The Friday afternoon net session was the scene of some selection contortions as we tried to get three teams together for an unprecedented three games in three different venues in two days and provide players for Zagreb who had had trouble getting visas for their three best players. Nevertheless it was sorted out and promptly at 12 noon MCC arrived at the gates of the Hirschanger for the first home match of the season and Zagreb arrived shortly after but with only seven players. This problem was solved too and Charles Beresford, complete with coloured hat, agreed to play for them. Three other wanderers, Bhamare, Carr, and Gattinger made up the Zagreb eleven.
After a week of lousy weather forecasts it was actually quite a pleasant afternoon and captain Blades won the toss and chose to bat, opening with Ayub and Wembridge. The Zagreb bowling was very tight and scoring was difficult. The first wicket fell in the 9th over, Ayub caught behind for 21 with the total on 37. Captain Blades had promised those lower down in the batting order not to worry as usually everyone gets a bat in our games. This, unfortunately, was borne out and the only significant score was a 55 off 72 balls from Wembridge who had played himself in before opening up with four sixes and four fours in total. Lady Wembridge, colourfully dressed, rather like a spring butterfly, arrived in time to see her man get his fifty. Next ball he was out but let`s say he wanted to rush off the field and embrace his lady. No-one else apart from wides reached double figures and MCC finished on 127 all out in 29.1 overs. Carr, who was improperly dressed to play for MCC and was wearing a pair of fetching black tights had helped us to this total by dropping a dolly – I think it was Wembridge early in his innings. Bhamare and Gattinger on the other hand failed to follow his example both taking wickets, Gattinger even a caught and bowled.
After splendid teas provided by Furlonger and Sestan the Zagreb batsmen lined up to face MCC opening bowlers Altmann and Colling. Altmann bowled a maiden then had a two-fer in his second over and Colling got his, their third wicket, in the 10th over with the score on 26.
Khanna came on in the 11th and put on his magnificent disco run-up display taking a wicket off his fifth ball and bowling a maiden in his second over. It is probably fair to say the Croats had never seen anything like it. Butt who had returned from Manila at 10am and Eliah Beresford bowled tightly although Butt did his level best to head the wide boys table. Sestan, Ayub and Furlonger all got wickets too and, with 33 wides, Zagreb were all out for 103 in 29.2 overs.
As part of the lengthy after match tactical discussion over a couple of crates of Augustiner and Andechs, when Blades and Garner decided that Rembrandt could not bowl an off-cutter, although his portrait of David Bowie was hanging in the National Gallery but that Van Gogh could after his ear was removed, the visitors were presented with a signed MCC stump. In return we were invited to tour Zagreb either in October or as a boot camp. It was a fine match, very friendly against super opposition and the weather just about held off for the game to be finished.
Ayub, 21, caught, 2 overs, 0 mdns, 15 runs, 1 wkt
Wembridge, 55, bowled (Bhamare),
Garner, 1, caught,
Beresford E. 2, bowled, 5 overs, 0 mdns, 12 runs, 1 wkt
Khanna, 1, caught (Gattinger), 2 overs, 1 mdn, 1 wkt, 1 run, 2 catches
Butt K, 6, caught, 3 overs, 0 mdns, 17 runs, 1 wkt, 1 catch
Sestan, 6, bowled, 2 overs, 0 mdns, 13 runs, 0 wkts
Furlonger, 4, caught (Bhamare), 0.2 overs, 0 mdns, 6 runs, 1 wkt
Colling, 0, caught, 5 overs, 1 mdn, 14 runs, 1 wkt
Altmann, 2*, 5 overs, 1 mdn, 11 runs, 2 wkts
Blades, 8, caught, 4 overs, 0 mdns, 11 rns, 1 wkt.
MCC, 127 – 10 beat Zagreb 103 for 10 by 24 runs
MCC MOM Wembridge