As instructed the Village mostly arrived early and eager. All bar Captain Bairstow and Trogger (Aka The Cricketer Formally Known As Troja (TCFKAT)) were there bright eyed and keen for the raw thrill of cricket on a hill. The Team selection was, in typical Village Fashion, somewhat eclectic. Consisting of 7 Past and Present Captains, 3 Keepers & a Flight Lieutenant. With the understanding that Star CC wanted to get away promptly, Captain Cressey attempted to contrive the result of the toss, this would allow Village to bat first and get Star CC away quicker. However, Star CC's Captain was having none of that and insisted on a game of chance. Game of Chance comfortably won, Cressey inserted Village Batsmen and graciously allowed Star CC to spend the day in the field on this most hot of days.
Opening for the Village was Captain James de Mellow & Captain Morgan (Cuba Libre?). With Gaggan opening the bowling for Star CC the contest was on...The first over proved a challenge with decent pace and accuracy generated. JdM got off the mark whilst Captain Morgan was subject to a couple of LBW appeals. Umpire Pitcher turned these down, this would grant Captain Morgan a chance to reach 4,000 runs for the Village. Currently 29 short at the start of play and also in with a chance of the Batting Trophy, a triumphant day of batting awaited the Substitute Substitute Captain. The Batter not likely to contribute further was JdM, Bowled by Gaggan for 3 having been repeatedly beamed by Raj, whilst also surviving a couple of LBW shouts which Squadron Leader Tupper refused.
The fall of JdM brought Captain Cressey to the crease. The Captain de Jour, who was also in with a chance for the batting trophy, combined well with the average Spiced Rum at the other end. Building a partnership of sweat and boundaries, the two put on 60 runs in temperatures reaching approximately 300 Kelvin. In light of the temperatures both had decided to wear fetching helmets which no doubt aided the production of both sweat and boundaries. As the stabilising partnership took us through towards drinks, there were several appeals ignored by both Umpires. These included Captain Cressey charging the opening bowler Raj and narrowly avoiding a stumping, a couple more LBW shouts and what appeared to be a very good caught behind (according to unbiased sources provided by Star CC.) However much like all good things, the glorious marriage of Cressey and an average spiced rum ended when Captain Morgan was caught off Suba for 16 just before Drinks. He had been attempting increase the run rate but his luck sadly ran out.
At drinks, Captain Cressey (Connor MacLeod. Highlander. There can only be one.) was joined by Captain Toby de Mellow. Skipper de Jour took the time to lecture the young Left hander about the need to take his time and build a match winning total. 9 Runs into the Partnership later and the Highlander was having to explain to the rest of the Village why he decided to commit cricketing Seppuku. Out off Suba for 46. Toby was now joined by Captain Bairstow, whose late arrival was a result of mystical traffic problems. With Bairstow and de Mellow the younger at the crease. The Village took to accelerating the scoring rapidly. Both Batsmen seemed in good touch and were aided in frustrating Star CC as yet more appeals fell on deaf/distracted/dodgy ears? This contributed to undoubted frustration amongst Star CC, there would be no chance for any DRS during this period of play so on they would have to struggle. Until perhaps they would get a chance to Umpire.
With the combination of the two Gingers approaching 100 vital runs, and with TdM looking to do as Cressey instructed and build a match winning innings, he attempted to replicate previous efforts off Dara. Having previously found only boundaries, this time he picked the fielder out and departed for a brisk and breezy 43. However with a team consisting of 7 Brits (TCFKAT has a British passport. Shut up.), 3 Welshmen and an Indian there was batting to come. Next in was Non-Captain but Keeper Davies. Fresh off previous Village successes, he would be sure to play an important role as the Village looked to push through the 200+ run barrier. Sadly Village hopes of fireworks between Captain Bairstow and Keeper Davies were brought to an end by the departure of Nick. Bowled by the increasingly dangerous Dara for 26. With Bosshardt heading out for his first taste of cricket since Montenegro would the two pile on the runs? No. Sadly Bosshardt was caught off Dara for only 2. Jimmy followed 11 runs later for a quick 22. Caught whilst trying to accelerate off the bowling of Gaggan.
With only a few overs left the village score stood at 194 for 7. 200+ was surely on and with Captain Gupte and Pitcher at the crease valuable runs would be added at the death. Pitcher and Captain Klav smote nearly 20 valuable runs to help set up an imposing total. With last weeks heroic batting in his mind Pitch quickly got to 9 before he too was out. Caught at cover off Dara. Clearly the pick of the Star CC bowlers. Dara finished with 4-27 off only 7 overs. With the fall of Pitcher, LHB/RHB Flying Sergeant Tupper entered the battle. His only contribution with the bat? To Run himself out off the last ball as Captain Klav saved his average by turning down a single to the keeper. Village final total was 216-9 off 40 overs. Key contributors were Captain MacLeod, Captain TdM and Captain Frank.
Tea arrived in the form of trips to a Cafe across the park. This was not the samosas of weekend past and could be considered inferior in nearly every way imaginable. The tired and sweaty Star CC took refuge in the shade and took on life giving water and soft drinks as required. Meanwhile, The Village started the traditional fielding practice of dropping catches and chucking the ball miles away from the keeper. Due to the necessary break in the action, the assembled spectators slowly dispersed. These intrigued figures, so rarely seen at Village matches, would be continuously replaced throughout the day. With the Village keen to get started, Star CC proceeded to take their time getting ready to bat. Frustration mounted on the part of the Villagers but soon, in the cool of the day (approx. 300 kelvin still) the Village bowlers would have a chance to shine. Or at least get very sweaty.
Opening was Bosshardt. Having mostly played cricket in Montenegro, his was a welcome return to the warm embrace of Village Cricket. To celebrate this fact Captain Cressey offered a 8-1 offside field. A bold Captaincy choice to cement the Kamikaze attitude to Cricket he was attempting on this day. Bosshardt said no to the idea and Cressey set up a very defensive 7-2 field with 3 slips and 2 gully fielders. Bowling with pace, accuracy, movement and other such nouns. Bossy quickly reached figures of 1-2 off his first 3 overs. The wicket was of Dillon, who was comprehensively bowled for 0. Unspoken was the very promising shouts for LBW included in this excellent start. With no DRS for the Village either, there was no chance of overturning these decisions. Operating in tandem with Bosshardt was First Officer Tupper. He too started well, bowling away swing with again the nouns associated with good bowling. He conceded only 7 off his first 3 overs.
The other opening Batsmen, Shobaz, had decided to take his shots from the LTA manual as opposed to any cricketing manual and was continuing to swipe unsuccessfully like Captain Morgan on his old tinder account. Wing Commander Tupper was unfortunate to be collected by 3 of these swipes. Leaking 10 runs off the first 3 balls of his 4th over. He then stuck one in slightly shorter, it was hit straight up for C PIITTTCHHHERRR to catch running sharply in from square leg. The second opener was thus dismissed for an erratic 22. With Bosshardt continuing to defy the idea that regular practice improves performance. Air Commodore Tupper took the opportunity to aquire some wickets for his season tally with two wickets for 1 run off his final two overs. The second wicket was an off cutter which removed Raj. The Batsmen uncertain as to what had just happened. With new batsmen Rohit taking the tactic of batting 2ft outside leg stump to both Bosshardt and Wing Commander Tupper. Captain Tupper (aviation term not cricket captain.) convinced Rohit to hit a half-volley outside off onto his pad then his legstump. With both opening bowlers having been in fine form, Bosshardt 1-14 off 6 and Tupper 3-18 off 6, Star CC faced a long uphill battle at 32-4 off 12. Needing 184 at over 6.5 runs per over Captain Cressey turned to the Spin Twins Trogger (TCFKAT) and EK.
EK having replaced Montenegro Bowler Bosshardt started promisingly. Bowling his typical darting off breaks. He was determined to cement his lead for the bowling trophy with Eddie 'Foot & Mouth' Francis occupied by his daughter in a foreign land. However, Star CC Batter's started to combat the spinning ball with the typical Village approach of the hoick to leg. This was looking like it might be the start of a glorious come back. With 21 runs added Star slowly brought themselves back into the match. During this spell, EK was unlucky to have a hard chance spill from between the nominally reliable PIIITTTTCHHHHERRRRR's hands. However, the true controversy struck, with the batsmen in the process of charging and swiping, Keeper Davies effected an excellent stumping. With appealing Villagers eyes picking out the square leg umpire, his finger went up. A valuable stumping and yet another for the Welsh Wizard. However, the Umpire at square leg was TCFKAT. The actual umpire at point, missed what had happened and cautiously stated not out. Again the lack of a comprehensive replay based system denied the fielding team a potential wicket.
Replacing Group Captain Tupper was TCFKAT. Bowling ripping leg spin at the Star CC batting line up or what remained of it. He settled into a good rhythm. Ably supported by the always excellent keeper Davies. TCFKAT claimed a stumping of Dara for 14 before drinks & Bunty Caught behind for 22 just after drinks. With the Village fast running out of water supplies due to the heat of the day, it was a quick turn around mid innings. The break allowed Captain Cressey to shuffle his bowlers, this brought an Andrew Caddick look-a-like into the attack replacing EK.
Pitcher (Bitcaher apparently) bowled his seam-up with typical vigour. This was to cause a few chances to begin to appear for the Village fielders to be kept interested. With the ball flying around with air underneath it, Pitcher would be unlucky not to collect more wickets. A notable effort was from Captain Spiced Rum, sprinting forward with the vigour of a man able to REDACTED, he dived forward and got fingertips to what would've been a brilliant catch. The main reason for Pitcher's lack of wickets came from the limelight stealing TCFKAT. Having already grabbed 2 wickets courtesy of Davies efforts, he then convinced the probably cause of world war 3 (Kashmir) to smash a ball hard and low to PIITTTTCHHHEEERRR, who snaffled an excellent catch to dismiss the contested province for a fine 31. With Pitcher deciding to reduce the chances of adding to his season tally of wickets, he remarkably bowled Suba with a freak bounce. The ball shooting an inch above the surface into the stumps. Suba stood his ground and pleaded for a no-ball to be given or for mercy to be granted by one of the 7 Captains the Village was fielding. With Umpiring decisions being granted by lottery this game he was out of luck defeated by the pitch for 15.
The end was now in sight for both sides. With this occuring TCFKAT announced that he had never taken a Michelle for the Village. Having bowled Lahkan for 3, he would have 4 balls to achieve this. Thankfully for Village stat gurus this didn't occur. TCFKAT having bowled exceptionally to grab 4-36 off his 8 overs. Replaced by EK, The Village went on the attack. Kamikaze Cressey ordered the field to close in for both bowlers, and the always eccentric Village Chat ramped up a couple of notches. With pressure being applied from both ends, Star CC held on for a couple more overs before Pitcher claimed his second and ended the game. 2-37 off 6 overs for Pitcher and the game was over. Star CC coming up 83 runs short.
With the Match finished in good time and with the weather gloriously sunny. Star CC departed for weddings, and the Village marched off towards the Vine for the Elegant and Sophisticated Dinner Party (Sesh) which follows most Village matches. As benefiting such a glorious result, the celebration continued long into the night. There was an appearance from Umpire Bosh, a Slug, 21's & Singing.
The next day nothing important involving cricket happened in Yorkshire.