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Venturers Vs BaNES, Tuesday June 20th

Banes 78-8, Venturers 67-6

We were on the same pitch at Sulis that we had been on for the last four matches. There is now a deep crater, as if there had been a small meteor strike, near the stumps at the top (south) end. What with the crater, the heat and the heavy atmosphere it felt like cricket on Venus, though without the sulfuric acid clouds that frequently stop play there. The crater is so placed as to be harmless to wicket-keepers, but it is awkward for some bowlers. We were asked to “mark the run-ups with cones or discs rather than digging into the ground”, which seemed strange. The grass was rather long and the combination of a slow pitch, long boundaries and a slow outfield was always likely to yield a low-scoring match.

There were also only nine of us. Our opponents lent us a fieldsman, but the eleventh one was missed and probably cost us a few runs. More seriously, we had only five bowlers, and that only by dint of Ian G keeping wicket so that Jack could bowl. There was no back-up: Rob does not bowl these days, and Kapil, who does bowl occasionally, had been to the gym in an effort to get fitter and was consequently unfit. Random bits of him kept requiring stretches or rubs to keep moving.

Fortunately, all five bowled well. Gregory bowled a full toss early on, which went for four, but didn’t do it again and in fact that was one of only six genuinely bad balls we bowled: there was one from Jack, and two each from Ian C and Bruce. There were quite a few mediocre balls, but on this pitch that didn’t matter. Imran barely even bowled any of them, returning figures of 4-1-6-2 to go with his 4-3-2-4 from last week. Even those six runs were partly due to having to adjust when he was compulsorily switched to the bottom end, so as to allow Jack to bowl the last four from the top. We nearly forgot about this, and that would have meant using a sixth bowler, which we didn’t have.

We also caught our catches. There were only two, a straightforward one by Jack off Bruce and a slightly harder one by Kapil off Jack, after which Kapil’s right foot needed attention. Apart from standing on it, he hadn’t actually used his right foot in taking the catch. A top edge landed between Rob and the substitute, but a few yards away, and Kapil tried to reach a miscue into the deep off Bruce but didn’t get very near and needed treatment to his left shoulder. Five people were bowled, two by Imran, two by Jack and one by Gregory: and Bruce brought off a stunning if fortuitous run-out, using both feet to deflect a drive onto the stumps in his follow-through.

Not many of us could really bat, though. Kapil, who can, tried to cut a ball that was too close to him and lost his off stump, needing treatment to his right knee. Jack unwisely pulled a short straight ball. It didn’t rise and he was through the shot too soon. Charles was the most effective and for a while it seemed that he and Ian G might get us reasonably close, but there were very few bad balls to hit and there was one less gap in the field. Eventually they both picked the wrong ball to hit and got bowled. Imran nudged a few singles and was given out LBW, a very long way down the pitch, swinging to leg. It was Ian C, less effective than usual with the ball but making it up with the bat, who give the score a respectable look. He hit the only six of the match, necessitating treatment to Kapil’s eyebrows, and was well supported by Rob. By this stage, though, the run rate was high enough that boundaries were needed. Rob was caught at square leg trying to get one, and for the last four overs Ian and Gregory swung hard at the ball and mostly did not connect at all. Obviously Ian was better at this and there was a near run-out in a (successful) attempt to get him back on strike, but eventually we just ran out of overs.

Cricket bat and ball