WHITE CITY: 172 for 9
Batting: B.Berrigan 31 N.Wilkinson 31 Collett 30 M.Ffrench-Davis 15 Poulter 14 Bowling: B.Berrigan 11-3-39-2; W.Coales 5-0-48-2; N.Wilkinson 11-0-56-1; Collett 1-0-13-0
HALVERSTOWN: 173 for 5
Batting: G.Bayer 105* M.Ronaldson 22 J.Threadgold 15
Bowling: G.Bayer 2-0-12-2; J.Threadgold 9-2-17-2; D.Drumm 7-0-29-2; N.Case 11-0-30-2
S.Hayes 4-0-18-1; M.Ronaldson 3-0-26-0; T. Case 3-0-26-0 M.Hanley 3-0-26-0
Gunter had been reminding me for weeks that he was available for the White City game, perhaps recalling his magnificent route to 66 last year and hoping for something similar. It is a much anticipated fixture, the team a combined Oaks and league players, less farmers who are harvesting and sundry others who put work first. It was the last game of the Irish tour for White City and Peter Oborne brought his team here with a record of having won two, lost two and drawn one. This then was the deciding match of the tour: were Brexit voters right in seeing the “out” vote as the start of a new chapter in making Britain Great again? I am afraid not: it was to be the Gunter Bayer show yet again- in spades.
After the usual little fiction of the toss we fielded in a game scheduled to end 20 overs after 5.30pm, to accomodate time in the pub before catching the flight home. However, Neville Case and John Threadgold bowled with such unerring accuracy that the White City run rate barely crawled along, such that Peter shouted “20 overs past 6pm”. The flight could wait, if necessary- though ultimately not the pub. John and Neville took two wickets apiece, for extraordinarily good economy. I added another 2 and Stuart Hayes 1 before we played our bowling master card: Gunter! His 2 for 12 finished off the innings at 172 for 9.
The total was a lot better than last year's 133 and City must have taken heart from quickly having us 26 for 3. But Gunter, ably supported by Mark Ronaldson, made all the difference. His 106 not out was in a class of its own and included 18 boundaries- with a massive 6 taking him through the hundred barrier with only 2 more balls of the innings left. We do not see many centuries is Oaks games (if any!) and this was very special. Mark kept rotating the strike with a series of singles in a fine supporting role before falling LBW to Bill Coales. John Threadgold added 15 before Stuart saw out the innings with a rampant and unbeaten Gunter.
White City had few bowlers: Brian Berrigan and Neville Wilkinson had to bowl 11 overs each, the former with an impressive 3 maidens and 2 for 39. Neville took a good caught-bowled against Stuart Conroy and Bill Coales took 2 significant scalps in Mark and John for48. We made the 173 target with 14 overs to spare and so retained- yet again- the Alan Ruddock Cup. This was the first time that we had no Ruddocks at the game: Jackie has moved to Dublin, so no more late nights at the Rectory after the game, and the 3 sons abroad. However, Peter spoke movingly of Alan, his friendship and his spirit still present at Halverstown. Another tradition is the excellent Karen Plewman tea for White City, in this case even though TP was unable to play. Thank you Karen, and thanks to umpires John Brown, also unable to play for health reasons (but still well able to put the finger up as umpire) and the injured Richard Greene.
I had said that the magnificent cup presented by White City was Cork silver. Now it is on my mantlepiece I have had more time to study it. It was first purchased from Egan's of Cork, but is hallmarked Dublin, 1911. Moreover in my copy of the definitive “Collecting Irish Silver” by Bennett the exact same design of cup is featured in colour on the dust-jacket rear. Inside there is another photograph of it and it is described as “A Limerick two-handled cup with tapering sides and high step, made by Joseph Johns” and dated to the mid-18th century. Johns was a silversmith as well as “Alderman and Chamberlain” and Mayor of Limerick. I have found an Egans of Cork who were “Jewellers and Platers” until 1833. There was, however, no separate mark for Limerick or Cork after the 17th century: all silver was sent to Dublin assay office for testing. Could another Egan's have had a copy made of an earlier cup? Or is there another story here? I will pursue it! Anyway, nice to keep such beautifully crafted piece of Irish silver in Ireland, and as long as Gunter keeps turning in such incredible performances it could well rest here a while longer.