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Jul 14

Bardchester Chronicles

Romeo+and+Juliet++PNGTwo cricket teams, both alike in dignity,
In fair Grantchester, where we lay our scene
From ancient grudge break to new mutiny (in 35 overs per side)

[With apologies to the Bard]

Yes, there’s a classical theme to this match report – not just because the words of a mere 21st century hack can barely do justice to this match, but also because your scribe was forced – by prior arrangement (this being a Saturday) to leave the enthralling contest before its climax in order to see an open-air production of Romeo and Juliet.

Any gaps have been filled in by the keen memories of those who were there for the game entire, for this, once again, was the stuff of legends

It being a beautiful summer’s day, Spring Lane lived up to its billing as the finest village cricket ground thanks to toil in the heatwave by sometime captain and all-the-time head groundsman Steve Wilson.

Brettenham won the toss and – seeing a flat deck, in pristine condition, chose to bat first. Highlights of their innings were a majesterial 64 from P Barker, ably supported by a dashing half century from M Bradford. However, the demon pace of Grantchester’s captain A P Stafford who cleverly exploited some variable bounce to take 4 for 52, backed up by the emerging talent of F Wilson (3-36) on a quick wicket, restricted the visitors to 238 all out , having used just 32 of their allotted 35 overs.

G D’Oyly was outstanding in the field, taking two superb catches which more than made up for any early-season mishaps and confirmed his burgeoning reputation as something of a tiger in the close field.

After a sumptuous tea, designed to keep visiting teams sluggish in the field, Grantchester sent in their openers who – taking advantage of some increasingly raucous support (B Travers) – quickly made inroads into their target.
As is often the case at Spring Lane, J Anderson built a strong platform, falling just before posting his half century, but this just set the scene for another strong knock from all-rounder, T Lawes who contributed a feisty 46.
By popular acclaim the outstanding late performance came from O “Obelix” Grant whose 37 not out was his highest ever score and included three massive sixes and three fours – confirming the long-held opinion of many that Oli – like a latter-day Mike Gatting – is as good at seeing off a total as he is at polishing off tea. Quick between the wickets he may not be – but when he’s got his eye in, he’ll hurt you.

Meanwhile at the Fellows’ Garden at King’s College, some shouty Italians killed some other shouty Italians and a young bird topped herself. Frankly, it wasn’t cricket…

“These violent delights have violent ends,” quoth the Bard. He might have made a halfway decent cricket writer if he’d got his priorities right.

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