27 August 2016 v Sherborne Pilgrims

Safely returned from his yacht in the Med, Ed Maidment and ten other Ramblers (an achievement unmatched this year – apart from the Cricketer Cup and the Fourth of June) arrived on time to enable Ed to make the first of a number of hospitable actions towards the Pilgrims by losing the toss.

Fergus Boyd then produced one of the most remarkable bowling spells seen from the Triangle End of Upper Club for some time and half way through the eleventh over the Pilgrims were 43 for 5 (Boyd 5 for 23).

Pilgrim captain Alex Pusinelli and aggressive allrounder Tim Pope came together to seek to stabilise the innings but five overs later the Pilgrims had only advanced to 50 for 5 – and both had been dropped at slip. However both batsmen then took a shine to the change bowlers and had added 91 before Maidment – in a devastating tactical blow – produced a leg side full toss which the hapless skipper hit down long leg’s throat and departed amongst much muttering. Lunch was taken at 144 for 6 after which Pope went on his merry way, although a change of slip fielder did produce a sixth wicket for Boyd. Finally the noble Lord Wrottesley – the seventh bowler tried – had Pope caught behind second ball for 96 – the muttering was even louder – and was accompanied by an impressive display of bat juggling. However the Pilgrims were not finished – 63 runs were plundered off the last seven overs before the declaration came after 51 overs for 286 for 9. (Boyd 6 for 76, Wrottesley 2 for 37, the rest 1 for 167) 

Tim Pope then produced one of the most remarkable bowling spells seen from the Triangle End of Upper Club for some time (at least five hours) and half way through the eleventh over the Ramblers were 43 for 5 (Pope 5 for 23).This extraordinary coincidence is not a misprint or a “vain repetition” as condemned by St Matthew – Pope’s five for included a hat trick of Halstead, Steele and Ponti.

There, unfortunately,  the comparison between the innings stopped. The usually adhesive noble Lord went back when he should have gone forward – by his own admission – leaving the Ramblers needing 241 off the last 20 overs with a tail of Horne, Griffin, Boyd and Yerburgh (10 Rambler runs this reason of which Boyd had made 9) to assist the skipper

In the end – to his disbelief as well as all others – Boyd was not needed.  The wicket – and the bat of Horne – became deader and deader – as the sledging turned to repartee. “Come on they are trying to block this out” was followed by ” A very perceptive observation if I may say so” and the devastatingly accurate comment “Come on four balls will finish this”  produced the response “Something I have been very aware off for the last hour or so”. 

Eventually a singularly improbable 50 partnership was reached before Maidment – having been hit on the shoulder – pushed the next ball to the cordon of fielders which had surrounded both batsmen for forty minutes.

Charlie Griffin, however, has a reach even larger than that of his captain and after more prodding than has ever been seen in a round up of Dorset cattle the Ramblers ended only 180 short with three wickets left. 

It left some curious  final thoughts; firstly that anyone – yet alone all and sundry – could applaud Horne for batting for an hour for four singles – Boyd certainly did not deserve to end on the losing side – Pope was left to wonder what more he could have done and Alex Pusinelli was left to contemplate that one of the arts of a declaration match is knowing when to declare.

The match was played throughout in a splendid spirit – the Pilgrims might be contemplating the comments of assorted football managers over the years “We wuz robbed” as, for the sixth time, this season a Rambler draw had gone down to the last over.