When describing events of such magnitude, historical context is all. In the last three meetings, the Radegund have dominated the Blue Ball team and yet today as the grey clouds gathered in the morning one felt that it wasn’t just the weather that could turn. A long winter of nets and careful preparation was over and the first game was here with the summer flowers and the flowering of the hopes of a new beginning for Grantchester Cricket.
The Radegund were first to bat. Their openers, solid, determined and, despite great attacking bowling, in little danger. And yet, the run rate was low; the fielding tight and alert; each player a panther ready for sprint or flight to prevent the boundary or stop a single. As the scoreboard failed to tick fast enough, the break through came through the bowling of Dave Crowther. Three more wickets were to come from his bowling spell. The wall had been breached, the top order rent asunder! Yet the Radegund fought on and had a lively spell scoring more freely again. Inspired captaincy was then to bring on the cunning, deft and sure spin bowling of Dave Foster. One could feel the control and assurance.
A fear remained. Even though the run rate was not too high the Radegund had 5 wickets in hand. They could push the final overs without trepidation. With the game balanced finely, and with Matt Jones tying up the other end with a good spell of left arm seam, it is at times like this that the action of an individual can be decisive. AP came on and choose to bowl spin. The reward was immediate as a wicket fell to a straight ball. The new batsman would not have a long day as again AP took his wicket. The excitement in the field grew, one could sense the hat trick coming as sure as AP could feel the stumps fall as soon as the ball left his hand. It was there! Only one wicket and three balls to go. No more runs were scored, no wickets taken, but that hattrick over dealt the mental blow from which few teams can recover.
The goal: 120 to win in 30 overs, an exact 4 runs per over equation.
The man of the match, AP, was in strident form, his opening batting aggressive and dominating even against the feared Radegund attack. The Blue Ball president watching the display recalled test matches from the 30s and marvelled at the shots to boundary off the back foot. But all would not remain well. A drama must have more than one act. The other opener, Matt, fell for few runs and then despite valiant efforts and some lovely strokes our number 3, Tim, also fell. Sam Ludford in at 4 was steady and with AP in flow the game would belong to Grantchester Cricket Club. Then a catch, AP out. Would the Blue Ball collapse (or deflate a perhaps better metaphor)?
No, Ludford’s solidity remained and with his partner Baggers in a supporting role, the collapse didn’t come. The scoreboard moved on and slowly the game seemed to move beyond the Radegund. The wicket of Baggers just brought on the big hitters of Ollie and then Dave. It would be only a matter of the style of victory now and with a great crack to the boundary the game was over, wickets in hand and 7 overs spare.
The perfect start to the season.
Date of Fixture: Sunday 15th May 2011; Venue: Queens College CG, Cambridge.
As Reported By: Baggers