2,3 June 1950 v The School

Col. Cartwright won the toss and elected to make the School bat on what looked like a plumb wicket_ His policy seemed to have been justified when the School lost two wickets for sixteen, both Montagu and Sellar being beaten by good balls from Pelham who was bringing the ball back appreciably. Ingleby-Mackenzie and Watney stemmed the tide for a time in a useful half-century stand before the former tried his favourite cut stroke to a ball too straight for it and was well held at second slip.

Immediately after lunch Watney, after a patient and valuable innings, was brilliantly caught at short leg to make the score 84-4. This brought Gardiner-Hill into partnership with Metaxa and these two set about pulling things round. At this point Byass bowled three avers of doubtful length which were pounced on with relish by the two best cutters and hookers in the School. Once they had their eyes in there was no holding them and runs came at a quick rate. After a good stand, Gardiner-Hill finally put one into gully’s hands, bringing his fine innings to a close. The School were now well on top and aided by Wadham and Eckersley, who both played useful innings, Metaxa cut and drove the tiring bowling all over the field. No praise is high enough for his innings, marred by only one difficult chance, and it was he who began to take the initiative for the School after a slow start.

After tea rain held up play for over an hour, so that after a brief spell of hitting by Eckersley and Metaxa, in which the latter completed his century, Guthrie declared, leaving the Ramblers with forty minutes’ batting that night. The School’s opening bowlers bowled extremely well, and gave Walker and Naylor-Leyland an uncomfortable time; and the former snicked one high to second slip, where Gardiner-Hill made a good catch.

On Saturday there was still some moisture in the wicket and it was uncertain how much help the School bowlers would receive. It remained easy paced, however, throughout the day, although very occasionally the spinners made one turn sharply. It soon became appallingly hot, making the School bowlers’ task a hard one, and Guthrie, probably wisely, relied on his spinners to do most of the work, only bowling his pace men in short bursts. Naylor-Leyland was soon out and Rudd joined Newman at the wicket. There followed a good stand, full of beautiful strokes all round the wicket, and marred only by the fact that the few chances that were offered, notably at slip and behind the wicket, were missed. Newman finally got a good one from Wall, and Rudd was joined by Allen. A long stand followed in which Allen revealed that, despite neuritis, he is still a very good batsman. Finally Rudd holed out at square leg and Allen was bowled off his glove by a good ball from Guthrie. Col. Cartwright then made a sporting declaration, which allowed time, at least, for brighter cricket. Under the fearsome heat the School bowlers stuck to their task admirably. Robins, although he did not get a wicket, bowled faultlessly, and only poor catching prevented him from getting a handful of wickets. All the fast bowlers bowled well, and again were unlucky, especially Wadham and Eckersley, in that Guthrie, at first slip, seemed to have lost his touch. Else- where, also, the School’s catching was not up to their best. Guthrie bowled well for long spells but the wicket was too unresponsive to force the batsman to make hurried strokes.

The School’s aim, obviously, was to make perhaps ninety runs quickly and set the Ramblers a difficult race against time to force a win, in which they might well not succeed. Runs came at a furious pace in the approved style against some tired bowling and with the aid of some fine golf-shots from Gardiner-Hill 105 was rattled up in fifty minutes, leaving the Ramblers 184 to get in ninety-five minutes. Some accurate bowling by the School made this impossible, and the wicket was still too easy to hope to get more than a very few of the Ramblers out in the time. Robins again bowled well and at last took a wicket. Byass bore a charmed life, but revealed, towards the end, some of his best strokes.