BARFORD 221 for 8
TGCC 189 for 9

Perfect weather, a dry track and delightful opposition.  It’s 12:55 and the 1pm start is delayed as we have seven f***ing players.  Tom Husselby and George Wilcox have every excuse, being roped in from Ashorne at the 11th hour, the latter conspicuously avoiding daylight and a naked flame given his alcohol consumption the night before – and great games they both had.  Others blamed their grandparents and god-knows what.

We started with 10 at 1:20 (fielding of course) with Howard Benjamin from one end and Killian pressed into action off his longer run up from the other.    And, petty much untroubled, Barford’s Drage and Pearson ticked along at a hearty clip of five and a half an over and we looked very ordinary indeed.   The captain didn’t offer much more than putting yet more gullys in place and 78 for 0 off 14 only slowed down when the excellent Husselby trapped two of them leg before, 111 for 2 at drinks.  Essentially, far too many boundaries were conceded as Grafton simply watched the ball fly to all parts looking on rather incredulously that it wasn’t going to hand.  The pick of the bowlers though came with an outstanding spell from the now sobering Wilcox (8-32-2) bowling with a bit more pace and line and the rejuvenated Adam Kirk who netted four wickets.  Williams behind the stumps was at his erratic best as Barford finished 221-8…….gettable.

Whilst the bar was not set particularly high in the field, it was quite different at the tea table.  I have never seen all bases covered so emphatically.  The table groaned under the resplendent weight of every variety of savoury, meat and even a cheeky little vegetarian quiche for the more discerning diner.  You could carefully combine green, beige, pink and brown in a jamboree that will not be matched this side of Dumbleton this season.

And the reply.  Lewis, ensured of an opening berth until mid June, opened with Young and was unluckily dismissed without score .  Leading edge, right shot, slow pitch, goodnight.  Husselby came in at three and, known for ‘getting on with it’, did just that.  31 rapid runs later he played all round a straight one, followed by more brief outings for Killian (an indecorous heave for 5) and Wilcox (miscuing) for 7, but against very tight, quality bowling from Jack Hawkins and Lingfield.   A bizarre cameo from Conway who invented a new mode of dismissal, ‘had to go home’ for 3, followed by Williams (6) to leave home debutant Peter Law and Young scampering the runs.  When Young finally went for 58 with the required run rate steepling, the game was up.  Law went for 4, Kirk for 6 leaving Benjamin and Thompson to chase an impossible 50ish in 4 overs – and very comfortable they both looked too.  And so at 6:26 we all trooped off at 184 for 9 and handshakes all round.  But then Grafton’s captain, umpiring at square leg, pointed out that it couldn’t possibly be the end of the game as the ‘last’ over had been bowled from the end of the first over.  Cue much pouring over the scorebook as an attempt was made to establish whether Barford had bowled 39 or indeed 41 overs, how many runs had been scored (the byes tally looked like someone had dropped straws) and whether Conway’s departure counted as a wicket.  But bugger me with a titanium tipped marlin spike, the scorebook had a mere 37 overs recorded as bowled, as the combined genius of Grafton’s A level students, Britain’s future, had royally blundered.  Barford then verbally accounted bowler by bowler who had bowled as the evening descended in to farce.  Their account, which I have no reason to dispute, put it at 39 and out we went again at 6:33 as Howard Benjamin was absolutely not to be denied dropping his bat on six more balls.  Seven deliveries later Thompson (15) and Benjamin (7), both red-inkers, walked off.  TG approximately 185 for approximately 9 off approximately 40 overs.  Jesus.

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