Arthur's Knights: 192
Batting: P.Fry 26*; W.Barr 25*; H.McNab 25*; F.O'Beirne 24*; D.Bursey 23*; G.Dunne 21
Bowling: E.Rankin 5-0-25-2; M.Beetlestone 3-0-17-1; H.McNab 5-1-29-1; D.Bursey 3-0-8-0
Batting: N.Greene 26*; C.Wardrop 25*; G.Barnes 25*; D.Drumm 23*; B.McAllister 15
Bowling: C.Johnston 4-0-34-2; M.Bursey 2-0-13-1; N.Greene 3-0-18-1; B.McAllister 3-0-9-0
Last May we played Arthur's Knights at Harristown and I finished my report with words from Dylan Thomas' “Under Milkwood”: “ 'Time passes. Listen. Time passes'. I hope that we are all back to enjoy this great fixture next year.” Unfortunately not, as it turned out. Seven years ago we lost the eponymous Arthur of Arthur's Knights, Arthur Dunne, and earlier this year, very sadly, Arthur Deeney passed away. So- after a second Morte D'Arthur- it was an Arthurless Knights who came to our Harristown Camelot on a dazzlingly beautiful day. They came “clothed in white samite, mystic, wonderful” to play an extended Taverners match.
The outfield, mowed a couple of days earlier by Hubert, looked so fast that I thought to bat first and set Knights a score to frighten them. In the event Knights' new captain Frank O'Beirne was so uncertain of who was going to turn up (and none had by kick off time) that I gallantly offered to field first. Mistake. “So all day long the noise of battle roll'd”- and the Knights batsmen ran riot. Paul Fry and Willie Barr are Defence Force veterans but this was all-out attack on our bowling. When has there been a time when 6 of the Knights' first 7 batsmen scored over 20- and the 7th, Ben Glascott, got 16? Excalibur was being wielded by one Knight after another. Aided by top scoring extras (27!) they put up 192 runs. We took just 4 wickets, of which Cecil took 2 and Nassau and Mathew Bursey 1 each. There was a little light relief for the Oaks when Dave Bursey hit a ball from Cecil for an innings finishing boundary, only to see his son Mathew take the catch. Nice!
Although Clive Wardrop scored an excellent 25 not out, Hubert and Jack Best were out rather quickly, the former to an excellent catch by Willie Barr. New boy Brian McAllister and Graham Barnes steadied the ship, but at a cost of the rapidly depleting overs. Nassau Greene hit a fast 26 not out then myself and Cecil took to the crease and it was a case of “Quick, quick, I fear it is too late”. We put a decent gloss on the score with our non-stop running, 23 and 14 not out respectively, but never really threatened the Knights total.
It was a sporting encounter but the days of Halverstown expecting to win against the Knights are over: “For now I see the true old times are dead”. Maybe not quite, since old hand Nassau won our Man of the Match award for his batting, bowling plus his wife Jackie's superlative tea, in the best tradition of old Halverstown. The Knights had the promise of a the new generation of Dunnes, with young Max winning “Man” of the Match for his exceptional fielding and Finn performing well with ball and bat. Thus “the old order changeth, yielding place to the new”.There should be cricket in Avalon, “Where falls not hail, or rain or any snow, Nor ever wind blows loudly”. We hope so: nothing would make the Arthurs happier. Halverstown were denied two of their players for the game, both nearly taken to Avalon early by heart attacks. We wish Deaglan and John Brown a speedy recovery.
I have highlighted only the better batting and bowling figures, to protect the guilty. Thanks to Alfred, Lord Tennyson and his wonderfully epic “Morte D'Arthur” for the quotes.