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Venturers vs Hay Hill, Sunday August 31st

Hay Hill 99-9 Venturers 100-3

On occasion, at this level, it is absolutely necessary to argue with an umpire. Because we do it ourselves rather than having trained umpires, we sometimes meet with people who do not know the rules and, for example, give the striker out because his straight drive has hit the stumps at the bowler's end. It would be quixotic to leave without protest, intoning "the umpire's decision is final", if that happened.

On the other hand, our teammates and opponents are no good at umpiring, just as they are no good at cricket, and sometimes - rather often - they will wrongly give us out or not out because they didn't think it had pitched outside leg. We can't expect them to be Aleem Dar or Simon Taufel, any more than we can expect them to bat like Monty Panesar or bowl like Ian Bell (let alone the other way round). When you are given out LBW to a slow long hop that would have missed leg by a foot, the bad decision is the price you pay for having had the long hop bowled to you in the first place.

Is that clear?

Good.

A few overs into Hay Hill's innings, after Matt had removed one opener and Simon T had bowled far too well to get any wickets, and we had dropped a catch or two, the more vocal of Hay Hill's two competent Zimbabweans was hit on the pad by Matt. The loud appeal was turned down, after due consideration. We felt we were unlucky, but see above. The next ball went through to Roger, apparently via something, and we appealed again; successfully, this time. The batsman thereupon threw a full-scale John McEnroe tantrum, insisting that he hadn't hit it. Matt, for what it is worth, thought he had: Roger thought he hadn't. But this batsman had already argued with an umpire, on his partner's behalf then, in the previous match, and we had given in although we hadn't been in the least convinced he was even right. We weren't letting him get away with it twice, and certainly not if he lost his temper. We said so; and after a few more moments he realised the position he was in, and left quietly. Two things struck us as odd
afterwards: his dismissal appeared in the scorebook as LBW, and his McEnroe impression did not use any language that could remotely be thought indelicate.

That was one of the two possibly destructive batsmen out of the way, but we still had to deal with the other, who had taken fifty off us fairly effortlessly (though saved by his partner's protests) in the previous match. But Matt was seriously cross now. The next two balls were blocked but the third moved fractionally away, clipped the outside edge and travelled shin-high to the right of first (and only) slip, who caught it straightforwardly. Proper cricket, and as such almost unknown to us.

After that Hay Hill were never going to make any sort of score. The slow pitch and slower outfield made hitting boundaries difficult - they managed two altogether - and Matt soon collected a fourth wicket. Simon T still had no luck at all, but Chris, Gregory (now with more catches than runs for the season) Adam and Simon S prevented any serious revival. Only a last-wicket stand of thirty, aided perhaps by Emmad's unpredictable bowling, left us a hundred to get.

Against accurate and patient bowling that could have been a bit hard to get. But the McEnroe avatar was still furious, and took it out with the ball on Emmad and Fluffy. As Emmad had bowled some high - very high - full tosses he might conceivably have been a natural target; but Fluffy had done nothing more offensive than take a catch, and both were treated to a series of short balls. Neither the pitch nor the bowler had enough pace for that, though. Fluffy moved calmly out of the way; Emmad, entirely unintimidated, hooked. With few runs to play with Hay Hill could not afford that for long, and the bowler was taken off after two expensive overs. Shortly afterwards, Emmad was run out in a mix-up for which both batsmen were responsible, and not long after that Fluffy got bowled. Kevin soon settled, though, and Ahmad began to find the gaps, as he usually does. Perhaps he was a bit lucky, though. The attacking leave, where the batsman tries to take the bat away but fails and gets runs over gully's head, was quite a productive shot for him, and there was also an inside edge past the stumps. But it was Kevin who got out, after another mix-up. The bowler needed two swipes with the ball to get a bail off but he was still a long way out. It didn't really matter: Ahmad and Roger finished the match off, not especially stylishly perhaps, but not too much troubled by the uneven bounce.

Fixtures & Results 2008

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