BCC 124 all out; Silchester 128 – 0
It would be fair to say that over recent seasons, Bentworth Cricket Club and winning cricket matches have been distant cousins, only rarely on speaking terms. So a trip to top of the table and as yet unbeaten Silchester was akin to an invite to a family wedding where you were asked to share the top table with your handsome, successful, witty and predominantly irritating relative.
To make things worse, the in-form patriarch of your side of the family was missing the wedding, preferring to wear his top hat and tails, whilst throwing good money after bad in the company of the Queen.
So, with a pitch that looked like a belter, an article on the clubhouse wall describing a previous 400 run victory, and an opposition leg spinner turning it square in the warm up, the old sages of Bentworth concluded that winning the toss and batting was the order of the day – and the captain duly obliged.
Trevor was first down the aisle, with his partner, the good Doctor Cole. It looked like it would not be long before all those years of medicine would be needed as Trevor was roughed up with some hostile opening bowling that had him hopping around, as if practicing his dance moves for the reception later. He also had the watching crowd scrambling for the rule book as he literally threw his bat in defence of one rising delivery, from which he took a crafty single.
Not looking entirely comfortable, Trevor succumbed after trying to take the attack to the bowlers and lobbing one to point. His demise brought debutant Dom to the wicket, donning borrowed whites for his first game since school. Naturally he was asked to bat at 3 to test his mettle, which he duly proved; but rather like a drunk who keeps dancing when the music has stopped, had the habit of wandering from his crease after each delivery. Everyone was aware except Dom himself, and the inevitable stumping followed whilst in his mind he was only completing the final moves of his trademark rumba.
After showing promise in mid-week nets, Ali was promoted to 4 and his straight bat duly repaid the skippers confidence. He stuck around for a considerable time while wickets fell around him, and even remained unruffled when Dave was adjudged LBW to one that came out of the middle of the bat.
Ultimately, Trevor, Andy, Ali, Nick, Dave Xander, Ken and Ben all made it into double figures, but none made it into the twenties, and on what we had been led to believe was a 300 wicket, Bentworth had piled on 124.
But still, we had the reception to look forward to, and Silchester did not disappoint, setting a standard that Pippa Middleton would have been proud of, only with fewer pert buttocks and chinless wonders. What the tea lacked in Egg Sandwiches, was more than made up for in Rocky Road, Eton Mess, and Cheesecake and were it not for Bentworth’s dedication we could have spent the rest of the afternoon enjoying Ms Middleton’s magnificent spread.
Regrettably tea had to end, and we had to take to the dance floor again. With Nick becoming the 8th wicketkeeper in 7 matches, Ken and Ben were charged with the initial overs, but the Silchester openers set about them like they were in a hurry to get to the honeymoon suite. Xander and Harry provided some variation, but nothing that we tried could cool the batsmen’s ardour and they progressed serenely to their target.
As the innings neared its conclusion, dark clouds built up overhead and explained the batsmen’s eagerness to finish the game. Having completed their task, and hands having been shaken, within minutes the heavens opened, and Bentworth were left wondering what might have been had we all had some extra cheesecake.
So a family rapprochement will have to wait another week. On the positive side, there were no dropped catches, and although he was of course missed, mad Uncle Colin was at least not there to take his clothes off in front of the bridesmaids.