controversy spoils the day
H &SV, although sounding like an unpleasant virus of the debilitating kind, have the good fortune to play on an idyllic ground in bucolic surroundings (the A36 roar excepted). We turned up on a cool but rainless day with Nikhil once more stepping in, together with two “new faces”, our third professor (Gregory, an expert in algebraic geometry no less) and Fordy, Snr. Unchanged, however, was that we fielded first (of course).
As usual, our glorious leader (OGL) made an early breakthrough but the H&SV second wicket partnership saw their score pass 50 quite quickly (and worryingly), the only glimmer of hope coming when the smallest margin of error prevented a spectacular “caught Ford Snr., bowled Ford, Jnr.” dismissal. Bowling changes at both ends did not bring an immediate reward but an attempt at a all-run 4 did produce a run out that was quickly followed by the HS&V danger man committing hari-kiri and holing out to a smart catch by Chivers, Snr. off Nikhil. Meanwhile, Gregory was twirling away at the other end but was having no luck convincing the umpire that his mathematical proof of an lbw was correct. Being a clever chap, Greg then resorted to a cunning 3rd XI strategy and bowled a wide full toss that the HS&V no. 4 obligingly mishit into Nikhil’s safe hands at cover.
The big-hitting no. 5 was still there unfortunately and a further double change to bring on Chivers & Son soon resulted in two rather large sixes into the adjoining pastures. But young Charles was undeterred and produced a rather quick yorker to remove Mr. Sixer to bring us back into the game, followed by another victim also clean bowled. Sensing the distinct whiff of arôme de rabbit, OGL brought himself quickly back into the attack (“take a blow, Al, well bowled”) and mopped up three tasty morsels to finish with 4-33 off his 12 overs. Finally, after a few overs of frustration, Fordy grabbed the last wicket and we finished with maximum bowling points and a target of 194 to chase.
After a generous tea taken al fresco, MCC opened with two professors (your correspondent and Threaders) who reflected deeply on each ball bowled, weighed up the pros and cons of leaving or blocking the projectile, and then cerebrally did one or the other before engaging in a deep debrief as to whether the Pauli Principle had been violated or not. Riveting stuff, as I’m sure you can imagine. With 10 overs gone, there were about 10 runs on the board forcing a soporific HS&V to generously introduce some different bowlers who provided a number of loose balls that were rather rakishly smote towards the boundary and an extravagant quantity of wides. Unbelievably, the run rate accelerated and, remarkably, a 50 partnership was posted.
Of course, this could not continue and a quick bit of “yes, no, yes, sorry” saw the demise of the elder partner for a solid 8. Not-Professor Wills joined the remaining Actual-Professor and the combined age of >120 years (plus a number of additional wides) saw the score move encouragingly to 98-1 with about 20 overs remaining to acquire the remaining ~100 runs – not a ridiculous ask, you might think…
What happened next was ridiculous, however, by any definition. Willsy struck a short one past the off-side ring and at least 2 runs looked on the cards. Having run one, the chasing fielder lost his foot down a rabbit hole (one that OGL had missed, presumably), occasioning considerable discomfort and squeals of pain. With the second run underway, the umpire called “dead ball”, in accord with Law 23 (and I paraphrase the relevant section): “Either umpire shall call and signal "Dead Ball", when… a serious injury to a Player or Umpire occurs”. Upon the signal, a dead ball is defined as a particular state of play in which the players may not perform any of the active aspects of the game. In other words, batsmen may not score runs and fielders may not attempt to get batsmen out. What happened next was that (1) the batsmen did not hear the call, and neither did most of the fielding side, (2) Willsy was “run out” (but could not have been given the ‘dead ball’ call), (3) the fielding side celebrated and Willsy looked ready to brain your correspondent, (4) (cutting a long story short) the umpire informed the H&SV skipper that one run had been scored and that no-one was out, (5) the poor fielder was helped to the pavilion, and (6) much angry muttering broke out.
Threaders, the only qualified umpire in the vicinity, confirmed that the timing of the dead ball call meant that the umpire’s decision (no. 4 above) was correct, but this did not quell the grumbling from one member in particular of the H&SV team. Willsy, despite showing infinite patience in front of an interminable delay, finally decided to take both the moral and literal high ground, removing himself from the innings and, shortly thereafter, the ground.
When the game eventually restarted, with Ford, Jnr. at the non-striker’s end, a fatal hesitation on a second run led to another run out with the unfortunate young man departing without facing a ball. Cue another batting collapse and a procession of dismal dismissals (including one more run out), terminating with Gregory’s unfortunate first-baller at 123 all out, and defeat by a lot more runs than it should have been.
So, an unsatisfactory end, with an undeniable taste of bile in the back of the throat, to what had promised to be a pleasant and competitive afternoon. Sadly, a difficult (but definitely correct) call for any umpire led to the ‘spirit of cricket’ going AWOL and the match being spoiled irreversibly. My general impression is that most of the 22 players involved turn up every week at cricket because they love the game and, although they want to win, it’s the playing that gives most pleasure… somehow that got lost on this occasion.
Given the circumstances, no MoM and no champagne moment are awarded. A special commendation to Gregory, however, for his correct dead ball call and his admirable patience in dealing with some hostile verbals as the “incident” unfolded. The last league game takes place next Saturday – it would nice to finish the season with a good-natured win!
Postscript: Willsy, you forgot to pay your match fee!
"The heart seems to have gone out of the game" -
Alan Ford after the 'incident'
Result: Heytesbury & Sutton Veny CC - 2nd XI - Won by 70 runs
Toss: Heytesbury & Sutton Veny CC - 2nd XI won the toss and elected to bat
Heytesbury & Sutton Veny CC - 2nd XI
|1||A Frost||run out ( James Ford )||26||0||0||0|
|2||T Dalby||bowled||Mark Dixon||5||0||0||0|
|3||Rob Robson*+||ct Alan Chivers||Nikhil Bhalla||24||0||0||0|
|4||A Pratt||ct Nikhil Bhalla||Gregory Sankaran||12||0||0||0|
|5||R Cooke||bowled||Charlie Chivers||41||0||0||0|
|6||B Christian||lbw||Mark Dixon||3||0||0||0|
|7||J Wolveston||bowled||Charlie Chivers||12||0||0||0|
|8||R Jones||bowled||James Ford||18||0||0||0|
|9||C Robson||bowled||Mark Dixon||6||0||0||0|
|10||T Reynolds||ct James Ford||Mark Dixon||4||0||0||0|
|11||M Raried||not out||4||0||0||0|
|Byes (11), Leg Byes (4), Wides (16), No Balls (7)||
Marshfield CC - 3rd XI
|1||Richard Guy||bowled||Rob Robson||42||4||0||0|
|2||Mike Threadgill||run out ( Unsure )||8||1||0||0|
|3||Andy Wills||retired out||15||1||0||0|
|4||James Ford||run out ( Unsure )||0||0||0||0|
|5||Alan Ford||bowled||Rob Robson||2||0||0||0|
|6||Charlie Chivers||ct R Cooke||T Dalby||1||0||0||0|
|7||Mark Dixon*||run out ( Unsure )||4||0||0||0|
|8||Alan Chivers||bowled||Rob Robson||4||0||0||0|
|9||Terry Bishop+||not out||0||0||0||0|
|10||Nikhil Bhalla||lbw||R Cooke||6||1||0||0|
|11||Gregory Sankaran||bowled||R Cooke||0||0||0||0|
|Byes (3), Leg Byes (5), Wides (32), No Balls (1)||
Fall of Wickets
|55-1 Mike Threadgill (Richard Guy-25*); 98-2 Andy Wills (Richard Guy-39*); 101-3 James Ford (Richard Guy-40*); 104-4 Richard Guy (Charlie Chivers-0*); 107-5 Charlie Chivers (Alan Ford-1*); 110-6 Mark Dixon (Alan Ford-2*); 113-7 Alan Ford (Alan Chivers-1*); 116-8 Alan Chivers (Terry Bishop-0*); 123-9 Nikhil Bhalla (Terry Bishop-0*); 123-10 Gregory Sankaran (Terry Bishop-0*);|
|* = notout batsman|