Monday 26 March 2012

GAME 6 - Chile Masters vs Corridors, Sunday 25th March

The Last Hurrah or at least the last cricket match on the tour!

It's not easy trying to concentrate on the bowling with this going on behind the bowler's arm
Captain Mallard has waxed lyrical in previous postings about the extraordinary environment that is Craighouse. Formerly the main ground for the South American Championships; currently without water rights so there's no grass but thanks to some serious generosity and even more very hard work there's an artificial pitch that is already playing well (800 or so runs in two days); soon to have water rights and an approved need to do some serious flooding(!); it is one of the most beautiful places to play cricket that I, and probably any of us, have ever had the privilege to play.

Mountains to the left of us, mountains to the right,  into the valley of the Andes strode the 14!

To his huge pride and joy, Mars, the Tour Luvvy was given the captain's armband as Skip stepped aside and sat down with his camera ready. And the second of yesterday's heroes, one Major Lumpy the Lumpster of Lumpen Hall, Lumpenden, also sat out to rest his 4 wickety lumpness and a properly painful toe. Having already played one match here and scored over 220 runs in response to the National side in a well fought, sadly unsuccessful match yesterday, today had all the makings of the Dors first win.

'And Gentlemen in England now abed shall think themselves accursed they were not Dors, and hold their manhoods cheap whilst any speak that played with us upon this Tour.' (Panda and Mars are dangerous when left with famous quotes lying about)

Mars joined oppo Skip Ian Scott in the middle for the toss; which was won by Skipper Scott who promptly asked Mars what he wanted to do. So we fielded.

With the rules ever so slightly changed to give everyone a game (retire at 30, everyone bowls at least 1 over), the Dors strode out in the shadow of those stunning mountains and with Smurf and Behly opening the attack, kept things pacy. Often pacy in the wrong direction as the score rose quickly with Mr 'Seven' Foot wielding a cricket stick that was far too short for him with unerring precision - although it did sound a little dead at times, that didn't stop the ball from racing to the boundary. His retirement on 30 meant the arrival of Nelson and, with the bowling rotating quickly on 2 over cycles Barbarossa, Forge, Panda and Dawson were quickly into the fray with Crab and Russ also throwing their oars in. Sadly a lot of the oars were wide since many Dors just haven't bowled in a match situation. It must also be noted that Crabman relinquished his wicket keeping claws to allow Paulo his first turn behind the stumps and the tour playboy was more than up to the challenge with a fine first stint.

Fuzzy (or Mr Walker to his clients) started to hit the ball with more and more of the middle of the bat and was also a retiree before things began to change. 

It was with the arrival of Messrs Campbell, Davies (having swapped his gloves with Crab for a chance to flip the ball about a bit) and York that things started to change. Swizzo snared a grown man for nearly the first time on tour - Nelson caught and bowled for 6 - and was on it again straight away trapping Scott LBW for 5. With Paulo wheeling away with his craftily flighted (and sadly underused) offies, he was very unlucky not to get a proper reward.

The skipper brought himself on with hideous memories of his last over from the pavillion end yesterday in his mind, but snared Char with his first ball thanks to an awesomely athletic crabman leap to take a one handed catch behind the stumps.

Wickets began to tumble as the scoring slowed and with a rejuvenated Smurf and Barbarossa in the attack, both picked up some great wickets - although it must be said that Smurf needs to work on his fielding. I mean, really, it's all very well diving full length to reach something, but once there, you really should catch it young man, after all you've done all the hard work. I'm being harsh, he and Dawse were both all over the field trying to take what they could! But it's the only way they'll learn - ridicule and fines! I'm being VERY harsh. Smurf was toiling in the heat and bowling with venom and accuracy. Mars was about to say, "Thanks very much, Smurf, have a blow" when our pale blue demon grabbed two wickets (his C&B and then a beauty to bowl the next man in) with the last 2 balls of his over. It's a brave... no, it's a really stupid man who tells a triumphant Smurf that he's not going to get a chance at a hattrick, so his blueness was back on moments later. Good, but not 3 in a row. Splendid bowling, mind.

With a lot of tired bodies barely stumbling round the field, the Masters score rose and with Mr Foot back on for the last over, things looked tight. But weren't. Swizzo bowling the Dors last over on this magnificent continent kept them to a minimum and we would be chasing 164 off 30 overs.

The Dors are chasers; Beer chasers; Ball chasers; sometimes we chase things we shouldn't; but we always chase runs.

This was on.

Behly and Dawse were the honourable duo to open the account and both were quickly into the action. Dawes with a classicly straight bat and high elbow and Behly on his way back to the hutch. Dors, 8-1. And the opening bowlers, Welfare and Docray (who we had met before and had form) were keeping things tight.

Thus young Paulo came of age. This thrusting North London Turk joined the Dors Dawse to give the oppo a proper LICCing. Taking no nonsense in this kind of mood and with the bowling fairly tight, they played straight, hard, across the line... hell, any way they liked and things were looking very bright indeed. Until Dawse fell on 23 and was quickly followed by Paulo on 19. (58-3)

Mars swapped the batting order round a little and those who had not had a chance to shine until now, now did. Their shines are barely tarnished as they answered their captain's call. Unfortunately, the bowling was still tight and despite their best efforts, the smighty Crab, the injured but unbowed chubby chosen one Panda and his boundary shivering timber wielder Barbarossa were back in the pavillion having flattered without deception, but also without many runs. 74-6.

And now the Pale Blue One came to the fore. It was time for an innings from the Smurf and now was that time. While Forge and he were at the wicket, everything seemed possible until Forgey went for a run that 2 games ago he would have managed without even thinking. But time and hours on a cricket pitch in the heat are not good bed fellows and his tired legs were unable to answer the call. 107 for 7 and overs were running out.

Swiss took up his mantle, strode to the wicket, dropped his mantle and then lost his castle to a ball that just didn't get up. The excuse that he was surprised that the bowler wasn't a pie chucker and he was looking for the ball in the sun was not accepted. 112-8. Very few overs remaining.

With Russ in, we were too. Smurf was bludgeoning away at the other end and it all looked good. Then it didn't. 132-9; Russ back in the hutch, bowled; 4 overs left; 32 runs needed. Mars and Smurf. Could this be done?

As with his team mates, Mars's intentions were spot on. His accuracy and judgement of line and length weren't .Unable to hit the ball off the square, it was up to Smurf to deal the killer blows, and sadly that meant taking risks. Hitting hard but high to one of the oppos younger players with extremely safe hands, it was all over. We were all out, 20 runs short.

Smurf was inconsolable. We had snatched defeat from the jaws of victory like a true England touring side.

We presented awards (Men of the Match; Smurf and Mr Foot, Pennants to the winners, beer and wine to the losers) and contemplated the essence of the tour as we stood at the foot of the Andes in the most beautiful place on earth at that moment and the very earth itself shook with celebration (6.4 at the epicentre 300 km away and about 4 where we were, apparently). It's unnerving when what you know never moves, i.e. the ground, does. But not only had the Dors successfully arrived in South America, we have played 6 games of cricket in 12 days and in two countries, including one agains the reigning South American Cup champions in Chile. Now that is cause for celebration. And yes, we really can say that the earth moved! We could even say we rocked Chile.

With a final fine session to come and a walking tour of Santiago ahead of us tomorrow, some very tired heads hit the pillows in the dormitories last night.

The results of the games may not be as we wished, but the tour has been beyond my wildest imaginings at the very least. And we've still got one more day to go.

Thank you Dors. It is an honour to play with the badge on my chest knowing I have shared this time with you.



1 comment:

  1. COTD! Love you guys, but will be glad to have you all back safe and sound in earthquake-free Blighty!!