Strollers 302 all out
Martlets 149 all out
(Strollers won by 153 runs)
The boys took to the field, in this most beautiful of parks, in buoyant mood. The Strollers had been slain last season at Westbourne House School and it was time to wet the head of the skippers newly born son with another famous victory. Having been inspired by a team talk which spoke of the glory to be had against an opposition who had arrived late (leading to a 40 over format), and slightly bedraggled, hopes were as high as the nearby cathedral.
How quickly they plummeted to earth. An early wicket, a sharp slip catch by Rydon off the unplayable Cantrell, was a cruelly misleading taste of what was not to come. It soon transpired that the Strollers early display of indifference had masked a psychotic desire to pummel a very pretty match ball to death. We discovered at tea that many of their number had been engaged in a London based, ultra-competitive, 20/20 league since April. The sole purpose of this had been as preparation for the Martlet bowling attack.
Cantrell, Ashworth and Lack toiled manfully in vain. Walker simply toiled in vain. After 20 overs the score was 200. Guy Tassell reached his century with some lusty blows. The warm rain fell and the humidity would not have been out of place in Bangkok. This was probably the main reason Lack stayed on for so long!!
Much to the Martlet`s credit they kept going. Rydon came on and took wickets. Hiley fielded like a man possessed, he really was outstanding. Ferns assisted the skipper with tactical gems, including “put every fielder on the boundary, including the keeper”, or words to that effect.
By the time Tucker bowled Jonny Haynes the Strollers had made 302. We got off to a dreadful start before Rydon (50) and Lack (32) helped us to 149 all out.
Despite the undeniable hammering there were glimmers of sunlight behind those warm clouds. All the Martlets joined the opposition for a drink at the Park Tavern. Everyone had enjoyed the day (or so they told the skipper who was sobbing into his beer).
Two new youthful candidates, George Holman (a promising wicketkeeper) and Angus Edgell (a talented opener) were signed up. An Anglo-American, passing through blighty en route to Yemen, David MacDonald made his Martlets debut. Indeed it was his cricketing debut! He showed few signs of nerves as he fielded impressively and strode out bravely to face Tissell. Poor Macdonald was back 2 balls later but his great grandfather, Ronnie Aird, President of the MCC and his father Ian, a Martlet now exiled in Pennsylvania would have been proud.
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