23 May 2000
DAMP DODGERS THWARTED BY MACHAVELLIAN McBARRON
For the second week in a row a Dodgers victory was snatched away by the vagaries of the weather and the deviousness of the opposition. After a delayed start due to the late arrival of Roper with the kit (supposedly due to the state of the traffic but in all probability actually due to the state of his car – he proudly pointed out to me that it had nearly 200,000 miles on the clock) the respective captains agreed on a game shortened to 20 overs a side. Not-out batsmen would retire at 25 with the option of return if the last man were out before the completion of 20 overs.
Dodgers batted first; a sensible decision as it allowed those not batting to take both refuge in the pavilion (shed) from the incessant rain and the piss out of the opposition who were getting soaked. Westhead and the fetchingly blond Paterson opened the batting. With Westhead scoring 2 from opening bowler McBarron's first ball, a lively start looked likely. No such luck. With the score on 12 Westhead was bowled by Birch Major in the 4th over having added a mere single to his opening score. Brown then joined Paterson and kept the score ticking over. During this period of play McBarron relayed the news that he had made a unilateral decision to extend the game to 25 overs per innings. Swearing audibly, Captain Priest accepted this but passed comment that he wished he'd known earlier as he may have changed the batting order (what into I don't know).
Brown was next out - caught by jammy McBarron via the wicketkeeper off the bowling of Birch minor in the 8th over with the score on 27. Greeting this dismissal with a further expletive Priest, pausing only to stub out his fag and make a final adjustment to his Souwester, strode resolutely to the crease aware that once again the opportunity to improve his batting average had arrived. His appearance at the wicket to join the by-now free-scoring Paterson, added a touch of class to proceedings and with the usual display of judicious stroke play and outright luck the partnership pushed the score to 82 before Paterson retired having reached 27.
Sandamas, replacing Paterson, continued in form and was quickly out for another duck, clean bowled by a useful ball from (?) with the score still on 82. Roper then partnered Priest until the latter retired having scored 26. Unfortunately his replacement, Matthews (harbouring the impossible hope that he might also have to retire on reaching the same score), successfully leaving his first ball which passed only millimetres from his leg stump and pushing his second for an excellent single, was then run out with the score on 90 by the treacherous Roper; keen to exact retribution for the presumed criticism of his Volvo. Next man Cooper was unfortunately bowled first ball by Carter, without any addition to the score.
Hilary joined Roper and the free-scoring rhythm displayed earlier in the innings was quickly re-established. The score moved rapidly to 111 at which point Roper retired on reaching 25. Reluctant next man Pope, bemoaning the weather and muttering his usual defeatist comments, scored a quick 2. He then took advantage of a dubious appeal for caught behind by Gigg off the bowling of Trott, by walking and happily returned to the shelter of the shed. Paterson, resuming his innings, added only 3 before being stumped by Gigg after missing a widish ball from Birch Major, with the score on 134 in the 21st over. Priest returning for his second helping, quickly resumed where he had left off and, ably supported by Hilary, pushed the final Dodgers score to 166 for 7.
Between innings Priest produced the new keepers gloves purchased at great expense from a con man in Asia. Presumably intended for a braver man (or someone who could actually catch the ball) than the ancient “cat” the right hand glove had no padding at all and consequently after having the ball hurled at him a few times by quickie Paterson, Matthews wisely rejected them in favour of the old ones.
Wiping the water out of his eyes Roper opened the Dodgers bowling and taking advantage of McBarron's ploy of putting his “best” batsmen in up the order, clean bowled both opener Jordan (golden 0) and Trott (1) in the first over whilst other opener Gigg, having cannily taken a single from his first ball, watched with amusement from the other end. Old man Carter then joined Gigg and Dodgers prepared for a dose of the usual punishment. This was not to be as good bowling from Roper and Cooper and first change Hillary restricted the scoring to 18 in the first 5 overs. In the 6th Hillary, bowling excellently in the treacherous conditions and having filled the bowlers footholes with sawdust he'd mysteriously acquired – presumably the fuel supply for Roper's car - turned a ball which bowled Carter (4) through the gate with the score on 22. New man Hyland having threatened was then excellently caught by Paterson (still blond despite the unrelenting deluge) off the bowling of Cooper with the score on 35.
At this stage McBarron took to the field to partner Gigg. This pairing fended off quickie Paterson and took advantage of slowie Pope long enough for Gigg to retire having scored 27. Birch Minor and Mcbarron then plundered further runs from both Priest(looking as if he wished he was in the pub) and Brown (looking distinctly rusty) before McBarron retired, also on 27. Birch Minor partnered by Stokes proceeded to keep Transec in the frame by taking runs from the Dodger's new attack of Westhead (looking forward to his wedding) and Sandamas (looking distinctly as if batting might be his strength).
Throughout this passage of play umpire McBarron, awaiting the opportunity to turn down an LBW appeal, had to endure the relentless whinging of other umpire Carter pleading for the abandonment of play due to rain finally gaining access to the inner sanctum of his truss. To his credit at this stage McBarron stoically turned a deaf ear to these imprecations, maintaining that as he had promised all of his players a bat he was going to see they got one.
Birch Minor continued with his attack and had scored a rapid 24 when, lulled by Sandamas' less than threatening pace, he attempted a big hit once to often and was impressively caught by Roper running round from long leg to take a sliding catch at knee height. With the score on 104 in the 18th over and 63 runs needed for victory Birch Minor's granddad, Birch Major joined Stokes. This partnership was soon broken when Stokes, on 4, was run out. (I'm pretty certain Pope wasn't involved).
Upholding his earlier decision former gentleman McBarron declined the opportunity to go for his umbrella and allowed last man Marchant to defend the honour of Transec. However pinned down by the bowling of Westhead and Sandamas this last pairing were unable to up the scoring rate enough to mount any serious threat. Hence with the score on 126 at the end of the 21st over and 41 runs needed off 24(?) balls for a Transec win, the scheming McBarron, denying Dodgers a more than possible victory, finally took advantage of a break in the weather, sent the batsmen off, and abandoned play.
Outcome: no result (but a moral victory to Dodgers)
Westhead b Birch Major 3
Paterson st Gigg b Birch Major 30
Brown c McBarron b Birch Minor 4
Priest not out 47
Sandamas b Hyland 0
Roper not out 25
Matthews run out 1
Cooper b Carter 0
Hilary not out 22
Pope c Gigg b Trott 2
Extras (nb2, w18, b11, lb1) 32
Total (off 25 overs) 166
Fall of Wickets 1–12, 2– 7, 3-82, 4-90, 5-90, 6-124
Birch Major 3-0-7-2
Birch Minor 3-0-16-1
Stokes (?) 3-0-20-0
Gigg retired 27
Jordan b Roper 0
Trott b Roper 1
Carter b Hilary 4
Hyland c Paterson b Cooper 5
McBarron retired 27
Birch Minor c Roper b Sandamas 24
Stokes run out 4
Birch Major not out 6
Marchant not out 7
Extras (W13, B4, Lb2) (21 overs) 19
Fall of wickets 1 to 4 not recorded, 5-104, 6-112.
Man of the Match: Roper
Quote (Allegedly) – McBarron to fielders "on your toes guys and we'll save the 3".
NB: this report has been compiled from a combination of poetic licence, an iffy scorecard, dodgy memory and downright fiction.