The first league match of the season and, as luck would have it, we were drawn away to last year’s worthy winners, Erlangen. We agreed to travel by car and meet at the Hirschanger at 9:45 to collect the kit and drive in convoy to the FSV ground, using my new satellite navigator of which I was very proud. On the way I picked up captain Snake Charmer, Cans Furlonger and Westy who had been out all night visiting cathedrals, synagogues etc. and had had only two hours sleep before joining us and looking very much the part. We arrived at the Hirschanger at 9:55 to be greeted by a lonesome Garner who had been wondering if he had the wrong date. The others arrived in dribs and drabs, surprisingly even Majid was late for a change. By 10:15 we were up to nine players – Lovo was travelling down from Mainz directly – but there was no sign of Amit Subba Row. Just as we were about to phone some other member having a car to ask him to come alone to Erlangen, Subba Row was spotted ambling along Poofters alley. So at 10:20 we left and after a comfortable drive we arrived safely at the FSV ground thanks to my magnificent navigator – the only problem being that Erlangen no longer played there. Lovo had phoned to say he was stuck in traffic and would probably be up to an hour late so the wheels were coming off rapidly. Some desperate searching of the DCB web site gave us an address for the new ground and we hared off in two different directions but all, apart from Lovo, were there on time at around 12:50.
Captain Sarma won the toss and chose to bat on a bitterly cold day, 10°C max and, as Lovo was not there to open, O’Meagher and Bhalerao took on the task. They scored at around 3 per over before O’Meagher was caught behind for 11 in the 6th over with the total on 18. Bhalerao followed him in the 9th, going for 3 with the total on 26. Lovell had arrived while the two openers were at the crease so he had gone in at number three and we were once again treated to his trademark extra-cover drives. Weston replaced Bhalerao and was clearly a man with a mission. Lovell went for 9 with the score on 36 in the 13th and Snake Charmer went for 6 in the 16th with the score on 45. Ferguson hung around with Westy for a while and they put on 37 for the 5th wicket but he went for 2 in the 20th over so, at the half way stage, MCC were 82 for 5 down. The appealing for LBW had been very aggressive, sometimes over-aggressive and the umpire did well to withstand the pressure. Clare and Weston began the 21st over with Erlangen still very much with their tails up and they put on 34 for the 6th wicket before Clare was bowled for 5, the total now being 116. In came Rabbani who faced 18 balls before scoring his first run, a boundary four. Westy meanwhile was creaming the ball everywhere before he went for 99 having hit 8 fours and 8 sixes, with the total on 187 in the 36th over. The aggressive appealing had long since disappeared as a score of 160 to 180 was considered a good one on this ground. Furlonger played a delightful 18 ball innings, his second ball being driven straight for six, and he fell for 18 in the 40th over. Garner and Rabbani put on another four and MCC finished up with 218 for 8 after the 40 overs.
Erlangen opened with their South African, Wynand, whom I remembered as being a slow scorer, to face MCC opening bowlers, Blades and Ferguson. Their first wicket fell in the 10th over, LBW to Clare with the score on 40. The second went with the score on 45, much to Blades’s enjoyment as it was his first wicket of the season having bowled a fair number of overs. Wynand was bowled Clare for 30 off 61 balls in the 25th over with the score on 106 and, in the next over Wasif was run out rather hilariously for 0 and that could well have been a reason to use DRS had it been available.. Throughout the innings Erlangen had been above or around the required run rate and, at this stage were favorites to win. Their fifth wicket was also a run-out, Bilal, their highest scorer going for 52 in 29th over with the score on 140. Vice captain O`Meagher came on and had one of those days, line and length being all astray, he went for 36 in 2 overs but, perhaps more important, took 2 wickets and, after 34 overs, Erlangen were 189 for 7 down. Garner and Ferguson bowled the remaining four overs and were very, very good, taking the last three Erlangen wickets for only 11 runs, Erlangen being all out for 200.
O’Meagher, 11, caught, 2 overs, 0 mdns, 36 runs, 2 wkts
Bhalerao, 3, caught,
Lovell, 9, bowled
Weston, 99, bowled, 1 catch, 1 stumping
Sarma, 6, c&b, 1 catch
Ferguson, 2, LBW, 8 overs, 0 mdns, 25 runs, 0 wkts
Clare, 5, bowled, 8 0vers, 0 mdns, 35 runs, 2 wkts
Rabbani, 21*, 7 overs, 0 mdns, 39 runs, 0 wkts, 1 catch
Furlonger, 18, bowled,
Garner, 2*, 6.1 overs, = mdns, 31 runs, 3 wkts
Blades, DNB, 8 overs, 0 mdns, 30 runs, 1 wkt.
MCC, 218 for 8, beat Erlangen, 200 for 10, by 18 runs.
MCC MOM Weston.