Refreshers v Philanderers (II), Sunday 6 September 2020

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A sunny September Sunday saw the Refreshers arrive at the glorious Exning Park, outside Newmarket, for a new fixture, against the Philanderers (the other Philanderers, apparently: we played, and beat, a different set of Philanderers in July – see match report). Talking of other sides, our early arrivals were alarmed to meet a third cricket team at the ground, expecting a fixture there; happily for us, they had got their dates wrong and were not due to play until the following weekend. They headed off back down the M11 and we prepared to play.

The pitch looked very well looked-after and a decent track to bat on, so upon winning the toss we did exactly that. Sachin started at his characteristic pace but was undone by the slightly sticky pitch and skied one early on. Stewart did precisely the same, to the same fielder, a few balls later; and when Jory saw the umpire’s finger raised for one he was confident wasn’t hitting, we were in some difficulty. Clapp then slapped a half-volley to a fielder for 19 and we were 27-4. Cannon and Bell steadied the ship, putting on 50, before Bell fell to a full toss which hit him square in the box. After an ill-timed drinks break, Cannon was unable to keep out an in-ducker from the Philanderer’s elder statesman Pearson, and fell for 36; the said Pearson proceeded to dismiss the remains of the Refreshers line-up cheaply, bowling genuinely astonishing in-swing, and we limped to 104 all out.

It was clear this was never enough, and despite a very steady opening spell from Bell pere et fils, including 2 wickets for Harry, the Philanderers’ 3 and 4 soon opened their shoulders and knocked the runs off without further setback. An excellent ground, and with some more application and an extra bowler or two, this could prove to be a very competitive fixture next year, played in a very good spirit. I have promised to return and attempt to even the scores in 2021.

JC

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