A Midsummer Sundaydream; 20 June 2018
The introduction to this one involves an expanded summer solstice during which a jasmine comes into flower only to find itself wrenched from its previous green plastic webbing & forming a new supportive association with a hand built trellis at the northern corner of the shed. Moff was down helping out providing building materials & construction & we'd been hoping for a way to get a game of cricket & another day's play into the story without any adverse political fallout. Turns out there's a late withdrawal from an injured cyclist & a slot has appeared overnight.
There's a bunch of Papaver somniferum leaves which had been drying for a couple of weeks & seemed to be eager to play, so Oberon suggests organising a brew & although Titania's having none of it & sweeteners are considered, it's completely free of any bitterness, which suggests not a lot of hope for any opiate content. So a quick salutation to the dawn & some somnificating ahead of an 11 a.m. reconvention.
There's an interlude for some coffee & a certain amount of reintegration, but things still feel pretty fluxy despite the light intensity & clarity of the sky as we roll round the corner to the meet; I still have no appetite for my blackcurrant, raspberry & strawberry allotment breakfast juice & I'm not quite sure what level of awake is par for today. We are delighted to discover that we have sufficient carrying capacity for Moff not to have to drive the landrover wood haulage camel today, so he can stay in with us & today's lottery winner Curtis for the journey, which we have scouted by google satellite & which I have tuned in on pineo-hippocampal gps. Nevertheless, the trusty 2004 NSCL handbook is invoked for it's descriptions of the way ahead & everyone is secure, albeit based on information relating to the defunct Dunkerton CC of 2004.
It's a journey which becomes increasingly unflat & unstraight following the shortcut along the old fosse & roman roads & we eventually enter of world of green curves & rolls. As we are attempting a classification of glens, vales, combes, cyms, dingles & dells according to how large an army of scots could be crammed into them we just slide past our turn at the bottom of the hill & have to do a swift uey to get to our destination.
We recognise some features from the satellite; the dog rose is still there on the left & we roll up to the locked gate & have a look. There's a couple of outbuildings to the left of it, but the field beyond the gate is essentially a daisy rich meadow, you can tell there was a square there once, but it looks like that google image is years out of date. At this point there's some opportunity for confusion & we're having to consider where else the ground might be, given it was evidently not here, but Alwis has pulled up behind us & is opening the gate & motioning us through.
Inside the gate, it's a right turn down the side to another gate leading to the camping field; the car is unloaded & parked in the camping field to spectate from a safe distance.
The primates are gathering up near the outbuildings on the northern face of what is essentially a pentagonal ground, where there's some trees & an option of shade for the pigmentally challenged. Further along, there's an 18" wire & plastic mesh fence, guarded by some thicker grass & dock from the wee ball consuming byrn that played tinkly bells behind it. As the fence took a right with the stream, the boundary ran down below a wall buffering the site from the A367 & any sense of human traffic & noise. The wall was a characteristic pale limey sandstone & in front of it ran an array of elders in flower, which together generated an impressive sightscreen behind the bowlers arm. At the southern end of that eastern face was a old shed along with miscellaneous bits & pieces of agricultural ironmongery, below which was a black hole from which no ball could be recovered. There was a short copse along the southern face where our litttle byrn joined the more sizeable Cam Brook; it was pretty dark & moist in there. Ahead of the match there were buzzards climbing on the thermals just above; Dunc spotted some inter raptor politics & would be recalled for further immersion later in the story. Along the western edge there was a finite quantity of what seemed primarily nettle between the boundary & the fence to the camping field, but back up from the corner towards the buildings the nettle became seriously thick & backed up by hedgerow & a few large trees.
So the story in short is that there's been an unforeseen shock bereavement in the Lions camp & for obvious reasons they've struggled to get the club motivated to play & to mobilise a full team & get it all prepared, but gievn it was us & they know us to also be a club that loves playing cricket in a spirit they share, they've decided to have the game go ahead anyway in whatever fashion we can bring it about. As we're gathering & coming to terms with the story, Alwis has hitched a multiblade mowing array to a black landrover & is circumnavigating the field at the boundary, & keen to get on with all the other stuff he's still got to organise he pulls up & asks if anyone would be prepared to drive a landrover round & round in ever decreasing circles. Alwis can then bring out the hovver, which the other Lions employ for the square & wicket; Moff recognises this opportunity as suiting his karma & jumps into the front seat. I think I voted this my cyder moment; beyond the irony, the skilled balance between speed, centripetal gs & respect for the elastic limits of the turf had to be seen to be believed; within about 20 minutes we had a transformed environment & a cricket ground had materialised from fairyland.
Meanwhile it's England 4-0 immediately & lots of wickets down chasing bugger all, but Buttler's still there, so no cause for panic.Then we see Sam & Syd approaching & I can hardly believe it, what a joyous sign; despite all the difficulties in recent days, they had come out to support us on this of all days, for which they had been precluded from playing for us in person. How amazing & unexpectedly enlightened I thought; for about 3 seconds.
It then became apparent, as they were greeting us, that Sam & Syd had been invited to play for the Lions, which they had accepted & were now introducing themselves to us as members of the opposition. Syd was pretty yeah & so what about it all as he delivered the fist pumps, albeit respectfully enough in essence. Sam kept his eyes down, sensing this was anything but a cynical fuck you & remained a gent throughout, but obviously the twittering began immediately & Ahad seemed fairly mindblown by the whole event.
Also at the gathering beneath the beams were Liz Taylor & her young sons Robert & Thomas, & since AJ was on holiday & Westy was awaiting sentence, Rob was skippering & we were down to just the 3 Alexs; Alex, Alex & Alex, only two of whom were down to play. Alex was down in the solar front row on blanket, where Tom also spent a brief period of attunement padding up before plunging back in with the intent of overhauling the latest development in the Taylor brotherhood top score jamboree, but Liz was messing about in the back row shade at the table with Erika, who was on pens as usual albeit becoming increasingly concerned with the threat of rays & natural insect life, which she assumed, as always, was after her blood. It's a scottish thing; huge quantities of lavender spirits were released in classic chemical warfare mode, but Rob missed out on the collateral relaxation as he was already batting. Grant umpired the first session in a cool flat number, along with yakuza Adkins, sporting a knot behind the brow in the disrespectful grasshopper style. Curtis was doing telecomms at the table, Happy was atypically happy doing likewise at right back, but his information always seemed to be 5 minutes ahead; & England get to 5-0. Dunc was keeping tabs on the corvids & raptor politics, Moff was loitering under the tree, as was Alex, padded up on the other side of the trunk, & over beyond the scorers were a couple of cricket loving locals from Dunkerton who'd come to support the Lions & brought cake.
6-1 seemed disappointing after the first half, although Buttler was still in & then we're discussing collective nouns, charms & parliaments & we have assembled 11; Rob's been invited to please have a bat first & it is agreed without a toss, so he can get to work on strategising this charm's offensive.
First up it's Ahad & Rob; a bit like opening with Buttler & Roy I'm thinking since seeing what England are doing in the T20s these days, though I didn't think that at the time; Rizvi & Taylor is what there is & there's nowhere else to be; the fun begins in earnest.
They open up with 8 on the field including Sam & Syd; Alwis is off getting the stuff for tea.
It's time to introduce the dome. It's blue. Bluer than usual. I don't recall any haze or interference with absolute clarity; it was just blue. Beyond & within the blue there was undoubtedly all sorts going on; somewhere on the other side of things the Cancer moon was moving inexorably towards its fulfilment in Capricorn & conjunction with Saturn (the dude who's literally atop Lords) to illuminate some timeless law, but for now was enjoying a trip through the underworld somewhere about mid fairyland & a rendezvous far more Jovial; oh Happy day!. And right at the heart of everything there's the o zone. In terms of photosynthesis, there's no better colour than oxygen. It may have changed what sort of blue it was as the day progressed, but essentially it was cærulean. By definition really. I daresay that would evoke different associations in different people, but for me, now, that spells cricket bat willow (that Salix alba) & a small noradrenergic nucleus in the brainstem that represents the principal catecholaminergic component of the reticular formation. As part of the reticular formation its role changes in association with large celled cholinergic nuclei & the thin serotonergic raphe, together signalling different states of awareness & perceptive filters for different phases of consciousness. Visual arousal & psychomotor stimulation is what's generally associated with activity in the noradrenergic pathways; mescaline, ephedrine, certain amphetamines, khat or caffeine might give you a more direct clue, but beyond its role in general levels of arousal the locus cœruleus has a particular relationship feeding back to inhibit melatonin synthesis from 5HT in response to light exposure, which plays out in the biological clocks in the hypothalamus & pineal as well every other place these cells communicate with, as in the skin of glabrous primates & I'm not going to talk about cuttlefish now, but photosynthesis of D-vitamins, pigments, bleaching, ozone, blue, resolution & CNS noradrenaline are all synchronising in this story. Gland this & time stands still long enough for the cricket ball to move in slomo.
Too slow for some; although I don't think it would be fair to describe our start as impatient or anything, but the attention did get drawn to the sky right from the off.
Ok, the cricket then; it did punctuate earthly matters occasionally, but at a rhythm I felt was appropriate to the sort of day it was.
Having been strategically positioned at 7 on the basis of my esteemed bowling potential & total gullibility I was all set for the second umpiring stint, ready & prepared to do my duty as soon as Grant was needed to pad up at the fall of the first wicket.
As the opening bowler came in to bowl the atmosphere was tangibly surreal, but there's a basic pattern that's going to repeat itself with subtle variations on the theme as the day progresses.
The first ball was lost in the first over, somewhere in the deep nettlage at long leg; I think it was just a 4 that one, pulled behind square. There was a slight delay as the ball on this occasion was successfully retrieved & up at the gathering the discussion turned to strategic manning of the boundary vegetation, which sounded like a great idea until you considered actually doing it. That original ball was then successfully lost in the second over, this time in the irretrievable straight 6 over long on zone beyond the fencing, over the byrn & somewhere in the dense growth that lay this side of the wall. Many anthropoids were being directed by the skipper to keep fetching the lost balls with ever greater urgency & try as they might, many balls refused to return for another hit like that thank you very much. The original ball felt it had claimed fair sanctuary & despite the skipper's exhortations, it became difficult to argue with the ball's position on the matter & a more innocent replacement ball was recruited. It became something of a pressgang, albeit some were more up for the adventure than others.
It wasn't long before Alwis was off after reserve balls & tea materia & everyone was dipping into their historical reserves; balls with diverse stories from all round wessex were being offered one more chance at glory with the added incentive of a lovely retirement & decay option for those willing to explore the limits of crypsis. Despite being next umpire in, I took advantage of one lost ball delay to trek off to the camping field & check the car for balls. I saw two through the window, but for some reason I'd locked the car & had neglected to bring the keys back with me on my mission. I determined to try again later, but as fate would have it, liberation was to evade those balls this particular midsummer.
On average we were going at about one or two more or less temporarily lost balls per over, rarely three, more rarely, none, so you can tell that on the whole the balls really preferred to play cricket if they could & more came back than sought oblivion. As the game progressed the search filters became better attuned to the balls' signs & despite the skipper talking about supposedly lost time, on the longest Sunday of the year, in conditions of unparallelled clarity, when everyone was playing the match because of their love of cricket & could wish to be doing nothing other, & threatening to declare the innings for fear of not getting a win on the basis of ultimate ball depletion, there were eventually more than enough balls willing to complete the game, but none of that craziness started until after the fall of the second wicket, so I'm getting ahead of myself here. If I don't get to the cricket, there is always the scorecard.
What I remember about our start, beyond its leisurely rhythm of boundaries & lost balls is Ahad basically standing & delivering. There was some running every so often, but it was primarily two or three boundaries per over for about 5 overs, which had taken about seven years to complete. At one stage Buddi, the opener who came in from the bottom end & did something sufficiently traumatic to his legs to later render him incapable of pedestrian movement & have to forego any batting, had become reduced to bowling sharp lifters pitching just beyond halfway down, most of which Ahad struck cleanly to the legside Cam Brook boundary as they sat up nicely for the hook, along with the occasional good natured beamer.
The pace of the response on this wicket was mercurial; so while mostly the ball behaved like it was pitching into sponge, sometimes it would grub, leap or shoot. One of the short lifters came through pretty sharp & Ahad responded but ended up hooking fractionally too early, edged the ball onto his brow, knocked off his cap & specs & went down temporarily to reintegrate. There was no concussion & the specs were still in one piece, & although Ahad now had a wee lump above his right eye, he dusted himself down & carried on.
So the Lions bring on Syd from the A367 wall end & in his first over Syd pitches one back of a length which grubs; it would probably have been a no ball if Ahad had been back in his crease, but he's gone down the wicket towards it & it's evaded him; as it passes the stumps it just makes enough contact for the bails to be dislodged & Syd's in Ahad's face making gestures with one hand on some sort of imaginary tablet he's holding with his other hand. I'm later informed this is some sort of physical emoji meaning I'm such a star I have to sign autographs now on my way to the you tube red carpet of universal adulatory coolth. When I was a rude child that involved pens & paper & people with their own personalities, but I've signed enough parcelforce etchasketch receipts to know that's not how it's done these days. So Ahad trudges off with his head down & it's hard to know from a distance whether this is more about the dismissal or despair about Syd's cockish send off; it all seemed much of a muchness.
I had to go & relieve Grant at bowler's end, who now had to pad up.
This happened somewhere early in the 5th or 6th over; we had 57, of which Ahad had made 45 off 23 balls & Rob was now on 5; although at the time I hadn't noticed any dodgy strike management or anything like that & had no idea that was the situation. It had all taken so many years to get to this stage it was hard to retain a sense of the particulars of the flow. Rob can't have helped but be aware though & when Tom came in it all got quite chirpy; Essex lads, you know
Loads of positive running & general spanking continued; Tom drove his wide second ball sweetly off the back foot through extra for 4 & it all seemed very familiar. It was hard to place Rob's innings in the context of what had taken place the week before, & at one point Rob chucked his bat to midwicket, Brian O'Callaghan style, as if to illustrate the word ludicrous, but from an umpiring perspective it was good fun & I got lots of opportunities to sit down while the ball was searched for.
Many of the runs were coming off Syd, who was also a bit frustrated by the consensus to adopt intelligence free umpiring regarding wides, particularly when the batsmen were sending what would otherwise have been wides to the boundary with such persistent rhythm. Eventually it was recognised that the white markings on the crease at either end were just diminutive approximations of something or other & were unrelated to anything in the laws of cricket, so a return to intelligent umpiring was necessitated, although not until my umpiring shift was over, nobody informed me of the change until after I'd batted, not that it hadn't fairly soon became apparent that the limits had got a lot wider by the time I was batting, & I'd already had to employ intelligence free umpiring with Syd on numerous occasions. Syd's getting very hot & as his deliveries are flying to all boundaries & the run tally continues to sustain its ludicrous pace, he's convinced something is not right; & here's the thing; Happy hasn't even come in to bat yet.
Rob is eventually second man out, lbw to Sam (other end, but didn't seem to be going over) with the score on 121, somewhere around the 11th or 12th over having made 30 off 17, & having got out, his thoughts turn immediately to the possibility of declaring before the match is lost along with all the balls; maybe not necessarily until Tom gets to 124 though. Ok, maybe that's a little unfair, but it was the latest topic for consideration when I returned from my umpiring stint.
That's more temporal distortion though; first Alex comes in to join Tom, who at this stage is still in his mid 20s but living the dream. Alex looks solid, strikes a few well & pulls a couple, keeps out some grubbers, getting to 5 before feeding Syd a return catch, which he took in characteristically modest style. It's 141-3, meaning I have to return & pad up. I don't remember where drinks fell, but it was somewhere around here.
Grant faced one ball, which looked like slow torture; death by a thousand strokes; it came looping & short & Grant had set up to pull it but the ball immediately shifted upon pitching into a different temporal universe, allowing him to play an infinity of imaginary strokes at the ball but to only be able to execute the decelerating one which chipped it delicately into the keeper's gloves as it went by in hyperspace. So then I had to pad up a bit more frantically & Happy went in 6 to join Tom, now on 34; 142-4.
Successfully attired I nipped off into the building for a final chance to balance my fluids & was greeted by wafts of cooking meat & spices; Alwis was in the kitchen brewing up a curry & offers me a wrap on my way, but after considering the notion for about a miliisecond I am reminded of just how hot & bright it is & politely decline his kind offer until perhaps after the match. Next thing I know there's watermelon & it's never been more perfect.
Tom gets into his 40s & we start to count down the runs before the inevitable applause, but the strike keeps rotating at the end of the over & while we're waiting for Tom on 49 to get his next run, Happy gets his 50, all playing pretty orthodox cricket strokes it seemed to me; quite dull really.
Tom's 50 is not far behind & the strokefest continues.
This is the fastest scoring phase of the match & the ball is going to all parts of the ground in a variety of delightful arcs & flights.
One good sign is that Happy seems to have found the right area of the ground beyond long on to land the ball in so that it can be relatively easily retrieved, just beyond a willow & safely flying the byrn is a neighbouring field, which looked like an old orchard. Rob says it's got the best view in the ground; we're retrieving more & more balls, but this is when the nonsense about declaring starts becoming annoying as I still haven't batted & nor has Moff & we haven't even reached midway.
The ball retrieval rate continues to escalate & the 100 partnership follows smoothly; Alwis drops off some spares, gets the curry set to tick over & eventually joins the game. Not long after, Alwis gets Tom with a grubber & he's bowled for 60; barely halfway to the ultimate target but not too bad for a warm up. Now we're 244-5
So I start off trying to play myself in a bit & keep turning the strike round; there is some running, but the temporarily lost balls are happening with sufficient regularity at the other end that there's also plenty of recovery time. After I nearly pop one back to the bowler I start to get the impression it would take a few years to play myself in on this; end of the over Happy advises just following through & it's not bad advice. I get one away to the midwicket boundary, with enough restraint to make sure the ball doesn't feel the need to change its lifestyle, but next over Alwis gets me with a back of a length off cutting grubber, which bounced twice before reaching me, but what the fuck, it means Moff gets an opportunity to have a proper go at least. 282-6.
Not long after, Happy gets to a ton & Moff's in & driving through mid on to get off the mark & there are boundaries, 3, to follow.
At 333 Happy has overhauled previous recent records & made it to 129 without really breaking stride, except for the rhythm of lost balls; somehow in all of this mercurial fluidity a state of repeatable stability had sustained 15 fours & 7 sixes. Joyful expression of genius sort of describes it; this was one of those; it lights everything up.
After serious pummelling Syd gets his reward, & classically & appropriately, it's with a ball that was of neither good line nor good length. 333-7 it is then as Happy gets his deserved ovation & Alex strides out purposefully top knotted to push the limits to the end.
Happy says that instead of a jug he's going to replace the lost balls, which is great wit, & even funnier when you do the maths; that's still about 8 jugsworth, even at plough rates.
There follows some positive striking & running between Moff & Alex before an atrocity cruelly terminates the partnership in its youth. Actually it's a double atrocity; Sam bowls one on the dodgy length that grubs & dives for a second bounce, which Alex then clips onto his pads, looking for the run. I'm calling for a no ball from the boundary, but Sam's appealing & Ahad's got his finger up before anyone can reason, which apparently makes all ensuing reason without reason. Apparently. Anyway, we don't argue with umpires & it's 354-8.
Curtis made a couple before being bowled; I don't really remember it, but I don't think Curtis was too pleased with himself; so 361-9 as Dunc goes in to do a thoroughly professional job with Moff seeing us to what I reckon must be a new club record league score of 381-9 after 40 (pick e out the stingers was only 343-2).
Dunc finishes with 10 off 7 & Moff's unbeaten on 24 & that's that; we still have several balls & we didn't declare, but aetheric though the whole atmosphere is, tea is beckoning, rich with salivatory stimuli.
So, for me, tea was authentic Sri Lankan chicken curry with rice, followed by watermelon, strawberries & a couple of choccy biscuits with a cuppa; there may well have been other stuff available but I don't remember too well. I'm pretty sure different folks will have different experiences of it; half our team was out on the field tossing a ball about trying to soak up some more rays or something just as I started to make a start on the fruit course, which was when the hosts were just starting to eat.
The lavender oil had proved ineffective against the insistent tyrannical urgency trying to prevent me from enjoying my cup of tea & biscuits, so I began to imagine all sorts of herbal remedies to solve the desynchronisation issues, glanded a bit of peppermint, kava, even valerian & sent out the vibes; I don't know whether it worked, but I got to essentially enjoy my tea before there were any signs of opposition players wanting to restart; it was still going to be the longest Sunday of the year, it was still perfect clarity & it was still the best reality that I could possibly imagine for the day. I'd have really liked a second cuppa, but everyone else would have been upset.
The plan seemed to be dependent on whether or how many Rizvis opened the batting. I'm not sure what the conditional situation was, but we got a Sam & opened with an Alex from one end & a Dunc from the other. Within a couple of deliveries Rob had remembered & recognised the sponginess of the wicket & everyone went a bit straighter in front; this took me into cover point; a nice part of the square for Dunc's bowling, but onto an area where there were evidently moles on crack underfoot for the other end.
The other bat was Benura & he was chunky & powerful & whenever possible went at it pretty full on, but Sam seemed a bit out of sorts, which is not unusual at the start of his innings, but rare for it to continue.
Benura in particular was trying to lose some balls, but our search team had its headlights on & they were pretty much all coming back looking to take wickets. Dunc's recovery skills involved abseiling, rafting, bivouacking, orienteering & free running; he set off on a cyder moment mission into the dark Cam Brook copse & returned with the same fledgling ball that had got itself lost earlier without another having to waste its life in what might be a slow & pointless exercise in torture.
Dunc had Sam in some trouble & kept it strangly tight with Benura too, but it was Alex that got the breakthrough.
Sam had been successfully frustrated & hoiked himself desperately out of shape, edging to Tom stood up. He wasn't walking, although we'd all heard it & were all feeding that information back to him, some discussion with the umpire ensued before Sam eventually acknowledged his fate & so they were 38-1 when Syd came in to bat.
Syd had his most belligerent face on, but with his nose flying at a dangerously high angle; hit a four & shortly after Dunc strangled him down the leg side, with Tom accepting the nick smoothly. There was less than no walking this time, but this was hardly inaudible either. I'm not quite sure how it was arranged as for some reason I've completely forgotten that bit, but Syd did eventually go at 44-2. And 2 balls later Dunc was nonchalantly, although it really was deserving of no more fuss than that, sticking up one hand to take the easy return catch off the number 4 Fernando; 44-3.
This brings in Alwis & so begins the only seriously challenging partnership of the game.
After Alwis & Benura dig in & see off Alex & Dunc, Rob brings on Happy, desperate to somehow make an impact on the game, no matter how pathetic, from the camping field end, & Grant from the wall end. Ahad slips imperceptibly into the shadows under the trees near the spectators.
Happy starts off giving Tom a proper workout. Tom, & I know he'll forgive me for saying this, was not keeping at a level his hands once knew, but still remembered & always will. So Happy is trying to remind his cerebellum fast track. The number 2 in the b column refers to 2 distinct & separate events, taking place not only in the same season or the same month, but the same innings. Deny it though his sweetly protective brother might & little matter that they were vile, ugly grubbers, we can all see it; Tom has joined the ranks of us mortals. Welcome back Tom. The new version of Tom sings feedback to the bowlers & every so often finds new high notes for the lyrics of "Catch it". I found the performance enjoyable & entertaining throughout & wouldn't hesitate to recommend him to all my friends. Can't wait to catch the show next time he plays around these ere parts. Five stars.
Moff had just recovered from some good gully diving when the rehearsals were rudely interrupted as Happy gave Benura a long hop in range. Fortunately I'd been trying to conjure this one for a while, so I don't think I had to move, except to take a step back on impact as I guess he did fairly lace it. These things are pretty hard to judge when the locus coeruleus does its work; it's all see ball, no strobing despite the dark background copse, catch ball. Sternum high, gentle amount of arc, straight in. Kerching; even the scorers are cheering; game over. 108-4 & it's down to Alwis & Tharaka now.
They bat well for a few overs, but then Alwis gets suckered & lofts one out to the empty space at deep midwicket off Grant. Soon as he does it, Ahad drops the crypsis & materialises to take the catch easily, albeit pretty low; 119-5.
With Tom nicely warmed up by Happy, Rob feels confident enough in his brother to bring on Curtis, which completely kills the game; it's all just dots & wickets from then on. Never mind Rob, I'm sure I'll get a bowl in Sunday's intraclub friendly. With this single terrible captaincy decision all the accumulated goodwill of the day just goes up in smoke & all humour drains from the field.
First Dunc uses both hands to take a simple dolly to mid on, then more boring dots, then Curtis didn't even bother involving anyone else & just bowled the last man. The last real man didn't reckon he could bat & the other players were not physically present & added by the Lions to the imaginary records for some reason or other. 122-7 is all out.
After the match I availed myself of Alwis' wrap offer when he repeated it; he says they'd be happy to host us down there for some friendly cricket. I asked him about the camping field & he said he'd have to get permission from the local community, but that if it was all low key there should be no reason why not. If we don't come up with anything else this September, it's only 45 minutes away; facilities seem limited, but there's water, leccy & gas in the building. We would probably need to invest in a substantial number of balls though.
Back at the Plough someone was voted MoM & there were some nominations for cyder moment. Like so much else, that's gone the way of the sunset & faery dust now. I remember an agreement from those who were present to each have a go at putting something down though.