The Grantchester made their way to Dry Drayton for the final match of a successful 2013 season versus a St Giles XI. A bright afternoon greeted the gathering players, as well as three newly purchased rolling covers, presumably after last year’s monsoon cricket season they seemed a wise investment. With the hosts a couple of players short, they took to the field and batted first.
GCC’s ranks were swelled with the return of the charity cyclists who had toiled from Cambridge to Montpellier raising vast amounts of funds for two noble charities. One of them, Jake Jones, opened the bowling with the evergreen TK. Jones removed Gibson for a duck, which brought Chris Badger to the crease, Salmon and Badger dug in forming a decent partnership. The energetic Jones (2-40) netted opener Salmon lbw for 21, inspired by this TK (1-12) got in on the act claiming the wicket of Petersen for 2. The dry and worn wicket was offering assistance to the bowlers with unpredictable bounce posing the batsmen plenty of difficulties.
St Giles captain J Binfield joined the well sett Badger forming another patient partnership, left-hander Badger offering few chances. Captain of GCC, AP (0-31) and James Menzies (0-33) were brought into the attack in an attempt to break the partnership. Some challenging bowling tested these two batsmen but they remained resolute until Badger was surprisingly run-out for 52. Binfield was left to guide the tail with a couple of latecomers boosting the St Giles numbers. A heavy shower then forced the players from the field and the covers came into their own as the players took an early tea.
A late summer’s afternoon in Cambridgeshire is often brightened by the sight and sound of less tranquil times, the Lancaster Bomber that thundered overhead was a warning that trouble lay ahead for the batsmen. Grantchester’s own destroyer William Wray bowled Fay for 8. Hammersley and Binfield added a few runs before Binfield, desperate to up the rate, was run out for 41. Next ball Wray had Hammersley caught, Hurst was out next for a Golden duck so Wray (4-45), in his first season for GCC had the opportunity to grab a hat-trick. He duly obliged bowling his victim with the last ball of the 35 overs, meaning that Grantchester had taken 4 wickets in four deliveries!
Dry Drayton 174-9. 35 overs
With the outfield still damp from the earlier shower, the GCC openers Anderson and Marrian strode out to the wicket, Anderson (1) was the victim of a skidding delivery. Ludford (5) lasted little longer becoming Fay’s second bowled dismissal, bringing skipper AP to the crease. AP opened his account with a boundary showing clear intent, the St Giles men edged closer to the tight boundary at the compact Dry Drayton ground. AP and Marrian settled in well with partnership of 76 before Marrian was excellently caught by Binfield for 26, with the score at 90-3. AP was displaying his usual brand of brutal hitting, dispatching the ball to the boundary with disarming ease. Another rain break did little to disturb the GCC skipper as the helpful covers ensured a speedy recommencement of play. Fergus Wilson (0) came to the crease and appeared bamboozled by Hammersley’s unconventional bowling style, which mimicked that of an accordion player.
As Ferg (lbw Hammersley) made his way back our next visitors from Duxford were the Red Arrows who flew past in typically dynamic fashion. Menzies formed up with the swashbuckling AP at the wicket with the score at 108, 67 required with plenty of overs in hand. With AP well past fifty Menzies (26*) played with assurance, cutting handsomely and adding four boundaries. AP was posing the spectators, and any nearby fragile items, some concern with Wiz’s newly replaced windscreen inches from disaster as one of AP’s three sixes bounced off the soft-top roof!
Visiting umpire, Frannie Wray, decided that the fielding side were in need of some assistance at this point confusing everyone by snaffling up a sharp chance in his umpire’s jacket. “Dead Ball(s)!” Resistance proved futile in the end for the St Giles attack as AP (111*) finished things off for the second time this season with a six to win the game. Another sparkling ton from an inspirational captain; as the players left the field at the end of an excellent season, a spectacular double rainbow appeared, leaving club members to wonder whether the imminent Fun Run would prove to be our pot of gold.
Grantchester (175-4, 28 overs) won by 6 wickets.
Season’s results: 12 Won, 1 drawn, 3 lost.