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With a morning of sunshine, a stellar Mogs line-up and Richard ‘Tina’ Turner at the helm, a victory in our annual fixture against Tadworth looked promising. Unfortunately, despite some standout performances and an encouraging start, the Mogs fell a little short.
With Stuart Jackson forbidden from being in the vicinity of Furner’s AS Maths level scoring spreadsheet, the Colonel stepped in to commandeer the pencil, as Turner and Furner took to the field.
In grey, chilly conditions and on a sticky green wicket (N.B see Peter Riddy’s Boycottesque pitch report on the Whats App Group), the Tadworth opening bowlers restricted the Mogs scoring rate early on. In an effort to accelerate matters, Turner, fuelled on a fine bottle of Pinot Noir from the night before, started searching for further boundaries. Clearly wearing his lucky knee/ankle/hip/elbow/shin support, and with the score on 25-0, Turner was fortuitously dropped three times in six balls. Not deterred, Turner continued to find the gaps with some lusty blows and achieved his 50 before being dismissed for a well-deserved 54.
Furner was making steady progress at the other end and displayed his full array of shots, notably some glorious pulls for four. Furner must have been wearing one of Turner‘s lucky garments as, whilst scampering through for a quick single, was victim to a direct hit to the wickets. Unfortunately for Tadworth, the bowler had dislodged the bail prior to the strike. Furner continued. A succession of three runs and a series of quick singles, ultimately saw the ever fit Furner retire (52 not out). He gave way to the elegant left hander, Stuart “Michael” Jackson who joined the spritely ‘Dyno’ Rhod James, who was the instigator of the ‘run for three’ and ‘yes’ decisions, having replaced Turner.
With shots from the Ian Bell repertoire, James set about the Tadworth bowling line-up. Both James and Jackson went through the gears and found the boundaries with ease. Jackson, who amassed 21 runs then fell with only four overs to go.
In stepped Burton (Snr) in an attempt to get James to his 100 (although at the time, he was completely oblivious to the fact). James continued to strike the ball to the fence with the crispness of a fine Sancerre. At the other end, Burton (Snr) was attempting to swat the ball in anger like it was a swarm of flies which had insulted his parental roots. Nevertheless, James needed a six off the final ball to complete, what would have been, a sumptuous ton. Alas, as described on the MWCC WhatsApp Group by absent skip Coops, he “clothed it” to a “good catch”.
Tea ensued with only the three points to note: (1) don’t polish off your tea prior to the designated window (Will Dowling take note); (2) apparently it’s not the done thing to visit M&S in your cricket whites (Burtons take note); and (3) don’t be tempted by the triple M&S sandwich (prawn, BLT and ham and mustard) – go for quality not quantity.
The Mogs took to the field with the ominous words from Burton (snr): “it’s always hard to pick the ball up on this ground” ringing in their ears. After hope was raised with an early wicket (bowled Lewis, caught Burton Snr.), the Tadworth South African debutant wicket-keeper/bowler/number 3 stepped forward and quickly settled into his stride, picking off boundaries to the leg side with ease. At the other end, the Tadworth opener was “biffing” is it around (quotation – Cooper again); at times, to his own amazement. Both went on to record centuries and took the game away from the Mogs, despite some very tidy bowling from Obi Wan (Burton Jnr) (who got his line and length spot-on) and a good mix of off breaks, from James at the other end, which deserved more.
The less said about the dropped catches the better (cricket balls really are jolly hard), although special mention to James again for an athletic, overhead catch on the boundary; only for him to be harshly adjudged to have crossed the invisible rope.
All in all, despite the result, a thoroughly enjoyable day which could have been a lot different with a couple more early Tadworth wickets.
Should there have been a man of the match award, one would not have had to look beyond James for both his batting and bowling performance and his athleticism in the field. [Disclaimer: this is in no way intended to influence any future predicted grades for any Burton child].
A short ceremony followed at the end of the game, with Turner and Parker formally inviting Messrs James, Dowling and Burton (Jnr) to become full playing members of the Mogador Wanderers. This was warmly received by the three, who become welcome additions to the Mogs family.