HALVERSTOWN: 197 for 7 declared
J.Threadgold 53 G.Bayer 51 H. Beaumont 18* S.Rix 15 D.Drumm 13
B.Coales 4-0-23-2 N.Jones 11-0-43-2 T.Gibbs 10-0-56-1 B.Berrigan 9-1-29-0
WHITE CITY: 198 for 7
Jesh 81 White 44 Shenfield 31 B.Berrigan 16
G.Bayer 2-0-14-2 J.Kirby 4-0-31-2 B.McAllister 4-0-25-1 A,Barber 5-0-37-1
D.Drumm 9.1-0-34-0 J.Threadgold 12-0-55-0
This was a re- energised team with new faces abounding and a purposeful and determined approach. There was a new man at the helm who was looking to shake things up from the very start. A new broom to sweep clean; there was to be no negotiating. The die was cast. Striding out to the middle Boris Coales won the toss - gambling correctly on Europe coming up trumps -and then doing the unexpected. How was I to guess that for the first time ever White City would choose to field first. Of course it made sense: Captain Coales had worked out that the annual fiction of the toss where White City always batted anyway favoured the holders, who could hang on for a draw if a win did not look likely. Two chances to retain the much coveted White City Trophy, so generously donated in the memory of Alan Ruddock, which had helped Halverstown to hold onto the Trophy for 9 years! The game was agreed as 20 overs after 5.45pm and, presuming we survived the onslaught, it would be up to me to decide on a declaration, the first time I would ever have had to do so.
I had to quickly put together a batting order. Openers John Threadgold and Stuart Conroy then batted steadily, John getting a patient and well constructed half century. Steve Rix then brought his fireworks to proceedings with a fine 6 and a four in his brief cameo. Gunter did his usual and tormented the White City bowlers with a half century which included 7 boundaries. The tail, particularly Hubert, added nicely to the total and after 40 overs I declared on 197 for 7. I had calculated the time for tea and based on my assessment of their bowling time I reckoned that they would have 35-36 overs to get to 198. A cunning plan: a tempting target, but just difficult enough. They would have to better our reasonably good run rate and we had a decent bowling line-up. The White City bowling had been good : with Boris like swagger Captain Coales had taken a couple of scalps, as had Nick Jones. Brian Berrigan had bowled as economically as Boris had been with the truth on his infamous Brexit bus, but far more accurately.
Although Andy Barber took an early wicket by dismissing Pointer, we struggled to remove Jesh and White who put on a partnership of over a century, the former batting with great confidence for his 81 and the latter falling just short of his 50. After that wickets started to tumble, but the run rate and wickets in hand were enough to carry them through, with every batsman adding just enough to edge them towards the total. Our own Irish backstop, Hubert Beaumont, took two splendid, lightning quick stumpings. Part-time spinner Gunter had just 2 overs and took 2 wickets, both Hubert’s stumpings credited to his bowling; he was then rested him in case he embarrassed our fulltime bowlers further. Jon Kirby, after finishing our innings with a boundary, showed his bowling skills with 2 for 31. Indeed we laboured long and hard in the field but were undone by my overly clever calculations: we were actually into the 37th over when the Michael Gove like figure of Tubby Shenfield (but without the drugs) hit the winning runs- and there were still almost 2 overs to go. It was a deserved victory in a tough and close encounter. Well done Bill Coales and the White City team.
Should a captain who declares and then loses a match fall on his sword? I wondered that out loud to John Threadgold who reminded us of a journalist’s comments about Theresa May and her failure to get her Brexit deal through Parliament 3 times, that although she might try that, with her luck she would probably miss. The good news is that the cup stays in Ireland since who knows what the tariff regime will be in place next year on something as precious as this beautiful trophy.