Cricket At Last – Oh, The Telegraph Cup!

The drought of April was truly reversed with the monsoons of May and the rain had continued unabated washing out the opening two league fixtures and it seemed the same fate awaited the Sunday fixture in the Telegraph Cup against Sandford St. Martin II’s.   So much so, that Captain Stu warned the Sandford skipper the day before the game whilst waiting for the VAR decision on the Chelsea equaliser, which in itself was a shock, as there is no VAR in the FA Cup! 

Both Michael Oliver and the Met Office needed external assistance as both were wrong and whilst there was no reprieve for Chelsea, there was for the clash between MGCC and Sandford, as the rain forecasted failed to fall as foretold and a dry window of weather would allow for the corridor of uncertainty to be tested for the first time this season.

Skipper had been practicing his tossing all week and was concerned as he had not been able to have Kimberley bless his tool of choice that day and got his wrist position all wrong with Sandford Skipper Ben Proctor calling correctly (worth pointing out that this was not ‘the’ Ben Proctor former skipper of this Parish and only skipper to lead the Mighty Gibbon to a winless season, just saying).  However, surprisingly Marsh were not inserted as expected on a pitch damper than young Master Timms nappy.  The only male Timms not to be in attendance as Middle Timms was gracing the green grass of Gibbon for the first time in over a year and Senior Timms was standing in adjudication.

Old man Kyle and fitness fanatic Callow opened with decent lines on what would be a testing track for the batters whilst the ball was hard and likely to seam.  Both were on the money from the off and perhaps it was the allure of skippers’ dazzling new white gloves that attracted the new cherry into them as both openers were caught behind off sharp snicks.

Anson and Reynolds were quickly joined by Tanner in the pavilion as Kyle trapped him plumb in-front leaving Sandford on 28-3 from 13.  Both bowlers completed their allotted 8 overs to be replaced by Sam-boy Richardson and Guns Leonard.   An immediate impact from Guns as his ‘surprise ball’ (the one that does not bounce and is about 2 feet outside off) was launched into orbit by Dobson, only to return and drill Crouch into the earth, who clasped on to it and climbed out from his crater.   Despite the success Tommy’s football injury (not the Chelsea result but his ankle) was too much for him to continue, though he did stretch his second over to ten balls – as if suggesting he didn’t really want to come off!

The ‘G-Man’ brought calm and order to proceedings despite his own concerns over young Alfie’s new cricket trousers and the potential reaction of Deborah to the residue stuck on them from the cow field!  

Crossman bowled Welch in the 24th over, reducing Sandford to 104-5. However, before catching Goffe and giving Grant his 2nd wicket, Guns had struggled with an earlier opportunity off Richardson….He could not extricate himself from his new blue MGCC Panama whilst attempting to bag a skier. Calamity as he eventually won the battle with the hat only for the released mop of hair to fall and distract from clasping the chance.  Sam-boy could be philosophical though as Crouch managed to race in and take a diving stylish catch to remove Lamb shortly afterwards.

Crossman put the strangle on in the middle overs conceding only 19 runs and taking 3 wickets in his 8 overs and with scoreboard pressure mounting quick singles were being sought – though ill-advised to try them to Charlie the Ship, he is the sort that pings the ball back with interest and skipper Proctor was left to rue his decision. 

Chambers came on justin time to loosen the muscles and get the old swing-o-meter rolling before Joseph closed out the innings with the turning ball to bowl Skinner ending the Sandford innings in the 40th over on 143.            

With Covid restrictions still imposed the wonderful Marsh Teas could not be sampled, unless you happened to be Mrs Needham, who had done more than sample, but had eaten her husband’s tea that he had prepared for himself!

Joe and Charlie strode confidently to face the youthful and excessively energetic Sandford attack, needing to take the seam off the new ball and most importantly not play across the line…..

….Richardson joined Shipperley midway through the first over…..

The excitement on the pitch was matched by the excitement in the scorebox as the strange and unpredictable world of Duckworth Lewis came into effect for the first time ever for Gibbon and the total required immediately exceeded the runs obtained.  This was not phasing Richardson who blocked and blocked and blocked…and blocked with unyielding commitment. Of course, he might have changed tactics had he been aware of the worsening position displayed prominantly for all to see on the new D/L scoreboard!   Thankfully for Marsh, Fossy eventually bowled Samboy for 2 (from 28 deliveries faced).  Next game is at home Sam – you can go Direct!

With Guns’ visit to the crease lasting as long as his spell of bowling and Shipperley, who was looking relaxed and hitting ball well, chopping on for 17 from just 14 deliveries, the club looked to the experience of Skipper and Chambers who was Justin to join skipper. 

Sandford bowlers; Proctor, Fossy and Goffe had bowled very well and had them in a strong position with Marsh 50-4 when the two came together.

Evaluating the situation, Jules was reticent and reliable, flicking singles to both sides and stamping down on anything straight!  Skipper had a look around for a while and wandered a few singles, but with black clouds looming and Marsh behind on the DL score, the Kraken was unleashed on the Sea Bass and the Lagoon was filled with cricket balls.

Four Sixes and Six Fours later Skipper wrapped it up with an unbeaten 63 accompanied by Chambers senior – who had kept Chambers Junior sitting padded up and waiting for his dad’s demise for 26 overs!   Jules ended up on 27 in the unbroken partnership of 96 in 18 overs.

It was a pleasure to host the skilful and youthful Sandford St Martin at the Gibbon for the first time and wish them success in their fixtures ahead.

Meanwhile, The Mighty Gibbon will be travelling away for the next round of the cup and hosting mates of old from the OCA, Watlington, in the league next weekend.