Detail: 16-08-2020 - Shackleford 35 overs

Result: L by 43 runs
Black afternoon for Blues

Blues maintained their winning run at Shackleford on Sunday. Well, one of them did, but that's enough about The Mullett, for now.

Having raised 14 players Blues (foolishly) generously offered to lend their hosts a couple to make up their numbers, which would have been fine had it not been for Ali falling ill overnight and Mo's car also reporting sick.

Which meant the match became 10v10, Mullett and his mate Jim, a new Blue, joining the oppo who had claimed they 'were short of bowling'. Unfortunately Mo's absence meant Blues proved to have even fewer bowling options, a problem quickly revealed when match manager Glenn lost the toss.

At this point Blues only had nine, but Digby arrived just in time to drive over some boundary flags before parking up at fine leg, which conveniently became his fielding position.

Blues began well enough, reducing Shackleford to 60-2 off 14 overs with wickets for Hamish and Youcef, batsmen pressed into bowling service. However, that brought a pair of new Shackleford recruits to the crease. By the time they were separated, in the 31st over, Shackleford were 224-3. In the circumstances Blues did well to restrict their hosts to 241-7 off 35 overs with Youcef, aided by Skip's safe hands, picking up a five-fer (5-52) with a superb second spell. The victims included The Mullett for a duck, well caught by Alex.

It's probably best to draw a veil over the 164-run, 10-an-over partnership, except to mention it might have been very different if Das had held on to a nick by Ferguson, then in his 20s, off the long-suffering Alex. Ferguson was eventually brilliantly caught by Digby, for 95...

It may evoke shades of 'apart from the unfortunate incident Mrs Lincoln, did you enjoy the play?', but it should be noted Das otherwise kept very well against some often challenging bowling, as the large number of wides indicated.

Only Moore (1-24) escaped the carnage though Pike (0-40) again bowled very well without luck. Hamish (1-44) and Digby (0-73) showed sufficient promise to suggest a bright future as Blues bowlers in time.

Given the depth of Blues batting the target looked feasible and Harry T set off as if determined to knock it off before the Cyder House's absurdly early 6pm close. Teeing off in familiar style he reached his maiden Blues 50 in the 13th over. However, the fun was stopped by turncoat Mullett who made up for earlier dropping Tawney with an astonishing one-handed boundary catch.

In theory Blues still had plenty of batting to come, but in reality only when Skip was at the crease did victory seem achievable. However, Fitz then strained his calf and summoned Tawney as his runner.

Blues, runners, what could possibly go wrong?

Well, no one told Fitz he should probably leave the calling to the people doing the actual running. Predictably, having carved his way to 37 in a welcome return to form, Skip called Tawney for an implausible second run.

Thereafter Blues gently subsided with The Mullett collecting the scalps of Das (14), Sam Robson (4) and Alex (5). Sam Dawson (7), Hamish (3) and Glenn (3) at least avoided that indignity.

But wait. He comes Digby, striding to the crease and dismissing Youcef's suggestion that 'the game's gone, just stick around and protect your average'. Digby proceeded to give back some of the treatment he had received smashing 4s and 6s, first giving Blues' score respectability, then encouraging dreams of another unlikely win, before being caught for 35. Youcef managed to red ink nine important runs.

So, a 43-run defeat. But at least The Mullett's wickets don't count towards the bowling plate. Other positives were the fact we got a full match played at all given the forecast, the late afternoon beers in the sun, and the award of a Blues cap to Alex Pike by The President.

Pity the cap is actually black.


[updated 17 08 2020]