Some curse adversity and shrink from its challenge, others, with stout hearts, laugh at it, and take it as an opportunity to show of what they are made. This game against our old friends The Rioteers presented The Racqueteers with the opportunity to show its metal – and they didn’t disappoint.
First, it was hot – boy was it hot! Second, at the start of the game we were two shy of a full complement for the first hour and a half. Third, despite hoping against hope the god’s would be with our skipper as he tossed up, so we wouldn’t have to field in the energy sapping conditions, we lost the toss! Finally, we were faced with a top five batsmen as good as we see all seasons. Bring it on!
With each man seeming to have acres to cover in the field – Rishi (8-2-32) and Tommy T (7-1-23), supported by keen and enthusiastic fielding, opened up from the Cathedral and the Rugby Club end respectively – disciplined lines mixed with controlled aggression soon brought rewards – their top 3 falling for 58. So far so very good! However, their (ever amiable) skipper and keeper then came together and really put us under pressure with some clean hitting in a fast-scoring partnership of 130 – despite good spells from Skip, Yox, Charlie T and Head of Salmon. True to The Racqueteers spirit neither did our enthusiasm fade nor our good humour waiver even under this intense bombardment and we came back strongly with Will Taylor picking up both batsmen in a fine inaugural spell (4-19-2). They finished on 216 for 5.
Fortified by a lovely Claire Talks Tea (CTT), Jules and Sepia strode to the middle to start the reply – father and son started cautiously against a mixture of high-quality quick bowling from one end (the ball swinging both ways) and a little bit of a lucky dip from the other. After a confident punch to mid-wicket to get off the mark Jules had his off-stick ripped out the ground by one that shaped back sharply. Skip (61) joined Sepia (16) with consolidation and crease occupation on their minds – the latter falling again to the curse of the fish’s finger. One notable moment in this stand was an acrobatic piece of fielding by Head of Salmon to stop a certain four, forgetting he was in fact the square leg umpire. Skip and G (20 not out) then batted long with their eye on the prize of a precious but unlikely draw. G (the wall) was well and truly in his element batting with great patience and determination. The draw secured, the final overs saw a flurry of runs from Tommy T and his school chum Zac who had turned up to watch half-way through the innings and became the most recent recruit to our ranks. We finished on 128 for 5.
An impressively resilient performance and creditable draw – in a game we could, perhaps should, have lost given the circumstances. Well done lads!