Sunday 15 May 2022

Wandering Ducks 189-7 (28 overs)
SCCC 181-6 (28 overs)
Lost by 8 runs
35 over match (reduced to 28 due to rain)
Toss by negotiation

Richard Seeckts writes:

May’s fine weather took a second Sunday off but the resolve of both teams not only got the game on but produced a great contest between two like minded teams. That the Ducks were all under 30 and the Cryptics largely over 45 mattered not. Ironically, after the quackfest at Avorians, not a single duck was registered until Stu strode out for the final ball and lost his poles attempting to hit it for the nine required. 

The game was played at the Old Tiffinian ground, scene of the Cryptic skipper’s debut in April 1991 when, upon fielding a ball in the covers, Richard Atkinson walked over, pulled a hip flask from his pocket and muttered, “Welcome to the Cryptics”. 347 games later, it still feels like ‘the right sort of club’. It was also the scene in about 1993 when, without a Cryptic car in sight, all 11 players bought a jug. No Tommy or Rod in those days.

An unremarkable start was made in drizzle, Ducks 30-1 after six overs when the rain got heavy, Young Joe Witt and Charlie Huntingford struggled with the wet ball and an hour’s merry bar time commenced with covers on the pitch. Agreeing to continue to 28 overs each in preference to the youthful suggestion of starting a T20 game from scratch turned out to be a blessing as Stu soon took the wickets to herald the entry of some talented Ducks. Had Messrs Cairns and Hook opened in a T20, it may have been carnage from the off. As it was, the only wondering they did was whether to hit Daddy Grinders into Esher or Hinchley Wood, quickly settling for both.

Uncryptically decent catches were held by Ware (his 98th and 99th in pink and black), Scottie, YJW and even Ingo behind the timbers, though he put a couple down too. Keith executed a run out in clinical, slo-mo style, Ed bowled a crafty length to keep the scoring down, fielders were scattered to all parts for the closing 9 overs and with 189 to beat, there was a sense that it could have been worse. The bowlers had largely done a good job in the circs.

Could the batsmen chase at 6.8 an over? Not ‘arf. Ingo took 11 from the first over in company with Marcus Ruffell who quickly joined the party. 72-0 off ten is not the traditional Cryptic way, particularly against 11 young and capable fielders. Ruffell (32) and Ware fell in quick succession to excellent catches, bringing Scottie to the crease on 3984 career runs. Obviously we all forgot that by the time he reached 16 so he got a hearty cheer and applause from the pavilion upon reaching the milestone of 4008. Ingo had gone for a career best 39 but quickly took over as umpire, entertainingly / outrageously triggering Keith who was some way towards the square leg umpire at the time. Or so he claimed. It’s rare that the big fella airs displeasure, but this was tame compared to when Windeatt ran him out at Follies.

Seeckts arrived on a mission to give Scottie the strike as required if we were to get the required 72 off 8.5 overs. Facing only 17 balls for 15 runs, the strike control worked and Scottie smote it well for a while until mysteriously spluttering in the final two overs. He missed the (straight) penultimate ball on 66 to give Stu his opportunity to reach his own landmark of 300 career runs in his 71st match. That will have to wait a little longer.

The Ducks played a full part in the fun, afterwards awarding their own man of the match, champagne moment and ‘Duck of the day’ (Is that better in a Kiwi accent? – Ed) who had the dubious honour of drinking a boxful of beer. That’s a cricket box, not a cardboard one. 

A game well worth repeating.