NEW SEASON, SAME FRAILTY - YET ANOTHER BATTING COLLAPSE
After the rain-soaked shenanigans of the previous weekend (two overs of cricket played during the start of the annual Goatacre monsoon), it was a pleasure to play a full game of cricket in perfect summer weather. Despite more rustiness than my mini clubman estate (a 1973 classic, from the era when they were designed to fail as soon as possible…) a decent game of cricket was achieved between two well-matched sides. Marshfield’s eventual defeat by 20 runs was a fair return on a game where catches were dropped, wickets were thrown away, but the result was in doubt almost to the end.
With the skipper delayed, it fell to Will Christie to lose the toss and Marshfield found themselves in the field. Dixon was joined by a new opening bowler in the shape of Dan Taylor. Dan looks to be an excellent addition to the squad, even if he is (a) too good looking for the 3rds or (b) too young for the thirds (as the ladies of Marshfield imparted to your correspondent this Saturday last). With a brisk run-up and smooth action, he looks primed to extract any swing that is available. Dixon, as ever, produced some nagging, accurate bowling. Both picked up an early wicket, but with Warren steadily accumulating runs and later joined by Fone, Beehive looked to be building a solid foundation, with the possibility of going well past 200. Both were dropped, Warren off Dixon’s bowling, when Nicola Rouse did everything right, except hang on. More controversially, Dixon returned the favour later in the innings, and this correspondent will swear he heard him mutter ‘that’s what happens when you drop them off my bowling…’. Or maybe I just imagined it. When both high scorers had been removed, by Tanner and Christie, the pace of the innings slowed down, and Marshfield was able to keep the total to 197-8. Taylor had returned to claim two more scalps and finished on 9-2-33-3 – a fine start to a Marshfield career.
In reply, Marshfield was quickly a wicket down when the usually reliable Guy was bowled by a tricky delivery. Joining young tyro Hendy, your correspondent settled to the task of building a partnership. With some bad balls despatched, and a few streaky edges, the total mounted and soon Marshfield were 90-1 and comfortable. It couldn’t last. Your correspondent flashed at a wide one and only succeeded in getting an edge that looped to cover. Now the problems started. Always prone to collapse, the soft middle of the batting line-up was swiftly eviscerated, with Miller, Harris, Taylor and Christie falling for not very many. All sadly bowled, which may point to some flawed techniques.
Now entered Graham Tanner. With his usual combination of watchfulness and the occasional deployment of the long‑handled drive, he got the scoreboard moving again. With the loss of Hendy, the skipper had come to the crease, but he played too early of a ball that didn’t so much as hold up, more book in for B and B, leaving Jim through the shot somewhat ahead of time. The obdurate Dixon joined Tanner, and the chase continued into the last few overs, with a Marshfield win still a possibility. In the end, Dixon too fell for 12, and Graham was joined by Nicola for the last few balls, and the 3rds ended some 20 runs shy.
So that was that – the first game completed since 2019, and enjoyed by all. Hard to pick an MoM – Grahams sprightly 40* was a treat towards the end, but perhaps, just, it should go to Dan Taylor for a hugely promising bowling debut.