A View From The Boundary
Apperley well beaten in Village Cup
It will only take an hour I promised Mr H when I picked him at 12.30, however I got the feeling he wasn’t so sure. When we left the motorway at Gloucester 40 minutes later everything was going to plan, and Mr H took a call from skipper James Williams, who had forgotten to ask Mr H to umpire. Generously Mr H resisted the temptation to tell him he was relaxing in the garden, and said we would be there in 20 minutes. However 10 minutes later my refusal to enter the Satnav age was costing us dear, as we found ourselves heading in completely the wrong direction on the Gloucester Ring Road. A couple of nifty “uey’s” soon got us heading in the right direction (hopefully there were no cameras), and apart from one cry of fear from Mr H when I only managed to stop a mere 50 yards behind the car in front, we arrived in Apperley just 10 minutes behind schedule, and drove straight into the car park when Mr H spotted Bill’s Roller. It seems that having a Rolls Royce is not that unusual in Apperley, as we found ourselves in somebody’s drive, and the Roller in question definitely did not belong to Bill. Another “uey”, and some directions from an Apperley resident, and we finally arrived at the ground with 15 minutes to spare.
By this time Apperely had already won the toss, and had decided to bat on a very good looking track and a very fast outfield. Mr H took up his place behind the timbers, and I picked up the scorers pen for a quiet afternoon on the boundary. A very youthful looking Marshfield team entered the field, with the average age boosted somewhat by the inclusion of senior pros Bill Johnson, Jim Creed and Russell Lodge. The new ball was taken by Russell and Jeremy Bond, and after a few early boundaries the wickets started to fall, with Lodgy taking the first couple, one a very sharp low chance taken by the James at short extra. James then turned to spin with Tom Bright, Cameron Walker and Will Pascal all bowling tightly and each picking up a wicket, the Apperley danger man being removing removed after neat catch by Chopper at mid-on. A run out then followed with the Apperley James Williams being run out by his namesake, and James and Jerm bowled the death overs superbly, aided by 9 boundary fielders (no fielding circle, so a tactic your reporter heartily approves of), and the Apperley innings closed on a below par 183-6.
Just how much below par this was became apparent when Marshfield started their reply, with James and Bill opening the innings, and the ball disappearing to the boundary with great regularity. Responding to this the Apperley captain started to rotate his bowlers at almost the same rate, which started to cause a few problems in the score box. My fellow scorer’s patience at having to deal with a rank amateur, constantly asking the name of the latest poor unfortunate bowler to put to the sword soon tired, and obtaining said information was proving somewhat difficult. Back on the pitch James passed his 50 after only 27 balls, and the confidence amongst the rest of the team, and those in the crowd of a Marshfield persuasion, soared along with the total. There was a brief setback when James was caught on the boundary for 65, but Dave Jenkins carried on where James left off, and with Bill keeping the scoreboard ticking over at the other end the score soon passed the 100 with only 16 overs bowled. In the score box things had taken a turn for the worse. A lengthy debate had broken out about the number of wides Mr H had called in the 19th over, for which I entirely blame Mr H. By the end of the next over this had still not been resolved, and my hopes of persuading my fellow scorer that despite my lack of qualifications, I was indeed a capable score had suffered irreparable damage. Fortunately with the runs were still coming thick and fast on the pitch, my embarrassment was not to last much longer. Dave went for a quick fire 41, to be replaced by Will, who quickly got into the action with a couple of 4’s, and the game finished with a cover drive caressed to the boundary by Bill, to both win the match and bring up his 50.
The Marshfield team and supporters then decamped to the Red Lion at Norton, a spectacular riverside pub with prices to match, to celebrate the victory and dream of a trip to Lords. Bill then arrived after a slight delay, and proceeded to tell Jim all about some special tablets he had found that would cure lateness. Despite, or perhaps because of Bill’s warning about possible side effects, Jim took one, and the rest of us waited to see what would happen. This was of particular concern to Messer’s Bond and Cox (at least I am sure it would have been a concern to Mr Cox if he hadn’t just been starting his 10th pint of cider!) as Jim was sat between Jane and Sarah. Mr H got out his wallet and gave Jerm £40 to buy a round, and Jerm proved to all the doubters that there is nothing wrong with the modern education system, by giving him 10p change and telling him the round was £39.90! As darkness fell, and with everybody in good spirits, particularly it should be noted Jane and Sarah, we departed for home. With Mr H spending most of the return journey telling me what a great umpire he was, and phoning his good lady to tell her the reason we were going to be a little late was all my fault as I had dragged to him to the pub, we were soon back in Marshfield.
MOM: Cameron Walker for an excellent spell of controlled spin bowling, and also managing to revise for his Physics exam the next day. Also a special mention for Callum Burnstone, who despite his father’s pre-match forebodings, put in a very competent display behind the stumps.
Champagne Moment: James asking Jim to run from fine leg to fine leg between the overs, without giving him any warning!