Gentlemen Play Fast and Loose with Ladies in front of Large Crowd
In an uncompromising, tension racked game, with more family sub-plots than Murder on the Orient Express, the Gentlemen just managed to pull it off. Victory with just two overs to spare was sweet revenge for last year’s humiliation and it was fitting that captain Richard Allen struck the winning blow, after his inexplicable decision to put the Ladies in first so nearly backfired.
There was some divine strokeplay from openers Anne Ballard and Tara Allen, until shouts of “oh yes” proved premature and the vicar’s stumps were splayed by a straight one from Alan Hayes. Carrie Ross entered the fray and with the intimidating threat of “it’s the spare room for you” presumably if one of husband Brian’s balls managed to slip through her defences. Fighting fire with the demonic church warden, John Reavy was brought into the attack and was promptly given two warnings by the umpire for his bodyline attack on Sue Lovatt.
Meanwhile the cricket match continued. Ladies skipper Cathy Reavy was plundering anything loose and picking up singles at will and real momentum was building as Annabel Simms, Meg Handscombe and Marie Mcllroy showed how easy paced the wicket was, with some lusty blows into the crowd. Claire Linley paid a brief visit to the middle to say hello to family members, so it was left to skipper Reavy with 34 runs to carry the Ladies innings to the Mr Whippy heights of all out for 99.
Captain Allen had some serious talking to do after a sloppy fielding performance, especially from the experienced Rob Handscombe, made worse by the provision of an irresistible array of temptation in the village hall, all designed to take a Gentleman’s mind off the job in hand.
Peter Linley opened the batting as if to the manor born, guiding his father to a stand of 20, before Cathy Reavy’s inswinger had Linley senior in trouble, quickly followed by Thomas Linley who failed to spot her back of the hand slower one. Annabel Simms dropped one on to Peter’s bails, ending a classy knock and, there being no more Linleys, Patrick Mcllroy strode to the wicket, dismissing his first ball to the boundary with disdain. Pin point accuracy and a refusal to give any width, from Pauline Hambleton and Meg Handscombe frustrated the Gentlemen’s scoring and when Cathy Reavy brought herself back into the attack, she immediately wreaked havoc with Patrick’s timber before getting one to catch veteran Ernie Allen unsighted as he adjusted his helmet and various other equipment. The pre-match money had been on warden Reavy to show his class, which looked like a good investment, until Sue Lovatt got one to pop up from nowhere and caught him high on the splice for 14. Rob Wood showing no visible signs of leash marks, soon broke free, reaching double figures in no time, before Simms got one to nip between his legs. After his three wickets, Alan Hayes was in the mood for making yet more hay, as he couldn’t help bludgeon the ball to all points, top scoring with 18 before becoming Cathy Reavy’s fifth victim. With 6 overs left and the Gentlemen on 79 for 8, the Ladies had a sniff. Cometh the hour, cometh captain Allen, ably assisted by the now banished Brian Ross, to steer the Gentlemen home, courtesy of some surprisingly elegant strokes.
100 for 8 with 2 overs to spare, but the real winners will be the lawyers.