Dodgers v Broken Hill Proprietary

Wednesday 29 May
Dodgers lost by 44 runs

Despite much pre-match moaning about the weather, the game was played in good conditions on the driest, flattest and fastest pitch we've seen this year. BHP won the toss and batted (several men short, initially) and in the history of the Dodgers I don't think we've seen a stranger innings.

The first ball from Crawford set the tone. The batsman stepped away and flashed through the covers and the ball went straight to John Cooper - who dropped it. The Kamikaze shots and running continued as Benn grabbed two wickets and Crawford one despite both picking up some stick along the way.

At this point the Leader of Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition (Mr McBarron) suggested that skipper Priest bring on joke bowlers (presumably himself?) to avoid the match turning into a fiasco. John Hilary's first over suggested he might be right as an astonishing three wickets fell, and when Hawton picked up another immediately afterwards BHP were reeling at about 40 for 7. The next few overs proved him hopelessly wrong, though, as two latecomers from BHP launched a fearsome attack. Early-season golden arms Pope, Leach and Cooper were particularly harshly treated, although John did pick up a late wicket, as did the returning Crawford.

128 looked a tough but gettable target, though the Dodgers batting line-up clearly relied on a few batsmen reaching the 30 for retirement. Two of the hopefuls were the new opening combo of McBarron and Hilary. Neither looked totally at ease, and Phil soon succumbed to an uncharacteristically loose shot outside off stump, having survived a confident appeal for caught behind moments earlier. Other Dodgers take careful note on this: McB thought he had probably hit it but wasn't sure so he stayed put; umpire Pope wasn't sure so he said not out. Both actions are 100% correct. Although John did hit two fours, facing an innocuous ball he seemed caught in two minds and ended up giving a tame catch to leave us at 20-2.

This brought the two Neils together, and they began reasonably well, Man-of-the-match Priest in rather better form but both running well and keeping the board ticking over. Alas BHP declined to bowl their only non-bowler so runs were never easy. Priest was forced to retire at 31 and Benn's dismissal soon afterwards for 21 sparked an England-style (and, regrettably, Yorkshire-style) collapse. Cooper struggled before missing a heave; Crawford made only four before being squared up; Hawton fell to a good catch at backward point; and Leach was horribly bamboozled by a slower one. Matthews and Pope both survived the remaining overs without ever looking like getting a run (someone should have told the Cat to block - he plays more attacking shots then!) and we finished 44 short.

BHP's strange batting order contributed to our difficulties, but several of our bowlers conceded double figures in an over. Our batting lacked depth and when Hilary and McBarron failed we were struggling. A telling statistic is that the last four batsmen took 30 deliveries amassing just two runs.