“I am a legend, the rest are pretenders!”
Mark Dixon (Mark was speaking to MCC’s cricket correspondent, Skip Per)
F inally, back to the Withy, and a Saturday that didn’t remind me of mid-summer in Preston. Can you believe that the last time I took a wicket (well, 7 actually) was on July 17? I know I can’t, and I have had a few sleepless nights in the past few weeks, I can tell you, and not because of you-know-who.
Our last 3 games have yielded one win and two abandoned. In the victory, despite doing all the hard work, others nabbed the wickets, while I went home empty-handed (yes, junior members of the club, sometimes life just isn’t fair – get used to it). Then, in the two games ruined by weather, our useless tosser of a captain (clever pun that, bet no-one’s thought of it before) managed to get us stuffed in when the weather conditions were ideal for my subtle blend of swing and seam. So, in he goes and fills his boots and, adding insult to injury, even lets Ilo (please!) bat above me. Then, once we’ve had a bat – and I’ve been unluckily, and rather unfairly, caught off a couple of full tosses (Editor’s note: bringing that to 4 in a row) – the Skipper then refuses to continue the matches on the grounds of a bit of rain, mist more like, and I don’t get to bowl a single ball at all! So unfair, especially at Winsley, where I was ready to really get amongst them, and our leader refused to take the field after tea even though I had personally accompanied the opposition captain to a neighbouring ground to borrow some sawdust. Personally, I think I would have had them out in the 45 minutes or so available before their square was obscured by standing water…
So, this week, we finally managed a game at the Fortress, with Heytesbury & Sutton Veny, the league leaders, our visitors. You can guess who won the toss (as I said, he’s bloody hopeless and, between you and me, we’ll be looking for someone else to take over next season) and the opposition decided to bat. They had clearly forgotten their copy of “Great Cricket Legends of the WCCL” because this would have shown them what a potent force I am with the new cherry in my hands, steaming in from the top end at the Withy. As mentioned before, a lot of pressure on my broad shoulders to deliver the goods, especially with the Club Treasurer opening the bowling up the hill and already chuntering on about his back and how hot it was when the sun came out.
The H&SV captain fancied his chances of making a big score and launched Piercy and me for a couple of chancy boundaries (of course, AP was moaning about his because he thinks all our fielders have the hands of Paul Collingwood). Well, I wasn’t having any of that, so I quickly sent the other opener and their no. 3 back to the ‘pavilion’, before snaring the danger man with a cunningly placed long on (Karter) making the catch look easy. Before I finished my spell, I picked up another couple to seal the 5-for (yes, boys, another one) and to record, I say without false modesty, the astonishing analysis of 12-4-16-5. HS&V at this point were 57-5 (having been on 37 when I claimed my fifth scalp), and an early tea and a modest target to chase were clearly on the cards.
However, much as I admire my team-mates, and am delighted when they manage bowl at least a little like me, I must say that I was disappointed with what happened next. The opposition no. 6 was treated to some generous batting practice and he proceeded to wallop a half-century and move the visitors into the realms of respectability score-wise. Only in an act of what I can comfortably call desperation, did our Skip bring on the elder Professor, who (and knock me down with a feather) then cleaned up 4 of the last 5 wickets (8.3-1-21-4). Nevertheless, by then, H&SV had 168 on the board, which was at least 50 more than it should’ve been – or, at least, would’ve been if I could have kept bowling (note to MCC Committee – need to petition WCCL to increase over limit for us legends).
I managed to bask in my glory over a generous tea prepared by Karter, and tease a legend “pretender” (His Creedness, Lord James) about the absence of pork pies and scotch eggs. Sensibly, the Skip was not to be swayed by his pretensions – after all, proving yourself at t’Withy is a rite of passage that only few of us have been able to do – and put me in at 3, before JC at 4. However, his choice of opening partner defied all logic, in my opinion, despite the fact that we had almost 40 on the board before the Captain did the decent thing and got out so that I could go in.
Well, H&SV have some decent bowlers, but I managed to nurse Piercy along, dealing with the more difficult end, of course, and at 63-1 with just over 20 overs left, we were not badly placed, especially with our big hitters (Creed, Salen, Bishop, Wills) in the on-deck circle. Good theory, but not supported by what happened next. AP gets out, the yet-to-be-a-Withy legend is caught in the deep, Squeaky is run out (definitely not my fault, mate, I got in without any trouble) and Terry falls to a decent catch.
Down to me, then, but tragedy strikes as my calf gives out in the middle of a second run and I’m out by a mile and barely able to walk off the pitch. To be honest, the H&SV captain’s remark about my turning circle being bigger than that of the QE2 was, in the circumstances, not in the true spirit of the game. After that, aside from a little cameo from Sam Burnstone (I won’t embarrass him by talking about his bowling), the innings folded quietly. The only remarkable event was the fall of our last wicket on 104, when Prof. T was out for the first time since August 2011. At least he had the decency to buy a jug in the bar afterwards in recognition of the longest average-protecting stint of “batting” in MCC history.
MoM: well, it has to be me, I’m sure you’ll all agree!
|Type :||League: Wilts League Division 7 - 2013||Date :||Saturday 10th August 2013|
|Toss:||Heytesbury & Sutton Veny - 2nd XI won the toss and elected to bat||Start Time:||13:30|
Highlights :D. Small (H & SV) 67, and 2-16; B. Small (H & SV) 5-22 M. Dixon (Marshfield) 5-16, M. Threadgill (Marshfield) 4-21
|Marshfield CC - 3rd XI||Heytesbury & Sutton Veny - 2nd XI|
|Score||104 for 10 (43.1 overs)||168 for 10 (44.3 overs) 'b' 't'|
Heytesbury & Sutton Veny - 2nd XI
|1||A Pratt||lbw||b Mark Dixon||2||0||0||0|
|2||R. Robson*||ct Kartar Singh||b Mark Dixon||22||2||0||0|
|3||Pratt||ct Andy Wills||b Mark Dixon||5||0||0||0|
|4||Unsure||b Mark Dixon||1||0||0||0|
|5||B Small||b Mark Dixon||0||0||0||0|
|6||D Small||b Mike Threadgill||67||7||2||0|
|7||Unsure||b Mike Threadgill||34||4||0||0|
|8||Unsure||run out (Sam Burnstone)||7||1||0||0|
|9||Unsure||b Mike Threadgill||0||0||0||0|
|11||O. Smith||b Mike Threadgill||8||2||0||0|
|Extras b (3), lb (5), w (3), nb (6)||17|
* = Captain, + = Wicket Keeper
Fall of Wickets17-1 Unsure (Unsure-0*); 30-2 Unsure (Unsure-0*); 30-3 Unsure (Unsure-0*); 37-4 Unsure (Unsure-0*); 37-5 Unsure (Unsure-0*); 99-6 Unsure (Unsure-0*); 128-7 Unsure (Unsure-0*); 128-8 Unsure (Unsure-0*); 152-9 Unsure (Unsure-0*); 168-10 Unsure (Unsure-0*);
* = not out batsman
|Fielding Extras/Non-bowler wickets||8||1|
|1||Richard Guy*||ct R. Robson||b D Small||16||2||0||0|
|2||Andrew Pierce||b B Small||21||2||0||0|
|3||Mark Dixon||run out (Unsure)||20||0||0||0|
|4||Jim Creed||ct Unsure||b B Small||5||0||0||0|
|5||Mark Salen||run out (Unsure)||4||0||0||0|
|6||Terry Bishop||ct Unsure||b D Small||2||0||0||0|
|7||Andy Wills†||ct Unsure||b B Small||0||0||0||0|
|8||Sam Burnstone||not out||11||1||0||0|
|9||Kartar Singh||ct Unsure||b B Small||2||0||0||0|
|10||James Ford||b R. Robson||1||0||0||0|
|11||Mike Threadgill||ct D Small||b B Small||0||0||0||0|
|Extras b (7), lb (1), w (13), nb (1)||22|
* = Captain, + = Wicket Keeper
Fall of Wickets38-1 Unsure (Unsure-0*); 63-2 Unsure (Unsure-0*); 73-3 Unsure (Unsure-0*); 78-4 Unsure (Unsure-0*); 83-5 Unsure (Unsure-0*); 84-6 Unsure (Unsure-0*); 89-7 Unsure (Unsure-0*); 92-8 Unsure (Unsure-0*); 92-9 Unsure (Unsure-0*); 104-10 Unsure (Unsure-0*);
* = not out batsman
|Fielding Extras/Non-bowler wickets||8||2|