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MCC vs Idle – October 13th 2013 

Match photos

The old farm track looks the same,

As my suspension takes the strain;

And there to meet me

Are those awful old sofas…. 

Down the lane I drive

And I see potholes

There since creation,

Or so I’m told, 

It’s good to touch …. 

(With apologies to Tom J)  

                                               *        *        *        *

Hello again – welcome back. Did you have a good summer holiday ? I managed to achieve something quite remarkable : I succeeded in being labelled “arrogant” – by  a Frenchman – no mean feat, and something I’m quite proud of.

This fixture was the last of the season as winter draws nigh : not a day for topping up your tan. The original idea had been to play at Settimo, but the combination of mother nature, who has recently wrought havoc all over the ground, together with a calendar mix-up meant that the game was moved to Lodi.

It had been decided that as this was a true ‘friendly fixture’ with nothing at stake, then those who had hitherto rarely featured this season would be given priority.


Nand – Sunil – Abdul – Tim – Brian - Mark W - Andrew – Will – Oliver - Jonathan  - Andrea.

Idle turned up with what I judged to be a strong team in comparison : to name but some :  Sunny – Steve – Silvio – Ravi – Shanta – Indika - Keerti  

12 o’clock start, 30 overs. Not actually raining, but plenty of moisture around.

William ( and subsequently Andrea) debuting as wicket-keeper.

Milan to bowl first, Jonathan to open the bowling…… poor bloke – while Brian and Oliver did what was asked of them from the pavilion end, all the heart-in-mouth stuff was served up at the river end – Jonathan’s four overs saw the grand total of 5 catches offered up and duly dropped – his figures 0 for 12 - and then the hero of the moment materialized in the unlikely form of Abdul : in his first over he had arguably the 2 most dangerous batsmen dismissed in successive deliveries – both Sunny and Indika caught, both by Nand, the latter first ball ! Gratifying to see that at least some catches were to Milan’s liking ! Figures for Abdul’s first over: 2 for 5 !

So that took us to about the 12th over, Idle 3 wickets down with 60+ on the board, Oliver getting Ravi out, caught by Mark. Abdul was unable to maintain his breathtaking start and starting dishing up a boatload of wides, so was duly replaced at the river end by Nand. Idle were fairly consistent in building their score – 5 or 6 an over from start to finish. More catches were spilled, but wickets were periodically taken along the way – worthy of note was Silvio’s innings for its duration( his credo : non cercare di fare runs !)  – an object lesson in patience, until a mix-up saw him run out for 24. Shanta, who in his youth used to strike fear into bowlers’ hearts,  is usually toothless these days : he came and went in no time at all, bowled by Nand for just a single trying to keep out a straight delivery;  Steve was the second run-out of the day, helping Nand’s throw by steering it onto his own stumps with his glove !! ….. and Lodi got to a neat 150 all out.  A mention to opener Haq who, having been dropped twice when still in single figures ( grrrr !) went on to make 67 before gallantly retiring. So the combined run total of Sunny, Indika and Shanta ? One run. 3 wickets for the Sunil wearing his spin hat, 2 for Abdul, one apiece for Nand and Oliver, 2 run outs and 1 retired.  

On a normal day you’d fancy Milan to make 150 – but on paper today’s batting line-up was not so strong : 4 recognized batsmen, but plenty of unknowns : the need for lengthy partnerships was paramount. 

The first setback arrived in the 4th over with just 8 on the board :  Oliver out, fending a rising ball from Joe Torti to gully; second setback : Mark W. came in, but failed to heed the plea to stay in – bowled for 7 by Alberto going for cow-corner playing a familiar-looking stroke across the line ( he subsequently claimed he played a squash court shot !) ….. 2 down, and just a handful on the board… and the other opener Jonathan didn’t look like he was going to score anything : plenty of effort but scant reward.

In came Tim, and he and Jonathan finally settled to the task of a) not getting out and b) scoring a few. It wasn’t glorious to watch, but it was a case of “job done” – In the 20th over Jonathan was smartly caught, bowler Mark managing to turn round, sprint back and take the catch … not exactly prolific scoring ( 21 runs in 20 overs !!) but the makings of a platform – Milan were 80+ for 3, and Tim and Sunil warmed to the task of getting Milan to victory, aided, it must be said, by some lackadaisical fielding from certain Idle players. Tim was growing in confidence, and Sunil looked in fine form (as he has most of the season), and Milan matched Idle’s run rate throughout, which meant that we got to the 30th over with just 7 runs needed – Tim was then sadly run out, as the perceived need for a “run-a-ball” saw him dismissed for a score of 61 … a magnificent effort. So Nand had the task of getting the required runs – he got a single to get Sunil on strike; having scored 2 runs with his next shot Sunil then played his trademark glance to guide the ball to the boundary to tie the scores, and then calmly struck the winning runs through midwicket. 151 for the loss of just 4 wickets was a commendable achievement given the line-up : special mention to Tim who must have batted for the best part of 25 overs.  Special mentions also to everybody who played : good to see you all on the pitch ! And good to see one of those awful Idle sofas put to the sword – tho’ I wonder whether setting fire to it and then crowding round it for some heat was such a wise idea – those fumes did not look very environmentally friendly ….


Hope to see you at the dinner – bring lots of money.