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Venturers Vs Western Flyers, Wednesday August 16th

Western Flyers 129-6, Venturers 132-3

We had thirteen volunteers for the last match of the season. Sajid and Rob stood down and Ejaz didn’t turn up. Charlie did turn up, as a spectator, and played in his ordinary clothes, but only fielded.

In view of the late summer dusk we started before six and practised for watching the next day’s Test by playing with a pink ball bought over the internet by Yameen, Western Flyers’ organiser. The definitive description of the pink ball was given a year ago by Mohammed Shami, who said ”It is very bright and glows like radium”. Of course he hadn’t seen Kapil’s shoes, or he might have been less impressed. It was certainly easily visible, which gave Gregory no excuse at all for dropping the very easy catch that came his way in Imran’s first over. Imran was finding it difficult to keep his footing after a sharp shower and bowled a bit gingerly throughout. Jamie, with better spikes, was less inhibited, but fell over in the deep field later on. For once, then, Imran was the less economical.

It wasn’t until the tenth over that we got a wicket. Gregory had been introduced so as to leave Imran an over at the end, and after several failures finally bowled the full length the pitch required. The batsman toppled and was well stumped by Simon. Two balls later it happened again, but this time Simon reverted to the polar bear approach. Shortly afterwards the opener skewed a ball high into the off side. Matt called for it (Gregory was perhaps closer) and dropped it. Next over, Jack induced a top edge, caught by Matt, but off a no-ball for height. Matt ran to the non-striker’s end and removed the bails. The non-striker was two-thirds of the way down the pitch, and returned to his ground claiming irrelevantly not to have heard the call. Simon decided that this was all too unfriendly and declined to appeal. Next over the same batsman survived again when Gregory’s shy at the stumps missed narrowly. Jack, annoyed, bowled the opener with the next ball.

The beneficiary of Simon’s sportsmanship spooned Sunny to short mid-off. Kapil caught it and was immediately wiped out by Simon, but held on anyway. Sunny hit the stumps next ball but we made no further progress until the very end. Faisal, preferred to Bruce, proved still to have the yips. In the last over, Kapil at mid-off and Jamie at mid-on took good catches and kept the score reasonable, as well as improving Sunny’s figures.

Matt and Sunny set off at a brisk trot in pursuit of the 130 we needed. It seemed like a lot, but one of the opening bowlers, was the man earlier saved by Simon’s non-appeal. It was his last match for the club and he was given the ball, but lost his line as Faisal had and was expensive. A fastish left-armer at the other end did much better, but got no wickets perhaps because of over- defensive fields. It isn’t that easy to stop Sunny scoring. Eventually Matt was run out answering Sunny’s over-eager call for a run off a wide, and then Jack was left completely stranded by a similar call for an overthrow. Jamie sent Sunny back when necessary, Sunny responded in the same way when Jamie in turn became over-eager, and by judicious hitting they brought us to the verge of victory. Then Sunny drove to cover and Kapil, who had been taking his pads off in open contempt of his captain’s orders, had to put them back on again. He doesn’t panic. He waited four balls until something fairly hittable came along, and hit it.

Cricket bat and ball