Played at Wadham College Ground, Oxford
By Jon Idle
Creators of sporting blunder videos could have made a ‘Risible
run-outs’ compilation entirely from one July afternoon in Oxford.
There was the basic “Yes!”/”No!” (Idle, Wales); there was the
“Selfless dash in a hopeless cause” (Frisby and, I think, Hendry);
there was the “Easy single – so easy that he almost ran two while
his partner stood still” (Clarke); and there was the “He’s dropped
me, so surely he can’t pick it up and get it to the stumps in time”
(Wilkie, of Mermaids – at least the opposition joined in).
These were sprinkled through a pleasant afternoon which saw Old
Fallopians hardly compete once the game found its pattern. Mermaids
batted first and gradually increased from 3½ an over to around 5,
whilst Old Fallopians failed to take the necessary wickets.
Sultanti danced the twist – or was he stamping out cigarette butts?
– whilst the ball fizzed past his waist for a couple of boundaries.
An inexperienced Fred Shaw nobly joined dad to make the numbers up
but wasn’t the only bowler to be expensive in the wides department.
In fact much bowling was accurate and on a reasonable length, but
the pitch was delightfully true and a joy to bat on.
Without playing at all badly we faced a large total, and
embarrassingly we had relied heavily on a borrowed player to help
with two wickets and a catch.
He was also our second top scorer once we batted. Which brings me to
Rafe Smallman, who top-scored as a batsman with a well-deserved 54.
Oh, yes, he made sure he was the top scorer. The two run-outs he was
guilty of were made worse by the impression that the two people he
ran out looked quite likely to smack the ball a long way – albeit
with a hint of baseball in the style – and build a total. On the
other hand, their performance in the beer match exonerates Smallman
- they were quite capable of getting themselves out pretty quickly
without any help.
So we quickly fell behind the run-rate and once wickets started to
fall our main task was to get as close as we could, which in the end
wasn’t very close. So we had plenty of time for a ten-over beer
match, this time batting first. But again, no partnership lasted
long enough to put us in a strong position and, after making 45 all
out, the game was up within a couple of solid overs of Mermaids’
|Double winners: The Mermaids
Picture: Tim Castle
Long march: John Shaw walks from the crease
Photo: Jo Smallman
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