The Authors vs Faire 2016 - Report
Headline: A game that lived up to expectations. A late display of remarkable team character made for a loss that almost felt like a win.
Pre-amble: Faire made the trip to idyllic Warborough in Oxfordshire this weekend, taking on The Authors XI in a symbolic battle between words and sounds. Despite the perpetual threat of rain, thunder and what appeared to be an eclipse, play got underway just after 2pm. Iconic captain A Stobbs whipped out the double headed coin and made the sensible decision to bat on a balanced looking wicket.
Faire Innings: C Stobbs and Hunt opened and got off to a flier against an attack spearheaded by the furioso John Sutton. Both played some resplendent drives through cover, before Stobbs flicked one a touch too delicately and Hunt got one that reportedly moved four or five yards off the seam. This took P Stobbs to the crease, with his usual elegance and refinement: every inch the 1920s Wisden wet dream. He started off neatly, but couldn't quite carry it on against some tight bowling from The Authors. Stephen came in and started his innings strongly by smashing an eight year old into the waiting hands of the keeper and refusing to walk. However he capitalised on his chance with the kind of batsmanship the global fan base have come to expect, building a score that cemented the innings. He was unlucky to get out in the early 80s. MEA Potter (sporting his now traditional dark- trainers look) had originally joined Stephen as the foil but, following that dismissal, he took control and added the valuable last movement to the Faire concerto. Despite yet another well made fifty, he might have put on a few more in the last overs with McDonald, had he realised it was 35 over game not a 40 over one. With 198 on the board versus their original target of 200, Faire could be forgiven for thinking that it was going their way.
Authors innings: As a bus full of eager fans turned up to enjoy the Faire attack in full swing, Chance (now entirety incognito in the role of shaggy from Scooby Doo) opened up with increasingly unfit Elwell. Both bowled quite tightly and the Author's openers hung in well, until Chance took the wicket of McGowan, well snaffled by C Stobbs. They were replaced by the now heavily coached athlete Kanagasooriam, who sent down an array of toppies, leggies, googlies (and one delivery that rotates on a plane as yet unrecognised by the scientific community) and Harris who bowled with his usual precision and exquisite theatre. Today's pick however was surely Hunt, who turned it square and created countless chances with little reward. There would’ve been success for Olie, had it not been for the worst drop in Faire history from the skipper (as we all know, it’s up against pretty stiff competition). In the end Owen and McGann put on a solid hundred partnership. Though the older of the two jokingly asked for a runner, his flowing bat offset the quick hands of the other and they looked quite capable of ruining the day for Faire.
Suddenly, the breakthrough came: a lightning boundary throw from P Stobbs straight into the hands of his elder brother spelt the end of McGann, before a catch at long on by McDonald off Kanagasooriam and another off Harris evened out the proceedings. Elwell came back on for his last two and managed to get Sutton having finally made the batsman play at one. The momentum had now turned and both teams watched in awe, as Chance took two in his over having seemingly put on an extra 30mph. With only one required to draw, Elwell got whacked off his first ball in the 35th over and the victory went to words over sound.
Teas: Strong effort and a good range (Faire always do very well for teas - most cricketing careers are otherwise littered with weak tea, cardboard crisps and sandwiches seemingly filled with the garlic infused semen of a burly Mediterranean man).
Conclusion: A thrilling match against a friendly opposition. Faire will rue their failure to break the 2nd and 3rd wicket partnerships sooner.
Next time: Faire go baiting, as they prepare for the annual battle against the Badgers.
----- G. E. ELWELL