England The Winners, Was Cricket The Loser?
When the draw for the 2018 Football World Cup was made, no one gave any thought to the idea that hundreds, if not thousands, of cricket matches across the nation, would be disrupted by England reaching the quarter-final. After all since 2006 reaching the quarters has been a fantasy, with the nadir of 2014 in Brazil – not making it out of the group, and being one of the first sides home. However, the young tyros assembled by Gareth ‘waistcoat’ Southgate had started the tournament in a manner not seen in England shirts in the 21st century. Not only did they win, but they actually appeared comfortable in the shirt and showed no signs of the traditional tiredness that has so beset previous generations. And so it came to pass that passage out the group assured, a loss against Belgium, who would ultimately reach the semi-final, thrust England on a collision course with Saturday afternoon cricket.
Even then it could still have been avoided. To reach the quarters, England needed to get past Columbia. At first, all was well – a lead, slender, but probably deserved was held until stoppage time, only for disaster to strike and extra-time, and possible penalties loomed large. No way through now, surely? And yet.
At around 9.57 pm on Tuesday 3rd July, England finally broke their world cup penalty hoodoo -defeats in 1990 (West Germany), 1998 (Argentina), 2006 (Germany) and sailed through to face Sweden in the semi-final, at 3.00pm on Saturday.
A more inconvenient time could not have been imagined. Almost immediately an email arrived from the Wiltshire Cricket League. Suggestions included starting early and taking a long tea to watch the game. What was not countenance was a shortened match, which was surely a mistake? If it is acceptable to reduce games owing to the weather, why not for this?
What to do? Corsham had forfeited the first game of the season, but in recent weeks had recorded some good wins against highly placed sides. Contact was made with the Corsham skipper, whose platers were ‘keen to play cricket and watch the game’. A decision was taken to start at 12.00 pm, break at 2.45 pm and head to Broadleys (no TV at Tormarton), and then return after the football to complete the cricket, albeit that with extra time and penalties a consideration, the cricket may go on until nearly 9.00 pm. Was this a bluff? Was Corsham hoping that Marshfield would be unable to put up a side and thus forfeit? Did Corsham have a side?
As the week went on there was no sign of weakness from Corsham. By Friday evening it seemed obvious that we would have to actually play this fixture, with the absurd gap in the middle, and so it came to pass that Saturday morning your correspondent, skipper for the day in the absence of Creed, arrived at Tormarton for 11.15 am.
On the day Marshfield was not at their strongest, no Jim and Callum Duckett stole by the 2nds requiring a call-up of Baby Duckett, and the annual appearance of Sim Townend, not seen in these parts since a heroic 39 vs Hawkesbury Upton in 2016.
Pre-toss options suggested by Dixon included ‘doing a Warminster’, but alas the choice was removed from the skipper as he lost the toss. Marshfield was invited to bat.
Opening with Rich Guy was Malcolm Miller and the two moved smoothly to 37 before Miller was lost for 12. It was now that Corsham’s Steve Day entered the fray. Arriving late, he was given permission to enter the bowling without waiting by the home skipper, who felt that the unusual nature of the game and earlier start time justified this. He was soon into the wickets, removing the Duckling for 2. Ollie Hendy became yet another victim of the Marshfield mauler, run out for just 1 and suddenly Marshfield were 86-3. This was by no means a bad start, but could the middle order build on this?
Ollie Double-Barrelled, whilst never looking comfortable, added a breezy 25, but his wicket saw the start of a traditional Marshfield 3rds collapse, on this occasion from 123-3 to 141 all out, and Day finished with 8-1-23-7. Only Rich Guy emerged with credit, with his 67 runs the mainstay of the total yet again. With the innings only taking 31.2 overs, there was now time to start the reply, and it was agreed that the match would resume and then pause at 2.40 pm, to allow sufficient time to travel to watch the football. In test match terms this would be a nasty little session, with the bowlers racing in, and the batsmen playing for the interval.
Possibly unnerved by the sight of Dixon racing in sans truseau, two Corsham players were removed in relatively quick time, and so tea with a slice of football on the side was taken with the match delicately poised.
After an uncharacteristic comfortable England win, the teams returned and to Tomarton and resumed play. Ollie DB was clearly troubled by a sore shoulder and could only complete 7 overs, ending with a disappointing 7-0-44-0. Ruddell was given some harsh treatment in his 4-0-36-0, and Corsham forged ahead in the game the skipper looked around in vain for guidance. Malcolm Miller had two expensive overs. Only Dixon and Christie were able to exert any control and picked up 3 and 2 wickets respectively. It would not prove enough and Corsham cantered home to win by 5 wickets with nearly 20 overs to spare. With some irony, what could have been one of the longest games and latest finishes of the year actually ended comparatively early.
Clearly, 141 was never enough runs, especially with the notorious Tormarton outfield now behaving like greased lightning. On a different day, with more bowling options, and some more runs, this could have been a much closer game.
The only real positives, football aside, were Richard’s fine 67, and Dixon’s tight, bare-legged bowling of 9-2-16-3. MoM to Rich. CoM (clothing of the match) to Dicko for those shorts and that smock, now universally suspected to belong to Mrs Dixon.
A last note on the football. Other sides came to different arrangements – notably the Marshfield 1st XI managed to complete a game before 3 pm. The best option for many would have been an early start (say 11 am) and a reduced game (25 overs?) to allow the football to be enjoyed, rather than becoming a hindrance. The league’s stance on not allowing overs reductions was in my opinion wrong and probably contributed to two of the five games in Wilts 8 being forfeited that day, along with several others in higher leagues. This is unfair all round – the side forfeiting losing points, and in the case of Box 2nd’s possibly contributing to their ultimate suspension from the league for forfeiting four games, and it also denies sides the chance to earn full batting and bowling points. At least the chance of it happening again is minimal.
|Type :||League: Wiltshire County Cricket League - Division 8 2018||Date :||Saturday 7th July 2018|
|Toss:||Corsham CC - 4th XI won the toss and elected to field||Start Time:||12:00|
|Ground:||Tormarton CC||Rules Type:||Standard|
Corsham: S. Day 8-1-23-7, R. Toghill 69* Marshfield: R. Guy 67, M. Dixon 9-2-16-3
Result: Corsham CC - 4th XI - Won by 5 wickets
|Marshfield CC - 3rd XI||Corsham CC - 4th XI|
|Score||141 all out (31.2 overs) 'b'||143 for 5 (26.2 overs) 't'|
|1||Richard Guy||ct & b Steve Day||67||11||0||0|
|2||Malcolm Miller||ct Richard Todhunter||b Matthew Angell||12||1||0||0|
|3||Sam Duckett||ct S Dymond-Hall||b Steve Day||2||0||0||0|
|4||Oliver Hendy†||run out (Robert Reed)||1||0||0||0|
|5||Oliver Rogers-Jones||ct & b Steve Day||25||5||0||0|
|6||Simeon Townend||not out||5||1||0||0|
|7||Charles Harris||hit wicket||b Steve Day||0||0||0||0|
|8||Mark Dixon||b Steve Day||2||0||0||0|
|9||Chris Ruddell||ct Matthew Angell||b Steve Day||0||0||0||0|
|10||Tim Woodman*||ct R White||b Steve Day||4||1||0||0|
|11||Will Christie||b Matthew Angell||0||0||0||0|
|Extras b (9), lb (2), w (9), nb (3)||23|
* = Captain, † = Wicket Keeper
Fall of Wickets
37-1 Malcolm Miller (Richard Guy-13*); 85-2 Sam Duckett (Richard Guy-53*); 86-3 Oliver Hendy (Richard Guy-53*); 123-4 Oliver Rogers-Jones(Richard Guy-64*); 129-5 Richard Guy (Simeon Townend-1*); 129-6 Charles Harris (Simeon Townend-1*); 131-7 Mark Dixon (Simeon Townend-1*); 136-8 Chris Ruddell (Simeon Townend-5*); 140-9 Tim Woodman (Simeon Townend-5*); 141-10 Will Christie (Simeon Townend-5*);
* = not out batsman
|Fielding Extras/Non-bowler wickets||11||1|
|1||Tom Norsworthy||ct Malcolm Miller||b Mark Dixon||0||0||0||0|
|2||Theo Todhunter||ct Will Christie||b Mark Dixon||22||3||0||0|
|3||Richard Todhunter||ct Will Christie||b Mark Dixon||1||0||0||0|
|4||Richard Toghill||not out||69||10||1||0|
|5||Thomas Hyde†||b Will Christie||4||0||0||0|
|6||Conor White||ct Oliver Hendy||b Will Christie||0||0||0||0|
|7||Matthew Angell*||not out||25||4||0||0|
|8||Steve Day||did not bat|
|9||R White||did not bat|
|10||S Dymond-Hall||did not bat|
|11||Robert Reed||did not bat|
|Extras b (1), lb (1), w (9), nb (11)||22|
* = Captain, † = Wicket Keeper
Fall of Wickets
0-1 Tom Norsworthy (Theo Todhunter-0*); 12-2 Richard Todhunter (Theo Todhunter-9*); 56-3 Theo Todhunter (Richard Toghill-26*); 79-4 Thomas Hyde (Richard Toghill-44*); 79-5 Conor White (Richard Toghill-44*);
* = not out batsman
|Fielding Extras/Non-bowler wickets||2||0|