Bagenalstown are a team that we have faced regularly over the years and at one time we felt we had a lot in common being a country team. For those of us who played this fixture last year the wounds are still raw. A complete standoff, which defied common sense, meant that Halverstown spent 3 hours in the changing room whilst the opposing captain spent the time urging the tide to go out like King Canute. Fortunately he has relinquished the captaincy but he is still there as the eminence grise.
Richard and Tim who have been successful with the bat this season were absent. Richard is having an operation on his shoulder after a farming accident and Tim is trying to wrap up his harvest. There are no reports of Clive and Umer didn’t travel.
We were put into field and our strike team of Case (2-15) and Threadgold (3-15) got to work. JT took the first 2 wickets and then Dave Brown (2-42) rode in behind him getting the crucial wicket of Budhathoki (44). He also took a steepling catch at mid on which was impressive because he set himself and took it with ease. He has been away too long and is now fulfilling the role of all rounder vacated by Barra at the beginning of the season. Kevin T (1-33) was the workhorse of the team bowling 8 overs and Ahsan got 2-25.
Halfway through the innings they realized the book was wrong and the match was stopped. Looking at it you could see why and it required something akin to the Rosetta Stone to translate it into meaningful cricket language. Strangely this happened last year as well ~ once is unfortunate, twice is carelessness? We are so lucky to have Neville Case as our scorer. His book is clear and accurate which reflects well on his education at Wilson’s Hospital. Despite being a fine in swing bowler he is in the nets every Thursday practicing six hitting to cow corner but the book seems to get in the way and he is marooned at no.11. ‘Greater love hath no man than this; that he lay down his batting ambitions to keep the score.’
There were a few wry comments from the bowlers about fielding but the outfield was littered with humps and bumps, a product of the drought presumably. This made even the best fielders in the team look ordinary. However effort and enthusiasm was not wanting.
Cecil Johnston should get a special mention. He answered the captain’s call to play at the last minute despite the fact that he would be playing for the Oaks against Leprechauns the following day.
After 34 overs they were back in the hut for 139 runs. We had a good tea as befits a country club and Sean, the senior Bagenalstown player, got up and made a generous speech about Halverstown and our shared history.
Barry and the skipper opened our account. Budhathoki opened the bowling with O’Neill and they were effective in keeping the scoring at a low level. After 7 overs we were 1-13 and Gunther came to the crease. One of the first balls he received was a full toss, which narrowly avoided his head and glanced off his shoulder. The umpire gave the bowler a warning and advised the captain accordingly. At which point the EG, a man of many words, berated the umpire and gave the whole history of dangerous bowling in the club and ended by indicating that the umpire had overreacted. It looked as though the whole ‘King Canute’ saga was going to be reignited but Mick intervened and we moved on.
Gunther, seemingly untroubled by the blow to his shoulder got a quick fire 30 and we were 2-48 after 15 overs. Victory was still in sight but at 68 we were 5 wickets down. With 15 overs to go the Threadgolds, JT (36*) and Kevin (26), came together and breathed oxygen into our run chase. As in the previous game they got their heads down and the score slowly but inexorably moved past 100. It was noticeable that when Kevin was run out he chose that he should be the one to go which was both selfless but also tactically prudent. John has one or two big shots in his locker particularly a six clipped off his legs. The score was 6-129 and we needed 11 to secure the win off the final over. Ahsan marched to the crease and launched a big shot, which was taken in the deep. They crossed so that JT was on strike and Cecil was at the non-strikers end. The match concluded with the score on 135 with the 2 batsmen unbeaten.
There are 2 ways of looking at this one. The first is that we failed for a second time to hunt down a modest score. The second is that against really accurate bowling we acquitted ourselves well and that the steel that the Threadgolds showed was exciting and uplifting. The whole team contributed on and off the field and it was an enjoyable game. Is your glass half full or half empty? If anybody’s asking mine’s a pint please!
Our next and final match of the season is at North County CC on