Erlangen, 7th May 2022
Playing on one of the few astro wickets in Europe was just the incentive to curb the displeasure of a pre-dawn wakeup, a 3 hour drive and in Joy’s case, an inevitable third successive duck.
After being sent in to bat first, and rarely having played on an astro wicket, the muscle memory of any form of a ‘back foot’ shot took a while to rekindle as we lost count of the hybrid front/back foot shots Jonty was testing out until he inevitably snicked off to a fantastic sequence of line and length. Each ball had the batting and bowling sides biting their fist, right up until that final edge.
However, Vish had no interest in providing another highlight for the bowling team, instead by providing MCC’s only highly with the lone six of our innings.
Unfortunately, the rest of the batsmen were preparing for the upcoming 40 over season with most looking for time in the middle and keeping the bowling team on their toes by confusing them with some gentle singles, rather than the more unconventional t20 style of head in the sky/cleared front foot.
73 was the target.
Our bowling innings started strong, with our openers bowling just as tight, if not more than the opposition. Mucca finished with an economy of 3 from his 4 overs, unfortunately without any wickets. Those were reserved for Sunny.
In his 16 balls, Sunny emerged with 3 wickets, fighting *tooth* and nail in defending this small total. Unfortunately things were not to continue this way due to incredibly bad luck rather than our usual incompetencies of dropped catches/misfields/etc.
After a fantastic throw from the boundary, Sunny had his hands ready to receive and whip the bails off. Instead the ball ricocheted off the bails into the mouth, perhaps hoping to prevent any further Sunny send-offs.
After the MCC-CSI analytical investigation into the tooth trajectory (that tooth was almost our second 6 of the day), Sunny had to depart. Many thanks to Erlangen with their assistance here with first-aid and also transport.
From here, it was left for the Australians to close off the innings. Jaxson had to complete Sunny’s over, resulting in ⅔ balls picking up some grass stains from behind the long-on foliage. Stiff call by the Captain to change the bowler, but he was replaced with the second Australian, Billy. Somehow, he was able to find far more movement than any previous bowler of the day, hooping a handful down leg. The batsman had no idea where the ball would finish, had to close his eyes and swing, and unfortunately, he connected with every.single.ball.
Then, it all came down the to Captain to close the game- in the 9th over- to defend 6 runs and take the remaining wickets (7x). No dice.
After a pretty wild/traumatic first game, a reset was required, especially considering we were to return to the field without our star bowler, Sunny. We subbed in Nish for Billy, a valuable addition considering Nish was mentally and physically scar-free from the first game.
The captain decided that we needed a bit of mongrel to start the next game, especially with their top scorer opening again. Orders were given to Cameron, to send down two beamers for the first two balls of the innings. This wielded great success in the form of a broken bat and intimidation (confusion), resulting in a justified warning from the umpire. Deciding to change tactics, the obvious answer was to york the next legal delivery, removing his middle stump of the other batsman. Very unfortunate, but quite hilarious as this batsman received his second golden for the day after he middled a ball into his foot for LBW in the first dig.
Jonty started at the other end, with perfect, legal deliveries resulting in a fateful dropped catch. After Jonty took the second wicket of the game in the second over, Erlangen were on the ropes at 2/20 after 3 with MCC’s 10 men. It appeared 10 was the golden number, as when Jaxson had to depart for his role as Sunny’s chauffeur leaving us with 9, the momentum turned as seemingly every ball ended up in the parking lot.
Priyansh did well to keep his economy under 20, by 0.5 and Sandy found himself better placed bowling than fielding (cleverly bowling well to reduce the opportunities for a caught & bowled).
Such and Mucca bowled well in combination, but with 9 fielders there’s very little you can do but place yourself in the shoes of the passing Germans, imagining the joy of living life without knowing about this sport.
After setting a respectable 230, the task was set to Jonty and Mucca to get us off to a good start. We did ‘start’ the innings, but unfortunately only Jonty and Such received a return worth a 3 hour drive. After receiving some chirp from the batsman with 2 goldens, Jonty proceeded to send him to all parts, much to the hilarity of the bowling team. Jonty played a fantastic captains innings for 57, including 5x 6’s, and Such was testing the keeper with some delicate paddles down leg for his 25.
Jaxson returned late in the innings after sunbathing in the hospital carpark, waiting for Sunny’s facial reconstruction but unfortunately he somehow managed to hit the ball 3 times en route to the keeper for a duck.
In the end, the weather was fantastic and we finished with a few beers shouted by the opposition in the park- a nice way to end the day.
Other notable highlights;
- Billy’s fan turnout
- Kobayashi (Mucca) devouring half of the McDonald’s menu
- €3 bottles of 250ml water at the kiosk
- Erlangen’s hospitality