Mere Cricket Club Mere CC v Horningsham on Wed 23 May 2012 at 6.15pm
Mere Cricket Club Lost by one run

Match report It was a perfect, balmy May evening in complete contrast to the recent monsoons that had swept our fair isle. The prospect of playing cricket on such a perfect evening had brought out boyish grins on the faces of all the seasoned amateurs gathered together for the inaugural Mere vs HorningshamT20 match. It almost didn’t matter what the outcome of the game would be, it was just heavenly to be there.

To those of you uninitiated in the ways of midweek T20 cricket in Mere, I must first explain how our midweek captain, Mark Williams, runs the operation.

First, the batting order is selected at random by the drawing of one of eleven playing cards. Mysteriously, the four of spades has never yet been drawn by anyone other than Mark himself, presumably just a quirk of fate. Similarly, some people are magentically drawn to other numbers. Sean Harkin, the Tottenham Turner/Tonker, has drawn the eight of spades, again. “Why is it I always get the eight?” he asked politely. It also means that your best batsmen can find themselves batting in unusual positions, for instance Matt Pitts, one of the Eton three and one of our most prolific batsmen found himself at nine. Conversely, Sunday debutant Ed Ford found himself facing the first ball. A wonderful left arm seamer he is, a batsman he would heartily agree, he is not. I have seen less startled rabbits in headlights than the way Ed looked with that Ace in his hands.

But losing the toss meant the batting part all had to wait for now. And this brings us to the second of the captain’s predilections: that everyone will bowl two overs. The Horningsham captain, the ever gracious Angus, gently explained that there were a few in his side that it was just plain embarrassing to allow to bowl, but he would keep everyone else to a maximum of three overs if we didn’t mind awfully. We didn’t mind. Maybe he would come around to the idea.

With that, the game was afoot, not before the employment of a substitute fielder to field in the place of Lewis, presumably late because he was attending the scene of another gruesome murder in the Oxford area. The subfielder, one Will Batty-Smith (remember that name) was called immediately into action taking a catch at mid on in the first over. Emily Wakeling was the bowler, the tactic of putting the opening batsman off his stride by employing a female opening bowler was paying dividends yet again. It paid further dividends an over later when the chivalrous nature of Horningsham’s own batmaker (using a lump of wood you could have constructed the Mary Rose from) generously dragged one from two foot wide onto his stumps. Nice lot this Horningsham crowd.

The bowling was good, the fielding was sharp (with the notable exception of the Sunday captain claiming not to see one out of the trees off your author’s bowling, an early ploy of his to stay in the hunt for the bowling prize methinks) and wickets were taken at regular intervals. Special mention in the bowling department going to Kev Tealy whose variation in flight and pace combined with smart field placement makes the teabag a real threat, and he duly took three wickets. The first of these wickets was a really clever piece of bowling. Firstly, two high loopy deliveries that frustrated the Horningsham captain Angus as they returned to earth, bounced approximately 3cms rendering them unplayable for the big shot Angus had in his lit up eyes. The third delivery slightly quicker and flatter beat the batsman as he advanced down the track determined to make hay this time, and it was left for Cassidy Snr to take a smart stumping before Angus could recover his ground. Therein endeth your first lesson Angus.

Special mention in the bowling department also goes to Matt Pitts who sent down two very tidy overs and mopped up two wickets into the bargain.

Horningsham had been dismissed in the last over for 79. At half time, the general consensus was that Mere were in the box seats. Horningsham, like a Tory candidate in Glasgow, were all but prepared to concede defeat before the ballot boxes were open. They attempted a range of brave faces, but four an over, they felt, was a wholly inadequate target.

Thanks to the vagaries of Mark Williams batting order selection, Mere sent out the Sunday captain and a nightwatchman to open the innings. The nightwatchman soon returned, his job successfully done. Ings and Williams didn’t waste much of the scorers ink either, but what was already clear was that the Horningsham ‘keeper was prepared to attempt a stumping at any opportunity. Furthermore, subtlety was not his forte. On more than one occasion the stumps were completely flattened; one admired his enthusiasm.

Whitmore joined Weir at the crease at 6-3 with the thread of hope dangled in front of Horningsham’s noses. Whitmore would have paid good money for a run having managed only two all season, and rumours of a personalised ‘Duck Boy’ tee shirt were abound. However, by putting pressure on the fielders with some sharp running, the runs accumulated and Mere had caught up with the run rate by the time Whitmore was dismissed giving the Horningsham slip fielder some catching practice. By this point however, Horingsham had employed the better half of their bowling attack and their thread of hope had once again disappeared from view.

Little known to the Mere team, the Horningsham captain was undergoing a series of intense internal struggles. On the one hand, the whole Mere team bowled and the honourable thing would be to mirror that, on the other, Mere were cruising, with their most destructive player, Pitts, yet to come (and why on earth were they keeping him back?) so it would surely be suicide to let the less able bowlers bowl. He decided to try a couple.

Tealey came and went and Weir donated his wicket to a good cause, bringing Cassidy and Harkin to the crease together once again with 29 needed from nine overs. The bowling was now generous, but after the comic running antics between these two on Sunday, no chances were being taken. Quick runs were off the menu. Cassidy took 21 balls to get off the mark. Harkin took one, a trademark howitzer of a shot back over the bowlers head, one bounce, four.Harkin went on to make 16, continuing his run of excellent form with the bat.

The bowling was ‘loopy’, and Cassidy, still there, began to practice for his audition in Riverdance, skipping up the wicket and scampering back, often more than once in the same delivery. This sent the enthusiastic ‘keeper into spasms of activity, rearranging the stumps in his preferred formation, spread-eagled on the floor. Cassidy later told us that this ploy was part of the intensive winter coaching, to come down the wicket to put off the bowler. The hole in this theory was blown when it was pointed out that all his dancing had been done after the bowler had released the ball. The shadows lengthen, and Cassidy is eventually out (scored 1 from 25 deliveries).

By the time the final four overs are due, Mere need 15 from them,and Angus has relented to the pressures of teammates and the evidence of the previous four overs when the runs had dried up, albeit thanks largely to the overly cautious running approach taken by the Cassidy/Harkin partnership.Furthermore, he’s still convinced it’s a lost cause anyway as Pitts has now finally arrived at the crease (what kept him?). So the ball is handed to the Tippett father and son combination.

Harkin is deceived by a loopier one, and Pitts miscues one back to the bowler, a mixture of frustration and disbelief etched in every fragment of his body language. Last two are at the crease though and still nine wanted from the last two and a half overs. Our hopes now rested on Emily and Lewis. That thread of hope was once again dangling in front of the Horningsham fielders, and the Tippetts kept bowling.Three from the penultimate over left six runs to win from the last. Lewis on strike. Magically, mysteriously,marvellously he clubbed the second one for four; Lewis' turn to be the hero. Two to win, one to tie, four balls left.Then, mysteriously (though not in a good way this time), he chose to come down the wicket to the next one. He obviously hadn’t been practicing as hard for the Riverdance auditions as Cassidy as he didn’t make it back in time, the enthusiastic ‘keeper eventually had his moment, proving that perseverance can pay off.

Somehow, Horningsham had won by one run. They came off the field slightly bemused, not quite understanding what had happened. It didn't matter: all 22 players had bowled and batted, the game had gone into the final over with every result still possible. There's something to be said for the way Williams organizes T20 evening cricket in Mere. However, Angus , their captain, was later to be seen muttering to himself, miming loopy bowling actions and shaking his head in a slow, melancholy way.


Horningsham Batting
Player name RunsMB4s6sSR
2w 10b  
for 10 wickets
79 (19.4 overs)
  ct  sub (Batty-Smith), Wakeling 1
  b  Ings 5
  st  Cassidy, b Tealey 31
  ct  , b Harkin 0
  b  Harkin 0
  b  Tealey 5
  Not Out  10
  b  Tealey 1
  run out  (Weir) 4
  ct  & Bwld Pitts 8
  b  Pitts 0

Mere Cricket Club Mere CC Bowling

Player NameOversMaidensRunsWicketsAverageEconomy
Emily Wakelin2.00818.004.00
Kevin Whitmore2.00700.003.50
Glen Ings2.00414.002.00
Sean Harkin2.00623.003.00
Duncan Weir2.00900.004.50
Lewis Wood2.00900.004.50
Kevin Tealey2.00431.332.00
Ed Ford2.01100.000.50
Mark Williams2.00900.004.50
Matt Pitts2.001125.505.50

Mere Cricket Club Mere CC Batting
Player Name RMB4s6sSRCatchesStumpingsRun outs
for 10 wickets

(19.3 overs)
Ed Ford Bowled  0
Duncan Weir ct  & bwld 35 1
Glen Ings Bowled  1
Mark Williams Lbw  0
Kevin Whitmore Caught  9
Kevin Tealey Bowled  0
Mark Cassidy Bowled  1 25 4.00 1
Sean Harkin Bowled  16
Matt Pitts ct  & bwld 4 1
Emily Wakelin Not Out  1
Lewis Wood Stumped  7

Horningsham Bowling

Player nameOversMaidensRunsWicketsAverageEconomy
No records to display.