Twenty-odd years ago the village moved its league fixtures from the lop-sided, horse track-bedevilled, windswept Common where you can watch village life walk past and chuckle heartily at all the bonehead drivers quips of ‘No ball’ as they drive past, to Bryn y Don.
The Common’s stodgy wicket where a league score of 160 in the 70s and 80s would provoke whistles of wonder was replaced by a batsman’s paradise where number sevens will often wonder if they are going to get a bat.
I doubt there’s a council track (well done Mr Vale Council groundsman) in the world as enjoyable and profitable to bat on.
Bryn y Don – flat, presumably on a solid clay base, only just above sea level, which has proved a nightmare for postponements the past two seasons – is on the edge of the village.
Sometimes herons, sparrowhawks, owls and buzzards can be spotted flying overhead, no doubt because they have heard of Ruth Clogg’s sumptuous teas.
And proof of its shangri-la status came this weekend when the second team recorded possibly its highest ever score 310-3 in 45 overs. Back in the late 80s we once managed 220 and talked about it for years after. Now, that’s regarded as a par score.
Boy did we fill our boots. Well me and teenage tyro Jack Preston didn’t – we got out when well set but Fordy – a top tosser is Fordy, he won the spin again and put us in – and club chairman Jason Harries piled in with gusto.
Fordy played second fiddle, plonking his left foot down the track in a sort of homage to Gordon Greenidge to play a forward defensive or nudge a single. He made 83. Chairman Jason Harries had no truck with defence and swatted 24 fours and two sixes in 139 not out – the first century of his career. They put on 233 for the third wicket and I think they may even have run a two.
And in the dozen or so games I’ve played for the Twos in the last five years, that 139 was the most commanding knock of all even when you account for the average bowling and the fact he was dropped a few times. Cavaliers deserve all their good fortune.
Then, anybody who wanted a bowl got one. Our visitors knew the game was up and decided to defend stoutly, eke out time and accumulate batting points. They reached 155 in about 40 overs.
A dull counterpoint to our innings but it meant Latin scholar Reuben Mitchell and Rhys Bradley got good spells in as the perfect warm-up for a tougher nut to crack to come next Saturday when Whitchurch Heath will be visiting. Three wins out of three and we’re breathing down the next of Cardiff Gymkhana.