Wincanton v Mere Cricket Club Mere CC on Sun 12 May 2013 at 2.00
Mere Cricket Club Lost by 1 wicket

Match report Anyone easily bored by my match reports should feel free to refer instead to Matt’s excellent report on our game against Horningsham last June. The main thrust is much the same although some of the detail does differ slightly.

I remember Horningsham last year very well. The subject came up during the week preceding this game against Wincanton when I met James Oborne from Horningsham. He is still of the opinion that us playing through the rain was one of the most good hearted and sporting things he’s ever witnessed. My wife put him straight in no uncertain terms: according to her we’re just mad. And for much of this particular afternoon I was inclined to agree with her – I suppose it had to happen sometime.

We all turned up at Wincanton having driven through pelting rain, conscious of the afternoon’s forecast, and I at least (and I suspect I was not alone), had my sights set on a long afternoon in the Walnut. The opposition appeared less than eager: the square was still roped off, they were huddled in the doorway of the pavilion and they appeared to be still waiting for some late arrivals.

In fact they were all present, 2 short on the day. Furthermore, the pitch, despite the best efforts of the rain was still fairly firm and definitely playable. So captain Weir trotted off to do the toss. I've just checked back through my previous match reports (hence this is late being published) and can confirm on no occasion have I reported that Weir won the toss – this report is no exception.

Before I proceed to the play itself, I should paint the picture of the playing arena: the outfield was plentiful, although the square is offset to one side (presumably to accommodate a football pitch on one side) and as such, the cow corner boundary from one end is on the small side. Ignoring GPS and laser technology, Ben ‘Skippy/Sicknote’ Skipworth pronounced it to be precisely 40 yards. Good runs could be harvested through that area and the top order batsmen were taking careful note. The bowling attack were also taking note and fighting over who should have the other end. Furthermore, the short boundary was edged by a river running along the entire length of that side of the outfield – as if there wasn’t already enough water around that afternoon.

Until I had played Milton Lodge for the first time 4 years ago, I had never played on a ground with a tree inside the boundary; now there are two grounds that can make that claim. Not being an arborist, I can only describe it as a big tree at mid off/short fine leg depending on which end the bowler is operating from. (Note for the anally retentive amongst you, I was, of course, describing the fielding position the tree occupied to a right handed batsman.)

Anyway, we were to bat first. Weir would open with Sean Harkin rapidly establishing himself as the preferred option at the top of the order. Sean has the enviable ability to score good runs quickly and to put the opposition immediately under pressure which no fielding side likes when they’ve just walked out. In my experience it’s far preferable to ease oneself into the task of fielding over the course of an afternoon rather than watch the ball be hammered past you at a speed calculated to rearrange your bone structure should you consider the foolhardy action of attempting to stop it.

Harkin’s aggressive approach was in full swing, and coupled with some handsome strokeplay from his captain at the other end, the scoreboard zipped along to 24 until half way through the third over Sean misjudged one which he skied to cover. Sean had put the home side on the back foot – the early advantage went to Mere.

Pitts joined his captain and after a short while adjusting to the conditions began to bat beautifully. Weir however had somehow lost his early fluency and boundaries seemed harder to come by. That said, although the rate had slowed since the departure of Harkin, the score was still pushing along at a not unreasonable five an over. At the half way stage of the innings Mere were handily placed at 104/1, a big score over 200 loomed. Pitts and Weir had batted together for the best part of 22 overs taking the score to 121 before Weir departed for 53. As is often the way with good partnerships, the other batsman couldn’t bear to be apart from his mate and soon also left the crease for the relative warmth and comfort of the pavilion, in this case 2 overs later. Pitts had made 55.

This brought Skipworth and White together at the crease, and the crowd anticipated fireworks. Sadly, the crowd were to be disappointed and soon decided to leave in their battered Citroen Saxo, possibly to replace the worn out horn they had been liberally using during the early part of the Mere innings.

Skipworth was concerned about his hamstring having tweaked it during the Motcombe game, and he approached the act of batting a little circumspectly. However it was White who went first chipping meekly to square leg for 6, Skipworth later stumped for 18. Three balls later the elder Yeo was also trudging back caught behind without troubling the iPad. When your correspondent joined the younger Yeo at the crease the score was 167/6 with 4 overs remaining; a score in excess of 200 was beginning to look unlikely. That ambition took a further blow two overs later when Becky was out trying to push the score along. This brought Kev Tealey to the crease, and on a personal note, I am really glad to have had the opportunity to bat with him again before he leaves for sunnier climes. The two Kevs put on 14 in 12 balls, 13 of them from the Tealey bat, to steer the total to 192/7 by the close of the first innings.

The general opinion at tea was that this total was probably a little short and that the home team might know how to better use the short boundary to their advantage.

I’m not really in a position to pass comment on tea as I was unpadding whilst the main body of food was being swiftly removed from the tea table. What I was left with was adequate for my meagre needs, although I did notice some players had managed to lay their hands on some pizza. Everyone was huddled together in the pavilion cuddling their cups of tea, trying to regain circulation in their fingers.

Talking of the pavilion, before I move on, I’d like to add a quick word, I think, on the subject of the Wincanton pavilion: if pavilions could talk, this particular example looked like it had plenty of hearty tales of raucous after-match activity to tell. Quaint, cosy, homely in a worn sort of way, I could easily imagine, in years gone by, many evenings where a pint or two too many had been consumed on a long summer evening.

Moving swiftly to the second innings then, I can report that the captain had chosen to open the bowling with the cunning pairing of the Yeo father/daughter combination.

Bryan was mercilessly taken apart by the openers however. The soggy ball and damp wicket not suiting his intricate style of bowling, Weir had no option but to remove him from the attack. In her third over however, Becky bowled the best ball of the match pitching and moving, hitting the top of off stump, just like they tell you to in all good coaching manuals.

Charlie White was Bryan’s replacement and he proceeded to concede just 2 runs in his first 5 overs. Shame then that his sixth went for 12.

Wickets fell like busses in the Wincanton innings. To clarify my meaning for the pedantic amongst you, three wickets fell in the space of 5 balls (i.e. falling shortly after one another, rather like the arrival of London busses). Two fell to Skippy who had replaced Becky at the “pitch it short and the ball’s in the river” end and one to Sean Harkin replacing the inconsistent White (I know that’s harsh, but it’s my match report, so there).

The assist for Harkin’s wicket deserves special mention. The shot was a poor one in fairness, born from the frustration of making 5 in his previous 42 deliveries. The batsman had played his shot too early and the ball was sent high into the dusky sky. As it reappeared on it’s way down from the layer of low lying cloud, the ball was seen to be heading toward one B Yeo at deepish cover. A glance around confirmed there was no-one within 30 yards of him; he was going to have to attempt the catch. A confident, booming “MINE” issued from his lips. Around him, everything else had stopped, all was quiet; it was like one of those camera trick moments from the Matrix films. At last the ball reached the fielder and the catch was bagged, somehow, just above his head. If he hadn’t caught it, he would surely be dead. The look on his face betrayed the surprise he felt in finding the ball still in his hands, the delight in his team-mates congratulations betrayed their surprise likewise. What’s more, Mel was on hand to witness it for herself; to his credit, that didn’t stop Bryan describing it to her, again and again, later on.

By now we were into the 18th over, the Wincanton score was on 67/4, and although not home and dry yet (certainly not dry), the Mere fielders were beginning to feel a bit more confident about their afternoon. The game was to ebb and flow some more however, before the afternoon was over. The flow was found in the form of the river into which the ball disappeared a few times as the new Wincanton pair began to assert themselves on the Mere bowling by making good use of the short boundary. Two accomplished batsmen were now at the crease and after a settling in period, they begun to pick off runs in relative comfort.

17 overs and 112 runs later the next wicket fell with the game pretty much out of Mere’s reach. Becky took the wicket which started another run of three busses, this time in seven balls. She took her third of the match later the same over, and Kev Tealey took his wicket in the following over, reducing the score to 182/7. All of a sudden, from needing 14 runs with 4 wickets in hand, Wincanton needed 11 with just the last pair at the crease; was there a sniff of an unlikely victory in the air? With 4 overs still remaining however, the batsmen could be patient and take their time, which they did to bring Wincanton home with one over and one wicket to spare.

After the match, captain Weir rightly praised the fielding performance. Two Mere fielders stood out for me in particular though. Wherever you put Jason Harvey in the field it’s like building a brick wall; the ball just doesn’t get past him. It doesn’t matter which part of his body he uses, if the ball comes his way, it gets stopped. The other mentionable was Mark Cassidy, whose keeping on the day was a marked improvement on previous seasons. In particular, the movement behind the stumps to the leg side where many a Mere bowler can be prone to drift was exemplary. He’s reading this now wondering what the punch line is going to be, but honestly there isn’t one, the boy done good.

Overall, it was a miracle the game got played, but played it was, and in good spirit and I would have to say the best team won. It had been wet, and it had been cold. One man deserves special mention for standing out in everything an English spring can throw at you for the entire match: Frank, our umpire, who had to be carefully thawed out afterwards. His hat had lost its protective qualities and water had been dripping onto his head like Chinese water torture for most of the second innings.

And finally, I must mention Mike Ryan, who bottled out of playing against his Saturday team. Just to let you know Mike, none of us really believed you had an exam the next day.


Mere Cricket Club Mere CC Batting
Player Name RunsMB4s6sSRCtStRo
1nb 3w 4b 5lb 
for 7 wickets

(40.0 overs)
Duncan Weir ct b M Mitchell 53 68 7 77.94 1
Sean Harkin ct b D Legg 14 10 3 140.0 1
Matt Pitts ct A Coombes b J Thomas 55 80 4 1 68.75
Ben Skipworth st D Wright b I Koshi 18 25 2 72.00 1
Charlie White ct b J Thomas 6 17 35.29
Rebecca Yeo ct D Wright b I Koshi 10 19 1 52.63
Bryan Yeo ct D Wright b I Koshi 0 3 0 1
Kevin Whitmore Not Out  10 9 1 111.11 1
Kevin Tealey Not Out  13 10 1 130.0
Jason Harvey  
Mark Cassidy  

Wincanton Bowling

Player nameOversMaidensRunsWicketsAverageEconomy
D Legg7.0238138.005.43
M Grant4.002500.006.25
A Coombes8.002800.003.50
M Mitchell8.0046146.005.75
I Koshi8.002638.673.25
J Thomas5.0020210.004.00

Wincanton Batting
Player name RMB4s6sSR
1nb 4w 8b 2lb 
for 7 wickets
195 (37.5 overs)
I Koshi ct & b B Skipworth 34
J Thomas b R Yeo 18
T Smith ct B Yeo b S Harkin 5
B Hansford b B Skipworth 0
D Legg ct K Whitmore b R Yeo 59
M Mitchell Not Out  59
M Grant ct S Harkin b R Yeo 0
A Coombes ct D Weir b K Tealey 2
D Wright Not Out  3

Mere Cricket Club Mere CC Bowling

Player NameOversMaidensRunsWicketsAverageEconomy
Rebecca Yeo8.0054318.006.75
Bryan Yeo2.001700.008.50
Charlie White8.031800.002.25
Ben Skipworth8.0124212.003.00
Sean Harkin4.0123123.005.75
Kevin Whitmore6.003500.005.83
Kevin Tealey1.5014114.007.64

  • Umpire :
    Frank Legge
  • Scorer :
    Nick Ryan