20 July 2020 v Grannies

Eton Ramblers v The Grannies

July 26 2020 at Culham Court

 It was said of Barclays Bank, on the death of Sir Timothy Bevan, that it had “an arcane management structure which preserved the dominance of the founding fathers long after their combined shareholding in the bank had been reduced to insignificance. Bevan was a distinguished Eton Viking, but many others from the firm Barclay, Bevan, Tritton, Ransom, Bouverie and Co, who, together with the Gurney partnerships, founded Barclays Bank in 1896, have contributed much to the Ramblers since its inception.

Amongst the Ramblers to play in the first match against the Charterhouse in 1862 was Edward Tritton, who sat on the original Rambler committee. Nowadays his descendants – even if they are Ramblers (yes Charles it was noticed in 2016) – play against the club, and Felix Tritton, whose grandfather was a director of Barclays, is a welcome opponent with the Grannies.

As Eton was still not open Culham Court, kindly lent by Clifton Wrottesley, was only the fifth – and the furthest north – venue for one of the Ramblers oldest continuous fixtures.

At the toss the much appreciated decision was made to play a proper game of cricket, with the last hour to start at 5 pm; the Grannies batted first.  Two MacDonaghs opened the bowling and James struck at once; after eight overs both retired from the attack. Neither would be required again as Rory used ten bowlers, or perhaps more accurately ten persons who bowled. Six of them took wickets, starting with Dundas and Briggs, with two each, one for each had the not inconsiderable assistance of Nico MacDonagh. This left the Grannies 77 for 5; enter Matt Nichols in his Wanderers Shirt.

52 runs later the appearance of Ed Oram in the attack provoked a – perhaps predictable – shout of “Bowler’s name” – and he promptly took two wickets in his first over – the first of whom (Scott for 8)  broke a partnership of 50. However Felix Tritton proved another competent partner for Nichols, who particularly enjoyed the bowling of Wooding and Eckersley, until the last three wickets fell to the combination of Hardman – who also caught Nichols magnificently on the boundary – and Shaw (that is not a misprint). 187 was a fair target in the circumstances.

Shaw and Eckersley opened the batting and added 38. (One incident led to a vigorous discussion afterwards – the majority decided that Shaw was not obliged to walk for lbw even though – in his words – “I was absolutely plumb”).

Peter Eckersley went on serenely while others came and went. The beginning of the last hour saw the introduction of Mike Fernie, (a youthful 72) who promptly bowled Ed Oram, who was on his second (or third) shot when the ball arrived, and then had Eckersley caught – quite brilliantly – at deep square leg for a fine 79. MacDonaghs Rory and Nico then decided to play sensibly and take the Ramblers to victory, which they almost did.

However, with ten wanted both were bowled neck and crop, and in came Hector Hardman, a useful number nine under most circumstances, and Luke Briggs, famously a better striker with remus than pilum, who immediately offered a difficult chance to extra cover which went down.

Suddenly – and the spectators had a collective heart attack – Hector had a sudden attack of commonsense; he declined a single which would have got him off strike with three balls of the over to go. The next ball was struck sweetly over mid wicket for six and the Ramblers had prevailed by two wickets.

The legendary Tana and the MacDonaghs, who had made a serious – and much appreciated by all – attack on Waitrose prior to arrival – provided an excellent lunch.

Mark Pougatch, the secretary of the Grannies, wrote in 2016 that “the maxim of the Grannies is that the game is to be loved and to be shared and that there is no better sporting vehicle for fun and friendship. It was a day his father would have enjoyed, and it was good to see young Ramblers and young Grannies (and Mike Fernie) continuing that tradition.