Strawberry vs Faire 2016 - Report
Much like Woy’s squad for the Euros, the Faire side that travelled to Eton was a curious one: a couple of intriguing debutants, some decorated veterans, and one or two (myself included) just glad to be in the mix! After the centuries, wickets and utter domination of the first two fixtures, could the return to Mespots 2 continue the stellar start Faire had got off to in 2016? Comfortably: in the end, it turned out to be one of the most amusing and enjoyable fixtures in Faire history.
After fixing to bat first, Olie Hunt and Toby Joy watchfully saw off the first few overs before Toby was ‘officially’ adjudged LBW by the Eton umpire! Nick Daly came in and, with his fan club on the boundary, formed a very solid partnership with Hunt, teasing the cherry through the gaps, and lashing onto anything rank or short. When Nick fell for 47, Hunt upped his game, pummelling the Eton attack, and later reached his fifty with a magnificently agricultural sweep for 6. Ed Hughes (on debut) was an excellent foil, dashing through for the singles and thwacking the ball to the boundary several times for a quick-fire 34. When Hunt holed out for 69, Ed de Minckwitz and Max Barley both swung their bat magnificently, meaning Faire finished on a respectable 182-5 from their 30 overs.
A scrumptious tea over with, the lack of a regular keeper looked a problem for Faire, but Sammy Hanrahan valiantly stepped up and took the WK gloves. A fiery opening pace attack of Benj Walton and Alex Greaves was always going to cause problems, but the first wicket came from an unexpected source. Fielding has never been Faire’s strong suit, with dozens, nay hundreds of runs being let through the legs of many a Faire player since 2012. But May 14th 2016 brought not one, not two, not three but FOUR run outs in a scintillating display of agility which would’ve made Jonty Rhodes proud. Nunn’s ferocious cut to cover point was skilfully swept up by Ed Hughes, who in one movement turned and executed a pinpoint throw to Sammy behind the stumps. Sangster run out, 12-1.
The intensity of the Walton/Greaves bombardment began to constrain the Etonians, and Greaves was rewarded for consistency, getting his maiden Faire wicket with a brutal toe-crushing yorker. The incoming Featherstonhaugh certainly looked set to hit big, but only lasted one ball before being thwarted by the quick thinking of Toby Joy at short cover: 2nd run out, 28-3. Ashton, however, was looking comfortable at the crease, and played some handsome strokes in a steady partnership with Weir. The twirly spin of Rob Ponti and the niggling line of Joy brought more chances for Faire but the mishits found gaps and the batsmen prospered. Finally, an unplayable over from Joy frustrated Weir who swung and missed a straight one. 62-4.
Hunt and Daly, brought on to halt the march of Ashton, were steady but wicketless initially, before Daly rattled the stumps twice in an over, dealing a fatal blow to Strawberry’s chances. Ashton brought up a much deserved fifty before a Hughes throw/attempted runout evaded de Minckwitz at the bowler’s end, landed in the hands of Joy who hurled the ball with all his might to obliterate the stumps at the other end. An excellent innings only brought to an end by a comedy of errors. Hughes did find time to nab another dismissal running around from mid-on to run out Martin, but he wasn’t the man to finish off the sixth-formers.
Max Barley, cleverly varying the pace of the old ball, outmanoeuvred the Eton Nos 10 and 11 with an exquisite over of medium slow. First, he forced Weatherby to play onto his stumps, before serving up a subtly juicy long hop, which was dispatched straight into the hands of Daly at mid-wicket.
Strawberry all out for 130, another victory, Faire undefeated in 2016 and a fantastic team performance to boot. Bring on the White-Sox…..
---- A. B. Stobbs