cricket shock - wCCL launch inquiry into two marshfield players!
Cricket was definitely the loser on Saturday when incidents involving two senior MCC players, namely the cricket manager and the 3rd XI skipper, cast a pall of shame over the club. The WCCL has launched full inquiries into these shocking events and one can anticipate suspensions of Suarez-esque proportions to be handed down in the not-too-distant future. Indeed, both players involved have already been stepped down by the club for next Saturday’s league fixtures and, apparently, the Chairman is simply too upset to speak about what happened at Withy last weekend.
The day began innocently enough with MCC winning the toss and inviting the opposition to have a bat. Dicko and Hodders, giving no sign of what was to come, opened the bowling tidily and the latter eventually removed the apparent danger man with only 30 or so on the board after a dozen overs. Having earned another go at the new batsman, the cricket manager then served up a juicy half-volley that was thumped to Dicko’s left at high speed, triggering what can only be called a crude and cynical dive. No matter that he somehow managed to stop the boundary, the pure effrontery of this action was enough to draw an audible gasp from around the Withymead and for young parents to shield their children’s eyes from this despicable act. Cries of “shame on you” resonated around the ground, as did the seismograph at the US Geological Survey science center (sic) in Menlo Park, California (see below).
Conscious presumably of this amazing transgression, Dicko signalled a double change, and Ilo and Fordy took over bowling duties. Chances always seemed likely but the ball kept falling frustratingly out of reach of the field until Robbo got one to jag back sharply and the Burbage captain walked before he could be given out LBW. Shortly thereafter, it was (in the immortal words of Yogi Berra) déjà vu all over again. This time, the ball went to Dicko’s right hand and, like Arjen Robben within a metre of a Costa Rican leg, he went to ground for the second time with theatricality worthy of Larry Olivier. Amazingly, the ball was stopped as before and the reaction this time was a stunned silence, with much shaking of heads and eyes turned away from our Leader who seemed, most inappropriately, rather pleased with himself. To add insult to injury, shortly thereafter, the Burbage number 3 lobbed an Ilo delivery to the MCC captain who (you’ve guessed it) comfortably took the catch. Further gasps of disbelief and a dawning recognition that the diving offences might have been fuelled by the illicit use of foreign chemical substances. Readers will not be surprised to learn that the WCCL has sent a sample of Dicko’s urine for forensic analysis (results not available at the time of writing).
The opposition number 4 showed a commendable ability to concentrate on his batting while the above-described scandal broke out all around and, riding his luck, he began to accumulate runs faster than we would have preferred. Although Ilo grabbed a third wicket and Dicko another, having brought himself brazenly back into the attack, a serious 6th wicket partnership advanced the score painfully (for us) from 128 to 201 before we collected our third and final bowling point, with Redrum taking a smart catch to reward Fordy with a scalp.
To take our minds off a disturbing afternoon thus far, Greeny and partner produced a memorable, generous and delicious tea. When Threaders learned that surely-the-soon-to-be Mrs Green made her marzipan from scratch, a look of worshipful adoration broke over his face and he was helped to a chair where he sat for many minutes with a beatific expression of one who has met a true soul-mate.
Back to the action, and the 205 required looked even bigger when the first Marshfield wicket went down with only 7 on the board. However, Willsy at 3 was in his best free-swinging form and the total had climbed to 63 before he succumbed, for 34 at a run-a-ball, to a slow straight one from the Burbage first change. Less than 10 runs later, two more wickets had gone down, one a comic dismissal of your correspondent to a ranker-than-rank long hop via inside edge and back of the ankle onto the leg stump (cue bad words of Anglo-Saxon origin), leaving us struggling behind the rate.
Charlie Chivers, Fordy and Greeny set about playing catch-up and kept us in touch, but no-one seemed able to get past 20 or so before losing their wicket. The 150 came up with Dicko and Hodders at the crease and a decision was apparently made to “go for it” in the final few overs – death or glory. Dicko chose the former, while the cricket manager raised hopes with a sweetly struck maximum over bovine corner.
What happened next will undoubtedly figure on the Hall-of-Shame round of a ‘Question of Sport’ in the future. Hodds is facing a not very threatening slow medium pacer from the bottom end; ‘keeper is standing up. Cricket manager takes a huge wahoo at the ball and misses. Ball misses wicket, Hodds does not leave his crease, and keeper does not attempt a stumping. Incomprehensibly, however, Mr H. continues his swing, rotating through a full 360 degrees, and ends up burying his bat into the stumps at high velocity and is palpably out “hit wicket”.
Superficially, quite amusing, of course, but that’s not the view of the WCCL which was already smelling the distinct aroma of rattus norvegicus following the 3rd XI captain’s antics earlier in the day. Dismissal by ‘hit wicket’ is pretty unusual, we’d all agree, but when it occurs to a specific delivery in a particular over and that a certain Mrs Hodder had been caught on CCTV earlier in the day wagering the entire contents of the mattress at eye-watering odds on exactly such an eventuality, then one must put 2-and-2 together. So, a second investigation has been launched and it’s difficult to see how even FIFA could get out of this one… we shall see.
Oh, and the result? Well, Roper Snr. and Threaders got us past 175 and denied Burbage a 5th bowling point. However, we finished on 181-9, short of the opposition’s score by 23. A respectable result against a strong side. Best batting from MCC came from Willsy; Ilo took 3-51 with the ball and on most other days would have had more wickets for fewer runs. Next Saturday, home to Box with our opening bowlers in the proverbial sin bin. Guess who’s won the poisoned chalice?
- Result: Burbage & Easton Royal CC, Wilts - 3rd XI - Won by 23 runs
- Toss: Marshfield CC - 3rd XI won the toss and elected to bowl
- Ground: Withymead
Burbage & Easton Royal CC, Wilts - 3rd XI
|1||Chris Armitstead*+||lbw||b Rob Iles||25||0||0||0|
|2||Alan Wheeler||b Gary Hodder||21||0||0||0|
|3||Russ Buck||ct Mark Dixon||b Rob Iles||29||0||0||0|
|4||Sam Wheeler||ct Robert Redman||b James Ford||69||0||0||0|
|5||Don Lohrentz||b Mark Dixon||5||0||0||0|
|6||Nick Cranston||b Rob Iles||9||0||0||0|
|7||James Wheeler||Not Out||20||0||0||0|
|8||L Le'touch||Not Out||0||0||0||0|
|9||Jack Smith||Did Not Bat||-||-||-||-|
|10||J Street||Did Not Bat||-||-||-||-|
|11||Craig Simmons||Did Not Bat||-||-||-||-|
|Byes (16), Leg Byes (4), Wides (6)||
Fall of Wickets
|34-1 Alan Wheeler (61451-13*); 66-2 Chris Armitstead (11557369-13*); 88-3 Russ Buck (11637065-5*); 101-4 Don Lohrentz (Unsure-13*); 128-5 Nick Cranston (Unsure-20*); 201-6 Sam Wheeler (Unsure-17*);|
|* = notout batsman|
Marshfield CC - 3rd XI
|1||Richard Guy||b Craig Simmons||26||2||0||82|
|2||Rob Iles||ct Chris Armitstead||b Nick Cranston||3||0||0||9|
|3||Andy Wills||b Jack Smith||34||7||0||33|
|4||Charlie Chivers||ct J Street||b Jack Smith||20||2||0||39|
|5||Robert Redman||b Craig Simmons||0||0||0||2|
|6||Matthew Green||b Jack Smith||17||2||0||18|
|7||James Ford||b J Street||22||4||0||20|
|8||Mark Dixon*||ct Russ Buck||b J Street||13||2||0||9|
|9||Gary Hodder||hw||b J Street||23||2||1||17|
|10||Martin Roper+||Not Out||5||0||0||10|
|11||Mike Threadgill||Not Out||2||0||0||4|
|Byes (7), Leg Byes (3), Wides (1), No Balls (5)||
Fall of Wickets
|7-1 Rob Iles (11136643-3*); 63-2 Andy Wills (Unsure-21*); 72-3 Richard Guy (Unsure-2*); 72-4 Robert Redman (Unsure-2*); 100-5 Matthew Green (Unsure-12*); 131-6 Charlie Chivers (Unsure-22*); 131-7 James Ford (Unsure-0*); 156-8 Mark Dixon (Unsure-10*); 177-9 Gary Hodder (Unsure-4*);|
|* = notout batsman|
Scorers Terry Bishop