Match Report – Apologies to Jane Austen

It is a truth universally acknowledged that two teams near the bottom of any league table will, when encountering each other, play a crunch match. This, dear reader, is the tale of one such match played out beneath cloud studded skies near the fair town of Winchester in the late summer of 2017.

Bentworth’s merry band of brothers arrived at the Easton bowl to find rich lush grass underfoot and evidence of fresh mowing still visible. The wicket was duly inspected with traditional prods and murmurings before the now ritual loss of the toss. Easton’s skipper, a renowned local publican with an air of menace, opted to bat and the white clad men of Bentworth took to the field to begin that peculiar act of sporting worship known worldwide as cricket.

Nick ‘skipper’ Gay opened proceedings and was soon rewarded with a wicket as number two bat gently played on and made rather a mess of his stumps. Evergreen Andy ‘doc’ Cole was twirling from the other end but pulled up lame early on and had to resort to spinning rather than his customary pace.

The opener and incoming number three both set about the Bentworth bowling with many a lusty blow betraying the fact that they’d rather ungentlemanly been practicing. A sharp slip chance was dropped by the author who was pleased to retain his teeth and not amend his physigog courtesy of Dr Ball. Both batters went on to make 50 and the B’s morale was just starting to drop when Dave ‘safe hands’ Mitten took an excellent catch in the deep off to remove their number one bat.

The pendulum swung dear readers and wickets started to tumble. Number four drilled one at the author and this time he held it. Doc took an excellent chance above his head making it look very easy. Ben ‘you looking at my pint’ Mackrel similarly clung on, there was an obligatory comedy run out, some excellent bowling from Harry ‘macho matelot’ Blackman including a caught and bowled saw him scoop 4 portions of fox and rabbit pie. The innings was completed by the chair and the Worthy Martys were all out for 194.

A fine tea was taken after which the solo performances begun. Up first New Ben and Tim ‘gentleman’ Blockley. Serene progress to 60 followed before the introduction of Ms Carrick. A young lady of the neighborhood sadly lacking in manners and decency. After a volley of injective which caused even the author to blush Tim reminded her of her manners and the expletives lessened even if the venom and accuracy of the bowling did not. Richard ‘never slogging’ Hill looked good for his 20 but like his peers succumbed to her charms. In all she accounted for the first four batsmen though I suspect some were just being polite.

Ali ‘stretch it out’ Jones and Dave put on a healthy partnership until, tiring of Mr Mitten’s company, Ali called him through for a second that never was. For a while all looked rather desperate until Old Ben strode in, boxless and brave as ever. A quick fire partnership with the skipper including some rather orbital sixes took the B’s towards their target but Easton once again gained the upper hand as they caught and bowled their way to victory. In the end, alas, the B’s fell 31 runs short. Their prayers had not been answered and, as the opposition skipper rearranged his stumps in celebration much to the bemusement of his fellows we took our leave happy that for us, at least, the manner of losing was far finer than that of our victors. Dear reader we shall meet again for one last show, until then adieu.


Scribe: Old Jezza.

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