Top (them) v second (us). Promised to be a clash of the titans, an early tester to see if they might be good enough to topple the champs.
But it wasn’t.
Gymkhana turned up with ten, missing three of their top players and fielding three or four teenagers.
Last year we played them on Llandaff Fields on a council track. The outfield had been cut but the grass was not collected so fielding was something of a joke.
This year, Gymkhana have swapped the fields for the University playing fields in Llanrumney and it made for a much better cricketing prospect and it was a slight surprise to see them top of the table as last year they hadn’t posed much of the challenge to the top sides.
My only other game here was back in 1988 when I made my one and only appearance for Sully in the days long before they became a popular, ahem, Premier League/Super League whatever hyperbolic name it’s got, club. Roped in by Dave Sylvester’s silver tongue. Welsh Cup v the University. Got a quack as Sully were stuffed.
Fordy lost the toss with my 10p piece and blamed me. But our hosts chose to swing the shillelagh (copyright Test Match Special, Radio 5) first, and were all out for 71 in about 29 overs. Coughtrey 4-5, Mardell 2-23. Another fantastic run out courtesy of teen terror Connor Heatherton.
So, my 10p won the match.
Painful stuff from our hosts as they had no one who could hang around for more than 15 overs and boundaries were hard to come by.
In return we knocked the runs off without losing any wickets and their opening bowlers caused us problems without any luck.
I could barely get the bat on their left-armer, who gamely charged in, gold teeth glinting and ready for the fray. Missed his first ball and he ran down the wicket to about three yards away to give me the eye. A career first. Seemed a bit out of place but after watching his team’s batting display he had cause to be a bit angry.
Turns out he’s from Brooklyn, New York, went to school in Barbados, where he learned the game, and had moved to Cardiff 12 years ago. He has six kids and still has plenty of energy to play cricket. Respect.
We made 31 before stopping for tea after ten overs and knocked the rest off in another eight, the last few runs coming from an over bowled by one of South Wales’s cricketing legends, the absolute gentleman Deadly Derek. Now 73, he has left Creigiau CC and wheels his wares for the Gymkhana.
I felt a bit guilty hoicking a few off him but it was time to end the game. All over by about 5.20pm. And now we are definitely top of the league. Five wins from five.