As per the terrible weather of this university cricket season, a Bexson-led 1st XI turned up to a rainy Leam CC for our yearly fixture against the MCC. Of note upon arrival was the fact that that the pitch covered was on the very edge of the square, providing an outrageously short boundary on one side, and an enormously big one on the other side. After many a cuppa, the weather cleared up pretty quickly, with play starting only about 45 minutes after it was due to begin. This gave UWMCC about an hour and a half before lunch would be taken and given the overcast conditions, a good opportunity to rack up some early MCC wickets.
Clayden and Winder opened the bowling, both bowling excellently and really setting the tone for the rest of the innings. Although the MCC scoring rate was impressive, this was very much a consequence of the suitably aggressive field placing from Bex, with even the Rozzer Kraus patrolling the second gully region. With a good catch from Aamish at mid-on to dismiss last year’s Coventry 1st XI skipper and a genuine snick to Millman off Winder, the score was 35-2 off 10. However, the first session continued to go UWMCC’s way, Winder and Millman combining again in a suitably classical dismissal for an MCC fixture, and Clayden clean bowling yet another opposition bat. At lunch then, the MCC were 55-4 off 16.
Despite being delayed in his return to the field due to tucking into the cheese board on offer, Millman was gracious to combine with Winder again shortly after the restart of play. Having worked very hard to get to 20, the MCC opener promptly snicked a loosener down the leg-side to the Milfman’s blue cheese covered hands. Winder picked up yet another shortly afterwards, taking his figures to 4-40 before being brutally removed from the attack, despite the prospect of a UWMCC baggy and a swanky trip to Lord’s being so close around the corner. Clayden removed a pretty bang ave looking number 8 batsman, a smart catch from Rooty diving backwards at short mid-wicket, for his third wicket. With the MCC 92-7, it was fair to say that the opening bowlers had done their job. A small period of resistance followed, with MCC’s number 6 (and Leeds-Bradford MCCU squadee) making 43 off just 56 delivers and the wily-looking full member at number 9 hitting Rooty for a few lusty blows. However, somewhat typically of the MCC innings, the number 6 skipped down the wicket and smashed a Chase full-toss to Bexson at mid-off who took a smart catch. Clayden’s catch off Chase was equally as impressive, an instinctive grab at short cover, the score now 120-9. Rooty joined the party to finish the innings, a freebee batsman at number 10 who was a Shivnarine Chanderpaul disciple, and UWMCC had bowled out the MCC for a mere 124 in just 33.1 overs.
With 13 overs before tea it could have been a very nervy period for UWMCC and their chances of winning, but the now experienced opening partnership of Viv and Teds had no issues, racing to 44 without loss. Furthermore, this 44 must be considered as being worth many more, given the outrageously slow outfield; Viv telling us that he was absolutely nailing it at tea, despite only scoring one boundary. Tea was again pretty gun, the tail in particular tucking into the vast array of cake and sandwiches on offer and Hall re-taking the mantle of tea man from his P+C away day. Most notably, Kraus was in absolute dismay at Millman’s cake-cutting technique, as he threw all the etiquette of the art into the rubbish. As ever, the world found a way for Viv to get out in the twenties, as he got a ball that popped on a length to the extent it hit the very top of his bat handle, falling into slip’s hands. Teds also followed in a pretty odd fashion, smashing one at short leg’s shoulder and the fielder somehow holding onto it. Aamish then snicked off to a quicker delivery from the MCC’s off-spinner, who bowled pretty tidily throughout.
Rooty and Millman put on nearly 30 to prevent a rapid callapse, but the former got out in particularly amusing fashion, literally guiding one to slip having just one ball previously played a textbook reverse sweep for four. Skipper Bex got a pretty good nut second ball, leaving us 84-5. Winder scored 12 with just 2 scoring shots, including a beautiful six straight over the off-spinner’s head just third ball, hitting the sightscreen for added drama. Millman clearly took this philosophy to heart despite Winder hauling out, being the first batsman to take advantage of the very short leg-side boundary, hitting two sixes on his way to 37* and carrying UWMCC home to a four wicket victory. Despite the somewhat unconvincing periods in our batting chase, it was another well-deserved victory against the MCC, led by an excellent bowling and fielding performance in the first half of the day. Indeed, the victory was celebrated with well-deserved looseness, especially from Mr D. Slayden.