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Venturers Vs Bath Spa, Wednesday June 7th

Venturers 148-5, Bath Spa 47-9

Our cricket is usually a bit more intense than this. And it’s usually about as intense as American beer, so you can imagine what this was like. We were rather more like a cricket team than we usually are, and ten and a half of us were dressed as cricketers. Kapil’s black trousers provided the exception. Our opponents, by contrast, were clad in a variety of colours and styles, one of them going so far as to field in gloves on this rather cold and damp evening. This is against the Laws, but never mind. There was a woman in green, who had no idea what she was doing but did it very enthusiastically, and a woman in black, who knew exactly what she was doing. There was a bloke in shorts, which must have been fairly uncomfortable in the conditions.

But just because you are not dressed as a cricketer it doesn’t mean you aren’t one, and a bloke in a blue shirt competently latched on to a slip catch that came his way from Matt in the second over of the match. Jamie struggled for timing and eventually chased a wide one and was caught at covfefe, or somewhere else on the off side. Sunny was relatively untroubled except when the woman in black had a bowl and beat him in the air a couple of times. He got some revenge when she dropped short once and was hit a very long way indeed. At that moment he was recognised by the opening bowler as the bucket of bricks from the Southstoke match a month ago. Apparently the umpire has retired now. Kapil nudged the ball around unobtrusively in the way that he always does: Sunny waited for the bad ball and then hit it out of sight. Eventually Kapil was run out by a direct hit and Jack took over his role. Sunny retired after a while and Jack, until he got a good ball, Adam, and Ben kept things moving, a little more sedately. Chris got to face one ball after another run-out: he gave it a massive reverse wallop, with no effect whatever.

The Bath Spa innings was opened by the bloke in shorts, who looked as if he didn’t really want to do that (it was raining by now), and the rather competent cricketer who had opened the bowling, taken Matt’s wicket and effected both run-outs. They kept Ian’s opening over out, not completely comfortably, but the bloke in shorts was immediately bowled by Gregory. Two balls later the other opener got a gentle full toss and swiped it down to long leg. Adam accelerated slowly, because he couldn’t accelerate hard in the wet, dived and caught it spectacularly.

There was really only one more dangerous batsman. Gregory fed him a different kind of full toss and he drilled it at Jamie, and that, really, was that. Ian somehow got no wickets. There were plenty more people who could defend and pick off singles but nobody who could hit the ball very far, especially not across the wet outfield. The wet wasn’t easy for the bowlers either. Ian and Imran coped better than the rest. Mostly we bowled full tosses if we got it wrong, but Ben, who was losing his footing rather than his grip on the ball, pitched short for a while. Eventually he and Adam found their range, picked up a wicket each and pretty much stopped the scoring altogether. The pressure brought us the wicket of the woman in black, who hadn’t faced a ball and was firmly run out by her partner. He later nearly ran himself out, but was saved when Gregory’s shy at the stumps just missed, and we ended not quite bowling them out.

Cricket bat and ball