Mere Cricket Club Mere CC v Motcombe on Sun 28 Apr 2013 at 2.00
Mere Cricket Club Lost by 6 wickets

Match report Our first home match of the new campaign saw our closest neighbours (we would say friends but they still have our roller) Motcombe visit the Duchy Manor Oval on what could only be described as a cold overcast and rather un-cricket like day. As the keen enthusiastic Mere eleven began to turn up, the conversation began to turn to the rumours surrounding our newest acquisition to the club Mr Ben not those rumours but the ones surrounding his cricketing pedigree. Some had seen him in the nets a week earlier with an MDF bat from Sports Direct, and although his equipment was called into question, his technique was certainly not. Someone was heard to say "he's played at a much higher level" and before long the rumour mill had him opening with Boycott against the Windies and all our hopes of a league winning season had been pinned on the broad shoulders of our new incumbent who some of us had even yet to meet.

The other burning topic of conversation was of course the likely standard of the season's first tea. We shouldn't have worried.....just as Captain Weir had put his faith in his favoured opening partnership of Cassidy and Harkin following an astounding winning toss, he had also chosen a safe pair of hands for the tea, in the shape of his lovely and culinary capable wife Sophie. The rumour mill already had homemade lemon drizzle cake and lobster canap├ęs on the menu (you know how these former public schoolboys/MCC members/solicitors like the finer things)...but all would be revealed around 4.30pm unless a batting collapse had occurred.

So Cassidy Snr and Harkin Snr (they shall be known by this for the forthcoming season so they are not mixed up with Cassidy and Harkin junior who are far more capable in the batting/bowling duties than their esteemed Paters) strode out to bat on what looked an excellent batting surface. Hard, very green and true, the astroturf looked in good nick for the first game.

Motcombe opened up with the turncoat Rutherford, captaining his home village side against his paymasters for the second time. Cassidy look assured and comfortable, his trademark straight bat from ball one frustrating the Motcombe attack as they probed and prodded to no avail. Watching Cassidy and Harkin bat is like chalk and cheese, caviar and fishpaste, Harrods and Lidl...two opposing end of the spectrum as Cassidy is content to tickle and caress, to guide and steer whereas Harkin's thirst for runs is only quenched by the shots he has come to make his own..the bludgeon, the forehand heave, the southpaw jab over long on and of course his trademark Harkin Leave always following any shot that has required the completion of two runs.

Harkin went for 9 bowled Rutherford senior after 2 fours and a single off 9 balls which bought Captain Weir to the crease. Cassidy content to surrender the strike to the graceful stroke play of Captain Weir took on the anchor role and nurdled, nudged and nibbled his way to a quickfire 9 off only 43 balls which brought a rousing round of applause from his teammates as he trudged off to be replaced by someone who looked like he might actually make contact with the ball. On for his home debut came Skipworth, MDF bat underarm as the hushed crowd in the Tony Traves stand awaited his first ball. Sighs of relief as he dispatched his first ball for two and then questionable looks as his pace over 22 yards was not that of the international cricketer we had been led to believe he'd once been. By this time Weir was going along nicely adding swiftly to the platform set by Cassidy and Harkin and in no time was holding his bat aloft to take the applause for his first 50 of the season. He looked well set only to toss one up gently to mid on shortly after to depart on 53.

This heralded the arrival of Yeo Jnr...not to be confused with Yeo VSnr who not only doesn't bowl or bat as well as Yeo Jnr but is also a different gender. Becky who's well known as a scamperer of quick singles and is the scourge of all of us over 40's who have had the pleasure of batting with her, took to the crease with the impressive Skipworth at the other end. She forgot that men of a certain age don't always do things in a hurry and as she turned for the second run after a tickle down to 3rd man, her partner was only just approaching the crease after his first. He turned saw young Yeo heading down the track already, and in a display of machismo and bravado, put on an extra spurt of pace, which saw him pull up like a lame horse in the national...his ageing hamstring having been out of the game for ten years (his catchphrase) deciding it wasn't up to the task. Luckily he got home, the throw not being a good one and rested in severe pain on his MDF crutch.

Knowing looks exchanged between his colleagues in the pavilion..we'd all been there...the knowledge that with age the body slows down and no amount of deep heat rubbed on old muscles prior to the game will roll back the years and transform you into Mere's answer to Usain Bolt (especially after being out of the game for ten years). "Ice pack? Heat pad? A&E? Cup of Tea? More deep heat?" all the questions were shouted out by his concerned teammates toward the stricken Skipworth.
"Hang on there a moment" was the cry from Yeo Snr (treasurer)....has he paid his subs yet?...before we go offering medical supplies..I've probably got a bag of peas in the freezer at home if he hasn't".
It transpired that with subs paid and accounts in order, medical assistance would be provided but at the end of the innings only. Becky, thought best of it and lobbed an easy one up to the bowler to take her leave, leaving her stricken partner to it. Yeo Snr took to the field...the only player that could still make Skipworth look quick over 22 yards even in his condition. Skipworth,in no mood to take singles or twos then stood firm and took on the Harkin philosophy of whacking the ball to the boundary with the occasional leave for good measure. Eventually caught out in the deep on 20 the new recruit limped off to polite applause and stifled giggles from his "concerned" colleagues.
The young Batty Smith (watch out for the name) took guard and scored an impressive 26 including 5 fours in a quickfire knock of 26..William is one of our great crop of up and coming youngsters who is sure to be forging a place in the side on a regular basis after this confident display. Mere finished on 154 with two balls to spare....not a great total but one they felt that could be defended as they entered the pavilion for the much anticipated Weir tea.

We've had some interesting teas over the years, some of the more memorable including Glen's chilli cheese surpises, Kev's cunning use of fishpaste and Mr Whitmore's legendary fresh fruit and celery stick ensembles that are sure to impress the health conscious amongst any Sunday cricket side. I can say however that the Weir's tea served up not one but two memorable culinary experiences. Sophie's homemade lemon drizzle cake really should feature somewhere in the great British Bake-off or some such cooking awards...a heavenly moist coming together of delicate sponge, sharp yet sweet nectar of lemon, the crunch of crystallised really has it all. Duncan's twist on the ham sandwich using gluten free seeded bread(because Waitrose delivered it by mistake) was however a grave mistake that others would be wise not to repeat.
Gluten free bread has it's place in society and no doubt plays an important part in the diet and enjoyment of food for those who have an intolerance to the stuff but it really has no place at a cricket tea. At first glance it looked like posh brown bread with little seeds (most of us like a bit of brown bread every now and again...seeds are for budgies let's leave it there) but put the two together and you'll always divide opinion. Serve up seeded brown bread that doesn't possess any qualities of normal bread ie Gluten and crumbles to dust in your mouth leaving you feeling like someone's shoved sawdust in your gob should not sit at the same table as lovely Sophie's Lemon Drizzle masterpiece. Polite "ooh what's this then" as cricketers spluttered on dusty ham was soon followed by a rush to the tea station where second and third cups were taken to wash the offending particles down. Lesson to be learned...if Waitrose in error deliver any of the following foodstuffs to your door and you have the honour of preparing the cricket tea that week-end please do not be tempted to bestow them upon us.

Lactose Free Milk
Onion Bahjis (we've had them somewhere else and it wasn't on a tour of India or on a Friday doesn't go with tea and cake)
Any of your posh teas (Darjeeling, Assam, Earl Grey)...unless of course you're only going to let one of your posh ex-private school chums drink it.

With tea consumed Mere took to the field...those who had consumed one to may gluten free dust bombs knowing why you wear special masks when dismantling asbestos sheds.

Cook and Johnstone started brightly for Motcombe with the former looking in fine nick, keeping up with the required rate from the off. Ed "scores on the doors" Ford took his first scalp with a corking inswinger which removed the off-bail of Johnstne bringing the turncoat captain out to the middle.

Rutherford's is a prized scalp....he buckles his swash with the exuberance of youth...he too a product of the private school system without the cravate or pocketwatch of say a Charlie White. He's never scored well when playing against us and the Mere fielders took delight at sledging the young toff from the first ball. He struggled to find any rhythm from the off and got increasingly frustrated as he was pegged back by some impressive pace bowling by his soon to be replacement in the side, the young Batty-Smith (a fine comprehensive name), eventually giving the young bowler a straightforward caught and bowled.

Joined at the crease by Johnson, Cook then cruised past 50 and his new partner started brightly and made a swift 46 before being run out by Batty Smith and Cassidy. Skipworth (Sicknote) was really struggling in the field with every ball seeming to come his way but Mere were hanging on and if they'd have held a couple more catches would have taken control. Things were looking tight as Kerley and Madel looked to steer Motcombe home, and they made the most of every opportunity to sneak a single when offered. Eventually the pairing saw Motcombe home in the last over and Mere were left to reflect on what might have been.

A game played in good spirits, all retired to the fine hostelry which is The Walnut Tree where the finest landlord in Wiltshire treated one and all to some after match nibbles which he made sure were all full of gluten to redress the balance.

Mere Cricket Club Mere CC Batting
Player Name RunsMB4s6sSRCtStRo
8w 15b 1lb 
for 10 wickets

(39.4 overs)
Mark Cassidy b N Kerley 9 43 20.93
Sean Harkin b I Rutherford 9 12 2 75.00
Duncan Weir ct C Madel b S Johnson 53 79 7 67.09 1
Ben Skipworth ct C Madel b N Kerley 20 23 3 86.96
Rebecca Yeo ct & b S Johnson 2 11 18.18
Bryan Yeo b S Johnson 6 14 1 42.86
William Batty Smith b D Rutherford 26 35 5 74.29 1 1
Jason Harvey Run out  4 13 30.77
Ed Ford ct & b J Cook 1 5 20.0
Lewis Wood Not Out  0 1 0
Jack Harvey b D Rutherford 0 1 0

Motcombe Bowling

Player nameOversMaidensRunsWicketsAverageEconomy
J Cook8.0125125.003.12
I Rutherford3.0019119.006.33
D Rutherford7.421527.501.96
D Greenough6.003100.005.17
N Kerley8.011728.502.13
S Johnson7.0031310.334.43

Motcombe Batting
Player name RMB4s6sSR
1nb 6w 4b  
for 4 wickets
157 (39.1 overs)
J Cook ct D Weir b S Harkin 59
A Johnstone b E Ford 11
D Rutherford ct & b W Batty-Smith 6
S Johnson run out (W Batty-Smith) 46
N Kerley Not Out  15
C Madel Not Out  9
G Cassidy  
I Rutherford  
A Bryant  
D Greenough  
S Harrison  

Mere Cricket Club Mere CC Bowling

Player NameOversMaidensRunsWicketsAverageEconomy
Rebecca Yeo8.003100.003.87
Bryan Yeo8.021900.002.37
Ed Ford8.0033133.004.13
Lewis Wood2.001600.008.00
William Batty Smith3.00818.002.67
Sean Harkin6.1313113.002.11
Jack Harvey2.001800.009.00
Duncan Weir2.001500.007.50