The rain held off, the evening sun shone, the Marlborough Cricket Club ground was looking its very best and…
But this is not a detailed report of play during the Wednesday evening (August 3) fixture between a Marlborough Cricket Club eleven and the Town Mayor’s team – which from time to time seemed to exceed eleven players.
It can be reported that in this match of 15 eight-ball overs a-side, the Mayor’s team reached the creditable score of 80 – only to be overhauled after eight overs and the loss of just two wickets by the Marlborough Cricket Club team. A very comfortable win for the home team!
It was said that the Marlborough Cricket Club’s team had just two members who had found a berth in their first eleven. The Club obviously has, as I think sports writers say, talent in depth. What can be said for sure is that the match was played in the best of cricketing spirits.
The fixture had a clear charitable aim: to raise money to help refugees settled in Berlin – mainly from the cricketing nation of Afghanistan – to get the cricket equipment and facilities they need. A cause that had come to the attention of St Mary’s Curate the Rev Dr Janneke Blokland.
The match raised £615. That is enough to buy a bag of kit for a team of the budding Afghan cricketers of Berlin – and with a bit of money to spare.
Town Mayor Noel Barrett-Morton’s team should not, your reporter was told, be described as a scratch team.
It included four members of 4MI Battalion from Bulford – the Battalion with close links to Marlborough. They were Alex Hadcock (who took over the captaincy from Councillor Justin Cook who was not sure of enough of the rules), Reza Greaves, Michael Phillips, and Craig Dudgeon.
The Rev Canon Andrew Studdert-Kennedy (who should have been at the Test Match, and impressed the crowd with his batting), Jim Patterson (Councillor Fogg’s son-in-law), Jason Hull and Scott Light (Councillor Alec Light’s grandsons), Jamie Lloyd (whose parents live in Minal and got drafted while visiting the Outside Chance – where Scot is the manager), Sean Watts (who took a brilliant catch) and Mark Oliver and his son Oscar – father impressed at the crease and his son’s bowling and fielding were most impressive.
The umpires were Henry Pearson (Andrew Studdert-Kennedy’s predecessor at St Mary’s who agreed to umpire so long as he could carry on listening to the Test Match through his earpieces!) He was joined by a variety of ad hoc substitutes and then by Derek Fuller-Webster.
Neville Cardus this is not: but some cheeky running and some good strokes (especially from the Rector, Michael Phillips and Mark Oliver) had the lights on the scoreboard showing a steady increase in the Mayor’s team’s score. (I doubt Mr Cardus would ever have committed to paper two apostrophes in succession.)
When the Mayor’s team took to the field they seemed, after a quick conference between rival captains Alex Hadcock and Ed Puddick, to have been allowed twelve fielders. Some quick changes in the field – in a sort of running conveyor belt of substitutions – managed to keep the number of fielders in the plus-or-minus twelve range.
Justin Cook took to the field – and bowled an over. But despite an over from Oscar Oliver (which I think produced a six from the Club team) and some very diligent fielding, the Marlborough Cricket Team made it comfortably to the total set by the Mayor’s team.
The teams were applauded off the field by a good crowd and the Club’s quick total left plenty of time for the beer and for raising money through a raffle and a spot-the-cricket-ball competition.
The latter was said to be an easy challenge for anyone with a fair knowledge of cricket. Your reporter thought the batsman – one of the Club’s top scorers – might have edged the ball back over his head…surely not a very good call.