was palpable. “Here’s the team sheet and, by the way, the oppo may ask for some special rules but I wouldn’t bother with any of that stuff” It was not tinnitus, I now realized but it was too late. The start time rolled around and the Hemingford captain had introduced himself but they were clearly in a state of ‘teamus incompletus’. “Uh, a couple of the guys are running late, do you mind if we bat first?” Putting on my best level of authoritativeness, I said “let’s give it a few minutes” after which absolutely nothing had changed, number of player wise.
So I contrived to lose the toss and as GCC took the field, I suddenly realized age was not on our side as I was quite clearly the oldest by some margin. Still I managed to get everyone’s names more or less correct and we started off with the correct number of wicket keepers, fielders and opening bowlers. The first over took its time as Jake seemed to still be aiming for the adjacent pitch on which he’d been practicing but he soon found his rhythm. Toby was more Impressive and he was clearly used to facing batters who had a more realistic chance of hitting the ball. However, the ball continued to fail to notice the stumps and a tidy partnership started.
“No need to panic” was all the cricket side of my brain could come up with. This proved to be a pretty sound strategy as Toby became the first of our bowlers to take two wickets in successive balls. We all duly ‘crowded the bat’ as the delivery avoided all wood on its voyage to the wicket keeper. Jake was the next to strike with two in two but I was unable to repeat my act of authoritativeness for the hat-trick ball as they were the last two balls of his spell (So is Jake still on a hat-trick? Discuss). Wilf, Sam and Finlay kept up the pressure and chipped in with wickets with the help of some spectacular catches.
The first by John was one of those skiers that seems never to be coming down and the second an even more spectacular ‘over the shoulder’ grab by Fergus. But the Bowlers’ union was in full force as they all declined the opportunity to take a third wicket including Mini Mark who was the third bowler to get two in two. His attempt at a hat-trick was thwarted by (lack-of) directionality and a loud grunt of “You, Pleb” of which our ex-chief whip would have been proud. So facing the not so daunting score of 86, GCC left the field while I tried to sort out a batting order.
I finally came up with ‘those who didn’t bowl should bat’ approach. While sound, this proved to be somewhat over elaborate. While the Bowlers’ union had clearly been in full operation, the Batters’ union was not. Harry and John made light work of chasing down the total against what could best be described as varied bowling and GCC duly recorded a 10 wicket victory.
“Would you mind writing a few lines”, “Uh sure” I replied in my best author-ative tone…
Captain for a Day