Top v second? It should’ve been a cracker. A humdinger with howitzer batting, knuckle-cracking bowling, helmet-shattering bouncers and people fielding like bastards, like the entire game would come down to one snatched single to gully in the 44th over.
Instead it was another walkover and this time we were steamrollered. And we are no longer top.
But every cloud has a silver lining. Or, in this case, a silver-haired lining.
Enter the MODfather. Mike O’Donovan. MOD. Not just a government department.
Sixty-plus and shanghaied into the second team for his first game at this level for maybe two years, after languishing in the thirds for a bit, making 30-odd as my brother piled up a ton in an undefeated stand of 209 in May to beat some fairly crappy division eight outfit.
The retired school head smartly wielded the whip and showed who was top dog, his greyhound-thin frame a lesson to all those who expand as they get older. Like he was still as young as his numberplate. Never seen him this chipper in the four years I’ve known him.
Skipper Fordy won the toss and rightly, despite the team’s subsequent performance, chose to bat on the best track of the season.
Trouble was, we were facing the best bowling attack of the season and batting like a team of Phil Tufnells. A couple of us may have excuses of good deliveries, sharp gusts of wind, dust in the eye etc etc but they largely don’t wash.
Apart from the MODfather of course.
When he was out as we reached 100 or so for three, the game was all over. It may even be the turning point of the season.
He’d carried the innings solidly, defending well against a decent attack and nippily running implausible singles (implausible for a retired guy, that is) but he made one mistake.
He stretched out beyond the tramline and tried a swipe which was snicked to the keeper. I was calling it wide the microsecond touched it. But of course, he was out.
And we lost eight wickets for about 30 runs to be all out 127. On a track where 220 should have been the minimum. Ych a fi.
Our bowlers had nothing like the Pontymister discipline and the hosts had 40 on the board in no time. Upinder Singh, back from northern India, grabbed a wicket but that was about as good as it got and we lost by eight wickets not long after 5pm.
Plenty of time to get back home to see the firsts get similarly walloped by the Mistermen maestros. Which didn’t make us feel any better – it just emphasised the gulf between the two clubs.
Pontymister, our perennial bogey side, had done us again and look like the favourites for the second team title. The return, the last game of the season at our house, could conceivably decide the title, though if we continue to bat like this, the under-13s will be picked in our stead.
But I fancy the MODfather will be ready to lead the charge, relishing the chance to wreak revenge.