Strawberry vs Faire 2017 - Report
Pre-amble: Under the timeless gaze of College Chapel, Faire commenced their second match of the season against Strawberry. A game heavy in anticipation; when someone’s dad drove the family Jag to the edge of the cricket pitch, then reversed back a few yards just in case, many team members were visibly moved to nostalgia. With C. Stobbs taking the captain’s honours and Potter scarcely half an hour late, Faire took to the crease to bat in a light wind, beneath the unseasonably warm sun.
Pitch: A balanced looking but slow surface, with an outfield cut fine. A colour almost identical to O. Barley’s frankly magnificent linen suit, suggested a high sand component both in pitch and outfield. This made for more twos and threes than many of the team might have liked.
Faire Innings: Ponti got Faire off to a solid start, playing a sensible and measured innings, with all the grace the global fan base expects. When he was joined by Stephen, the run rate took a leap and despite the lack of pace in the wicket boundaries were scored. Before anyone knew it, Stephen had sauntered in for yet another 50. Once he departed, P. Stobbs played in his typical swashbuckling fashion, before some excellent fielding and a direct hit cost him his wicket. Never one to be ruffled, Potter made some good runs too – his blue trainers a slight improvement on last year’s black – but after a good ball took his balance, Faire were left sitting precariously. Unfortunately, events became reminiscent of the Pink Elephants match, as too many wickets were sold cheaply. With 133 on the board and local experts suggesting par of about 180, Faire knew they would need to be at their very best, to keep their chances afloat.
Strawberry Innings: Chance and Elwell opened up and it became quickly apparent that Strawberry had some very capable batsmen. The openers played complimentary roles – a stockier chap driving hard and a smaller boy who preferred to guide the ball. With Elwell suffering a rather pathetic thigh injury, the pair picked him apart, amassing runs at a real rate. Greaves sent down some corkers and slowed things up, but even some beautiful bowling from Hunt and predictably tidy overs from P. Stobbs couldn’t quite dull the sword of youth. Fortunately for Faire, that same sword is double edged: flourishing and impetuous. Thanks to the insightful and aggressive captaincy of C. Stobbs, bowlers were brought back on at just the right moments and fielders seemed to be placed precisely underneath high balls. Chance returned, taking a flurry of vital wickets (including a scintillating Yorker) and Bennett made inroads too. With the sun disappearing, the score board informed the thousands present that Strawberry required one to win, while only one wicket remained. Guards were taken and psychological games were played, but ultimately Strawberry held their nerve and took the spoils.
Teas: A spectacular affair involving flapjack, brownies and rather magnificent éclair shaped things: most likely éclairs.
Conclusion: Though Faire will be ultimately disappointed by the result, especially at such a fine margin, they can be pleased with the character and resolve they displayed in the final portion of the Strawberry innings. They might console themselves in the observation that, while they did lose to some school children, they were at least able to go to a bar that wasn’t Tap, and order a proper drink.
--- GE ELWELL