Darton 6th June



ACCC v. Darton CC         Darton       Sunday June 6th 2004

Casuals 198 for 9

Darton 93  all out

Coopermen to the fore as Rupert celebrates by seeing-off barrel!

The ground at Darton may not be the most attractive we play on, but it’s most certainly the noisiest. They should erect a sign on the adjoining M1 which forces motorists to “switch off engines while play is in progress”; the sight of vehicles gliding silently past would no doubt attract many spectators to view the surreal scene and potentially therefore, boost bar funds. I commend the idea to the House. Nevertheless, the hottest day of the Summer so far was sufficient to entice the Stiers to reveal the latest in Bar-B-Q fashionware. Jasper Conran will no doubt be cursing himself for not spotting the gap in the market for the ‘disposable B-B-Q’ stand, fashioned by hand from the finest ironing board, and complemented by matching folding table. However, I am reliably informed that the patent is available at a reasonable price and can be obtained from http://www.necessityisthemotherofinvention.com – knock twice and ask for Sam! It was therefore a typical Casuals scene of domestic activity, chilled chardonnay and the mouthwatering aroma of grilled belly pork that welcomed most of the players as they arrived at the ground.  

Clearly selection had once again been the subject of (mis)communication during the week and the following set of circumstances explains why being a Captain of the Casuals is so much more testing than being the Captain of England:- Duncan was the nominated Match Captain but had done a swap with Sam Wilkinson, who arrived at the ground en-route to play golf at Troon having persuaded Will to skipper the side on the field! Will was quite relaxed about this as Sam told him that there would be 12 players turning up and his only decision was who to leave out. Will – an experienced Casuals skipper – should have known better. All was revealed of course when, 30 overs into our innings we still only had 10 men and your correspondent (who had planned on a quiet late afternoon snooze in the warm sunshine) was persuaded that he should stop his umpiring stint and get changed to play. By comparison all Michael Vaughan has to do is decide which end Harmison bowls from. How hard can that be?

Our opponents also had some problems with selection. Their second XI had a cup game to play and this left them short on experience – so short in fact that a number of their team had played in an under 15 game that morning! However, they made up in enthusiasm what they lacked in years and were commendably quick in the field – particularly between overs. The Casuals innings was dominated by Tim Taylor, with an excellent 71, and Ian (Daddy) Cooper (36), with useful contributions from Will (43), and a cameo innings of 13 no from Bill. A total of 198 was probably about par and certainly better than would have been estimated at the half-way stage. 

The tea interval was memorable for the first sighting this summer of the Priestley; our senior professional casting a critical eye over proceedings as he and Mrs P toured the ground. It was also nice to see Mr and Mrs Taylor turn up just in time to see their little boy (Tim) get himself out and then eat his tea when he wasn’t looking. A blessing in disguise as he had to open the bowling.

The Casuals were a fine sight as they took to the field, save for the Chairman who appeared in a borrowed MCC shirt, shorts and trainers (not quite so fine). Darton began their innings as if they wanted to get in the Pub by 6.30pm – or maybe, given the youthful nature of their team, had some unfinished homework to complete before bedtime!  Whatever the reason, Crossland Snr and Taylor were on the receiving end of some lusty blows and the score was soon racing along at 5+ an over. The fall of a wicket did little to abate the run rate until Taylor produced his surprise straight ball to shatter the stumps.  This brought the more junior players to the crease and the introduction of Rupert on to bowl. His exemplary figures of 5 – 3 – 5 – 3 tell their own story of nagging length, cunning flight and vicious turn, with two catches behind the wicket including a slip catch that, if I’m honest, surprised the fielder as much as it did everyone else (suffice to say that if it had been a televised game it would have been repeated until we were all sick of the sight of it – apart from me obviously). The Darton innings was then brought to a swift conclusion by the Cooper boys who both bowled with admirable accuracy and figures of 4 – 1 – 8 – 2 for Dan and 2.4 – 1 – 5 – 2 for Joe, and the most senior of our opponents bemoaning the fact that he’d never been bowled out by an eleven year old before! Well done Joe.

Another game, another win. Five wins from six starts, I can’t remember when that last happened or when confidence within the Casuals was so high – long may it continue. The evening ended in style; back to Rupert’s to finish off the remainder of a barrel of Sheila’s home brew.  The stuff that dreams are made of.

Ed – before Rupert hits the send button, the last sentence should read “The stuff of which dreams are made….” Perhaps he and Greg could discuss.

NB: Mark (Windale) is back from 4 months working in Thailand on Sunday and all being well will be in attendance at Thongsbridge for the Druids game. I’m sure he’ll be pleased to see as many of you as can get along.