BB 186 for 6
BB win by 5 wickets
"The trees are coming into leaf
Like something almost being said;
The recent buds relax and spread,
Their greenness is a kind of grief.
Is it that they are born again
And we grow old? No, they die too,
Their yearly trick of looking new
Is written down in rings of grain.
Yet still the unresting castles thresh
In fullgrown thickness every May.
Last year is dead, they seem to say,
Begin afresh, afresh, afresh."
- Philip Larkin,
May 2019. A fresh cricket season still just 3 games old. The nervous energy of a team reacquainting themselves with the sport and indeed with each other was palpable on Saturday when the BB hosted touring side, Standard Athletic Club from Paris.
Upon winning the toss, the splendidly blazered SAC skipper, thrown by the morning’s rain, began snuffling and crawling around the wicket, flip-flopping between decisions before settling on having a bat.
In the field, Brother Boucher (doing the honours as Match Manager for the first time, having dodged the responsibility for years) quickly and shrewdly highlighted Brother Shales as a very capable “on field” captain, allowing Boucher to focus on a small off field issue in the catering department, collecting match fees and of course making sure the flag stays flying.
It was Brother Booker, in his freshman year as a club member, who drew first blood. Firstly clean bowling their numéro deux, before The SAC captain, a century maker last year, skied one. Sam Middleton (more about him later) caught a blinder over the shoulder. Fans of sixth tier of English football will know that at key moments in the game, Dulwich Hamlet FC fans will shake their keys in the air (car, house or other) at key moments. I didn’t have my keys on me whilst fielding at 2nd slip, but if I had, I’d have shaken them at this; a key moment.
Booker & Pollington continued an impressive opening spell of bowling. As Bother Shales eloquently put it, “If you’ve only got two bowlers, you just keep bowling them”.
They say catches win matches, I’d add that GREAT catches MAKE matches. The SAC top order, with the exceptions of Bookers’ clean bowled wickets, all fell to worldies. There was Middleton’s over the shoulder grab, Young Felix Connell holding his nerve to claim a ball that came down with icicles on it, and then there was Brother Bryant’s full stretch-one-handed-blink-and-you-miss-it catch in the covers. Moments like these make a day of cricket. Well held lads.
Wickets fell steadily and the SAC where unable to gain any true momentum. Felix Connell bowled well, picking up a wicket, with Father, Brother Connell (Rupert) keeping superbly all morning. His name now firmly etched into the shortish list of Keepers in the club, whether he likes it or not. Brother Page joined in, bowling his stiflingly effective leggies to claim a scalp.
Looking around at his bowling options, Brother Shales turned to Alex Bryant, encouraged (read: thrown under the bus) by his Saturday veg mentor, Brother Brown. Bryant, a man who had a near terminal case of the yips last season, was a risk. A risk that only a captain might take if he knew his name was not officially associated with captaining this fixture. Bryant rewarded Shales with a complex spell of, what he calls “wobbly stuff”. All of it right on the money. 3 wickets later, Brother Shales could be called a Yips Healer. A soothsayer that puts his faith in those bowlers that need it most.
Meanwhile, somewhere on the Kingsdown Estate Brother Berger was revelling in the etherial lushness of the English countryside in May. He of course made sure he fielded everything that came his way, faultlessly I might add.
The SAC we bowled out for 185 from 36.1 overs and it was BB’s turn to reply.
Shales, Page, Pollington at 1,2,3 felt very, very strong, which is why when two of the elder statesman of the club fell cheaply, a hush of disbelief fell over Torry Hill. BB 6 for 2, in at 4, guest, Sam Middleton, fresh from a charity game he played in mid July 2018. He was focussed and determined to impress.
The next hour flew by as the “tons”, Polling & Middle, effortlessly carved the ball into the long, long grass, swiftly re-establishing the fixture as ours to loose. After playing superbly for 25, Pollington sadly fell to an absolutely plum LBW that he in no way can have any quibbles about. Brother Brown, came out to Middleton’s middle, cap on, pub in sight. Seeing it like chou de Milan de Pontoise (google it) Brown contributed quickly, all the while Middleton playing himself into a meeting with a BB candidate form. Brown fell for a swift 21 and Boucher finding himself in the unfamiliar middle order chipped in with a few, not before flattening Middleton, who failed to get out the way of an up-ish straight drive (soz sam). Falling to another absolutely stone dead LBW à la Pollington, Boucher made way for Booker, and then Connell snr. Although the SAC bowled well and took wickets, it was inevitable that Middleton would see the BB home with a quite spiritual 92 not out.
The BB seal victory by 5 wickets.
And so on to The Chequers, Doddington, where The SAC Kindly presented The BB with some Product De France. A large, large bottle of red for the Club’s wine cellar and a bottle of bubbly for the Champagne moment, nay, moments, Middleton’s 92.
A huge thank you to the SAC for a game played in the true spirit. Long may this fixture continue. A Special mention to Brother Boucher’s Brother, Capt. W. Boucher and Ms R. Wells who stepped in last minute to whip a top notch Lunch and Tea out of the bag.
A great day had by all, and confirmation that a day of cricket at Torry Hill in late May is quite unbeatable.