Gregson CC vs. Lancaster University
18 April 2021 at LRGS
Village cricket gives you a sense of time flowing past. Seasons come. Seasons go. You play many of the same teams each year and their players grow old with you. They may remain better at the technical aspects of the game than you ever were, but at least their speed in the field decays at the same rate as yours.
Playing a university side is like facing the Dorian Gray XI. They are ageless. Forever 20, forever fitter, forever quicker. An annual reminder of your descent into a world of dodgy knees, aching backs, and an unhealthy interest in the price of over-the-counter Viagra.
Still, there remains the hope age and guile can beat youth and inexperience and it was in this spirit the Gregson CC returned to their home ground at LRGS for the first time in 18 months.
With Morrison winning the first toss of his captaincy at the eighth attempt, the youngsters were sent into bat and when Mort ripped through Viron’s (0) defences and sent the stumps askew in the first over it was as though the Gregson had been drinking from the fountain of youth rather than the Cooler of Wainwrights.
Matthew (retired 50) and Bunn (retired 50) soon put a stop to any celebrations, aided by Mort pulling up with a torn groin and the need for Deighton to be called up at short notice because Welbourne was still sleeping off a hangover and wouldn’t turn up until midway through the first innings.
Kaighin delivered a cunning moon ball which landed on the very top of Sohail’s (0) off stump and followed up with a more classical (and indeed classy) delivery that trapped Gray (23) plumb in front of his middle stump. Wain came on for an excellent spell of spin bowling that saw James (4) stumped by Lee and Vir (8) sent back to the hutch leg before.
Lee achieved wicketkeeping nirvana with the leg side stumping of Alex (39) off the bowling of Murphy and for the second consecutive game Waddell took a wicket off the last ball of the innings, clean bowling someone whose name was sadly unrecorded in the scorebook (presumably to protect his average…)
Throughout the innings, the Gregson fielders rather belied their age, with Deighton and Hughes in particular channelling their inner Jonty Rhodes and providing an impenetrable barrier to scoring in the covers and midwicket, respectively.
Chasing 211 for the victory, the Gregson started reasonably well until Powell (8) danced down the wicket, missed the ball and was stumped. When Lee (13) followed soon after, caught at midwicket, an impressive batting collapse ensued.
Sumsion (3) started the rot when controversially given out lbw off Callum’s bowling. So far down the pitch had his stride taken him, the watching crowd wondered whether he’d actually been run out at the other end. The normally sanguine Sumsion was heard to mutter something about ‘who the f**k let a bowler go out and umpire’ as he returned to the pavilion…
A procession of Gregson batsmen went out to the crease, only to return soon afterwards. Hughes (4), caught. Welbourne (13), caught. Waddell (1), bowled. Murphy (3), lbw. Wain (10), caught. Kaighin (5), bowled.
It wasn’t a great performance, and when Deighton (0) scooped a ball to short fine leg in the 21st over, the score was 81 all out and the game was comprehensively lost.
There’s always a silver lining though – with lockdown easing and pub gardens reopening, there was more time to sit in the evening sunshine and commiserate with each other over a pint.
Well played Lancaster Uni – see you again soon!