Bounders CC v Headliners CC

photo (43)Ex-Sussex and Glamorgan star Tony Cottey spoke at DinkyPoo’s annual dinner a few years ago, one story in particular, about Viv Richards, standing out.

After Glamorgan had  been bowled out for a low total by Kent, they weren’t asked to follow on and Kent went out to bat a second time to pile on the misery and extract maximum humiliation. The technical term for it would be ‘taking the piss’.

Richards, boiling with fury, returned to the dressing room after the day’s play and banged on the Kent dressing room wall shouting: “You don’t messs with cricket.”

View from long on, up the slope, at East Tilsted
View from long on, up the slope, at East Tilsted

He went out the following day – a one-dayer – and crucified the Kent attack in an innings that duly won Glamorgan the Sunday League. OK, it’s not the World Cup but it meant a lot down South Wales way at the time.

I can’t help thinking that we duly messed (Richards probably used a stronger verb) with cricket by having a lottery for the batting order the night before.

We lost by 205 runs. Which, remarkably, is not a ‘Liners record. I played in that too – 231 runs against Northwood in the Isle of Wight in 2004.

Fitzy prepares to swipe
Fitzy prepares to swipe

The dastardly Bounders play at their rented ground – ‘We used to play at the Bank of England’s facilities in London’ – at East Tilsted, near Alton, East Hampshire. Somewhere between Basingstoke and Portsmouth. None of them resembled Billy Bunter, Flashman or James Hewitt.

A beautiful bucolic setting – reminiscent of Wales in its verdant vivacity – only rolling hills rather than sharp, bare, austere valleys.

Buzzards circled in the distance and their mews carried from the distant woods. Pied wagtails and house martins darted around the pavilion and the outfield.

Chestnut horses galloped up and down a neighbouring field. Cereal fields surrounded us on three sides. Behind both wickets the ground sloped up sharply and the square was in a levelled-out dip in the middle. We were playing in a very large gutter.

The pavilion appeared to be a converted, rustic barn and was charmingly basic. It felt like a throwback to cricket’s Thirties heyday. Few mod cons.

The caddish Bounders lived up to their name and chose to bat, meaning that for the third game in three days we had to field in the hottest sun for years. Genuinely, I got a splitting headache every time I ran for the ball and was considering writing my will at teatime. Sunstroke

photo (44)

Our raffish hosts who, if they ever cross to my side of Offa’s Dyke, will be mistaken for visiting minor Royalty because they are definitely jolly posh chaps, took an early roasting from opening bowlers Ben Procter (note the ‘e’) and Orson and were 43-3 early on.

But then the familiar Headliner characteristics of dropped catches and misfields provided a run bonanza. I found myself pining for the sharp pick-ups and artillery-calibre arms of the DinkyPooTwos crew.

This particularly benefited one batsmen – Archie. Told you they were posh. He smacked it here, there and everywhere, usually into a cereal field. No rabbits were killed  in the making of his 131 not out but it must have been a pretty close-run thing.

He nearly killed his  partner in mayhem in though, cracking a drive at him. It hit his bat and rebounded into his chin. We thought he might have bust his chin so an ambulance was called. It didn’t turn up. If it had I would have pushed him out of the way and demanded to be fixed up to a saline drip.

Spirited away somewhere in a car, he gamely returned just after tea, to a round of affectionate applause and to see his team-mates had rattled up 273 in 35 overs. Which we took more than two and half hours to bowl. A 1970s West Indian bowling rate achieved with at least two slowies and a moon bowler. I blame Archie.

And whoever said: “I thought we fielded quite well,” as we walked off – well I beg to differ.

Chasing 273 meant the lottery was cast aside and the batting order was rejigged in a bid to emulate Friday’s highly impressive effort in chasing down 221.

But that guy Archie had it in for us – as did all the Bounders bowlers and we were all out for 68.

The less side about that effort the better. Why extend the agony by even acknowledging its existence? It has been deleted from the memory.

But at least we had Justin Parkinson in our number. The genuine highlight of the day apart from a Bounder rebounding back from a facial injury, was that our newest author (I think that might be three in the side) was able to restore spirits in the pub garde by, er, catching the Pimm’s fruit pieces tossed up high – oh so high –  in his mouth.

He’s a walking, talking sealion with legs is Parky. A sealion that writes books.

A career on Britain’s Got Talent awaits.

He impersonates sea lions, he writes books, he bowls leg spin. Beeb bod Justin Parkinson is a fucking legend
He impersonates sea lions, he writes books, he bowls leg spin. Beeb bod Justin Parkinson is a fucking legend
The Pimperne mower in action
The Pimperne mower in action
Every team has a Statto in it. He's on the left. Ben Procter on the right, at Langley Manor CC on the first day
Every team has a Statto in it. He’s on the left. Ben Procter on the right, at Langley Manor CC on the first day

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