Umpire Haydon says ‘That’s Out!’
At breakfast this morning, the other half paid a rare interest in my love of cricket. She asked me to name the most memorable grounds I had ever played on. This line of questioning did come as a surprise as, after 20 years of being together, I can’t remember any other occasion when any interest had been shown in what I do on a summer Saturday. I struggled to think of any particular favourites due to feeling a bit hazy from Bear and Swan induced ‘over tiredness’. I always liked Failand & Portbury before they enlarged it. Optimists CC was also lovely. Other delightful grounds in Essex, London, Surrey, Devon and Cornwall came to mind as my thoughts drifted over the burnt toast and orange juice.
On a very unconnected note, our Saturday second XI Fixture was at Burnham on Sea where the weather forecast was a bit ropey.
In Burnham, it was windy and we were hoping to dodge showers that were predicted to come up the channel. Like us, Burnham appeared to have underperformed according to the league table so this game was likely to be interesting. Captain Martin ignored the team’s advice once again following last week’s win and elected to field. As usual, Appleyard hit a decent length and gave little away in his early overs. Much to everyone’s surprise Tom Haydon got the nod to take the new ball. In the week, Tom is the body double for former Iranian President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. On Saturdays Tom is our opening batsman, dibbly dobbler and specialist flexibility coach. Two out of three of those roles are generally, going very well indeed.
The Burnham opener Ashfold, ground his way through the innings to hit 80 or so without looking troubled. Most of the other Burnham bats struggled on what was an inconsistent pitch. The Temple slower bowlers took advantage of the surface and bowled accurately. It was ironic therefore that the first four wickets all fell to long hops or full bungers. Nevertheless, Temple deserved these breakthroughs.
Raisebeck bowled well once again and was very dangerous when he found his rhythm. Liddington also posed questions from the town end. The pitched turned a bit – apparently. Lester P bowled a tidy spell of seam for not many and, though wickets were hard to come by, Temple were pleased to have restricted Burnham to 174. Factoring the long grass of the outfield, this was probably a par score.
Fielding was generally decent with catches being held and boundaries saved. The best lapse was from Thomas H, who resembled a 1920s flapper as he failed to stop a firm drive from going through his legs. Oh how we laughed!
Martin Veater (left) and Tom Haydon (right) in fielding practice prior to the victory over Burnham 2nd XI.
The Temple batting top three came and went without troubling the scorer unduly. Comer out for an uncharacteristic duck, guided one to first slip. Haydon glanced a leg side delivery into the keeper’s gloves and White was dispatched LBW. TCCC were in trouble at 12 – 3. Appleyard and Gale J both stayed with Temple’s Polish international, Jason Head for short periods and steadied the ship a little. At 50-5 following Gale’s dismissal for Temple’s second LBW decision, things were looking grimmer than the prospect of another election.
Comer made himself useful by umpiring. He witnessed, at first hand, a fantastic partnership between Jason Head and Dan Raisebeck. Jason batted carefully and intelligently, hitting technically correct drives and pushes as he led the partnership, well supported by the occasionally belligerent Raisebeck, Temple used all of the overs to reach 175 in order to take the winning points and silence the ‘enthusiastically vocal’ local fielders. A fantastic win secured by two blokes in their 20s – a real result!
The fast train out of Burnham departed and stopped briefly in Blagdon where we stumbled into an over 70s glee night. The view over the lake was as magnificent as the house wine was bad. Lester Pigott revealed himself to be a genuine cricket tragic who had previously travelled from Bristol to Tewksbury to tend the pitch, captain and play. Fabulous commitment by Temple’s new all-rounder. He will definitely fit in well.
Back at the club, despite the first XI’s loss to Wellington, the bar was full and plenty of beer was being shipped. I asked the same question of several senior members, ‘Why doesn’t TCCC 2nd XI attract a similar crowd?’ The answer was the same from all respondents and contained multiple curse words and the adjective ‘boring’.
The customer is always right!