Any cricketer who’s been there will tell you: there’s never a dull moment at Sully Centurions. This time it was custard doughnuts, buttock tattoos and a probable DinkyPooTwos record or two.
The former Kings of Wales have fallen on hard times and now they’re even getting beat by us, the people they can’t see because we live over the hill, conveniently out of sight. Probably the last side they want to lose to – even more than Penarth, cos at least they’ve been very good since the beginning of time.
I once even played for Sully – smooth-talking Dave Sylvester persuading me to turn out for them in the Welsh Cup in 1988 when they lost to Cardiff University. No centurion here, I was out for nowt, of course.
Sixteen years on they won they bloody thing and I like to think I played my part in their inexorable rise to the heady heights of Welsh cricket. Where’s my medal, Dave?
At Liverpool, footballers in the tunnel waiting to emerge on to the pitch are faced with the ‘This is Anfield’ as they walk out to play, a psychological ploy to intimidate them.
At Sully, home of many a psychological ploy, many might say, this is over the home dressing room’s door and cannot be missed if you are in the visitors’ dressing room:
To enliven the day, skipper Fordy fought a duel with Dave Sylvester over who would bat first. Well, no, fun though that would have been to watch – probably better than the game – he actually he won the toss and we batted.
Sully might be doing badly compared to their Super League days when ex and current professionals turned out in numbers to smack the ball into the Bristol Channel, but their track is still a work of art.
Paradise for batsmen brought up on the thin gruel of soggy Welsh wickets grazed upon by sheep and trodden down by rugby boys. We made 56 in eight overs before a horrible hoick across the line accounted for my bails. But the hosts’ nine men were already looking tired. One retrieved four took such an age to be recovered we wondered if it had floated off to Flat Holm.
We piled on the pain while club sponsor Curtis took a deserved rest . . .
Jack Preston (56), marvellous Miles Wilton (37), and our crack Welsh international (at basketball) Connor Hetherton held it together with 54. Even last man Ollie Coughtrey cracked a six in a quickfire 20 as we piled up 314 all out. Can’t believe the PooTwos have ever made more.
It just shaded the 2013 evisceration of Llantwit Fardre, who were blasted for 310 and looked like they never wanted to play cricket ever again. Not even if you offered them money.
Several custard doughnuts later, we emerged for the home innings as the bitter chill off the Severn starting biting bits you don’t want it to bite here at Minsk-on-Sea.
A-level whizkid Sam Barlow pouched a rocket at point to be rid of stout opener Burnett and the rest was a slithering plunge as a succession of bowlers turned the screw.
All eight wickets scintillatingly scooped up for 109 in about 30 overs, mean Marlow notching 2-7 and louche leggy James Hiscocks tormenting the hosts with 2-10 in seven overs.
The wind, as it can do here, was starting to chill the sould so the early finish was welcome. And finally we’ve turned the tables on the neighbours. Last time I played here they mashed us up for 289. Victory was achieved by 205 runs – surely a record for the twos.
Rydw i’n byw yn batty crease
Shock of the day came in the showers when one of our number revealed a new addition to his right buttock – the above wording, courtesy of a tattoo artist. The first Welsh language cricket tattoo I’ve ever encountered, it has to be said.
I took its owner at his word for the inscription – I wasn’t going to bend down to inspect it closely. It means, once you’ve translated the Welsh bit, as ‘I live in batty crease’.
Words almost fail me. Is there a better Welsh tat out there in the cricket world?