St Clements Strollers, Magdalen College cricket ground, twenty overs (in theory).
Hilda Ogden, star of mid-70s Coronation Street, had a mural on her wall which was famous for her flying ducks. She only had 3 though. Bodleys first game of the season improved on that, we had 6. So, proof, if proof were needed, that even though we’re not as good as the St Clements Strollers we are better than Hilda.
It’s a bloody awful game, cricket. Why do we do it? All the enthusiasm that builds up during the winter, enthusiasm that builds in the run up to the game when you look at the team and think that’s not bad at all soon gets deflated like a cheap balloon at a kids party, with an equivalent amount of disappointment. More so when it is such a gorgeous evening for cricket, against opposition that have been the traditional openers to the season since 2006 but has recently been blighted by poor weather. Bodley go into the game with two new players, Tom Dale from the Social Sciences and Phil Burnett from Music, both bowlers who have impressed in the nets, and not just for bothering to turn up.
Bodley win the toss and decide to bat, mindful that it can get dark towards the end of the second innings, working on the assumption of course that there will be 20 overs in each innings. The Strollers are a mixed bunch, always friendly but with a wide range in ages. One young player this time and the rest of the team made up of players our age or older. When are we going to remember that with age comes great experience? The youngster opens the bowling, and proves to be one of the best bowlers we’ve faced for a long time. Balls just off the off-stump cut back in at a good pace, his two wickets come from unplayable balls and the fact that out of the ten wickets to fall he only got these two is a poor reflection on the way the rest of us gifted our wickets away cheaply. The Strollers other bowlers were a canny mix of various speeds, all having pretty much a perfect idea what a good length was and all bowling the type of ball that makes the batsman think yippee until they hole out, get stumped charging down the wicket, bowled by swinging wildly or, in my case trying to be clever and get David back on strike only to run himself out after turning back mid-wicket, slipping on his arse and watching as the keeper calmly takes the bails off. After the Authors at the end of last season I’m now on a hat-trick of getting dismissed while lying down. I’ve said it before in Bodley reports, there’s nothing like cricket to make the foolish look even more foolish. The fact that we managae to dribble on to a score of 52 is down to David Shackleton, whose middle order knock of 27 is full of the usual calm while all others sink around him. No one else bothers with a double score.
As is usually the case the bowling and fielding is another matter. James strikes in the first over, getting rid of a player who has scored well against us in the past. New player Phil from the other end does well and is unlucky not to get any reward though does take a smart catch off Tom’s bowling. Tom is genuinely fast, something we’ve not had for a while and with Phil and him in the attack Bodley have a good bowling line-up, just a shame we have to do the batting part as well. Suffice to say, Strollers win in 15 overs, Bodley look to a hard game against Isis on Sunday to try and recover some pride.
Another season, same as the last.