The chance to not play on Shapwick’s artificial surface was grabbed with both hands by Temple 2s on a cool but pleasant early season May day on the Somerset levels. As usual, Temple lost the toss and were inserted to bat on a surface that, prior intelligence had informed us, was unlikely to improve as the day proceeded.
Leaving off from the day before, Haydon and Comer opened the innings and the pair were fairly immediately separated as Comer was removed by a grubber. Haydon carried on in the fashion of Gundappa Viswanath – cutting and back-foot driving on the low, slow Shapwick surface. His score of 42 represented an enjoyable and stylish knock to watch.
Thomas against England and Keith ‘The Gnome’ Fletcher’s XI in 1982.
The seafood and cider diet may not have wholly agreed with Toby Ingram who found Sunday’s effort a little more tricky than Saturday. Kevin Curtis, on the other hand, batted with real fluency to score an excellent 100 against a tiring Shapwick attack. White and the belligerent Feaver supported Curtis to a very well deserved century.
The final Temple batsmen were defeated by the occasional left arm over of Ewbank which, on a fairly unpredictable surface, proved nigh-on impossible at times.
Temple’s bowlers were always ahead of the game. A very solid opening pair of Feaver and Lester gave little away as they applied early pressure.
Wilton, Flinders and Ingram toiled on the lifeless surface until the right pace was found through the flighted filth of Alex Comer. Dip, bounce and turn were almost completely absent from his spell which did eventually account for four Shapwick scalps to hasten the game to its conclusion and the promise of liquid delight.
Shapwick is a lovely ground on which to play. The new Pavilion is fabulous, combined with a good tea, pleasant beer and a warm welcome – the day was a good one.
A lovely cider at Godney, beer at the Bear and Curry and Kronenbourg at the Stoke saw an end to our East Somerset weekend tour. The luxury of a soothing bank holiday meant that no-one had to hobble around the workplace on a miserable Monday. That would have to wait for Tuesday.