The Mad Dogs C.C. tour of Grenada rolls on. After a Sunday postponement due to a death in the village, MDCC's touring team returned to the field on Tuesday, and it was a good thing we didn't play Sunday as Keith
and Tony were absent and we didn't have many players who weren't 19 year old kids we had just met on the
Tuesday then - and another game in St Andrew's Parish. We took the long drive over the mountains to
Grenville, where we met the ever friendly but increasingly devious Mr Evelyn Fredericks promised to take us to a lovely little ground that would be more suitable to our talents.
So we left the Grenville ground that had been the site of our last week's triumph and headed beyond the town
to the neighborhood of Telescope, where the West Indies have probably not been practicing. As usual
there was only one problem with the St Andrews Secondary School field. It was small, not to say tiny,
and there were some massive blokes on the opposition "Super Dads". But of that, much more later.
It was not so hot but it was sticky humid claggy and generally not like Cleethorpes in April, but
fortunately Neil Harrison won the toss and elected to bat with his stacked line up full of MDCC and ringer
talent. The old firm of Lawrence and Palmer set off modestly in their stylish helmets against Test quality
bowling like Joel Garner and Malcolm Marshall (Palms made me write this), but then used the limited
dimensions of the SASS field to good effect, with Rosie playing some trademark cover drives and Keith
pulling and hitting over the top powerfully. As Eddie pointed out it was a day for "if it's in the V, it's
in the tree.." Prophetic words indeed, young man.
79 were accrued off 14 before Palmer wandered down the wicket to converse with spinner Felix and forgot to
hit the ball, being stumped by a country mile for a tidy 22. Kimbo came to the wicket and proceeded to do
a little jig as the quick bowling of Sylvester threatened to mess up his whites. After a short but
nervous stay he popped one up and departed for 6. John Ferguson of Perth came to the wicket and proceeded to
play himself in for a ball or two before joining Keith in an entertaining stand of 40 or so, with both left
handers producing some stylish biff and indeed biffish style. Sir Keith then perished unfortunately on 98,
caught on the boundary off a young man whose first ball had been rudely treed a few moments earlier.
Jide Adedeji came in for his first Mad Dog innings and did a fine job, mixing powerful cuts and drives with
singles in support of Ferguson's classy strokeplay. Jide departed lbw for 16, and Boyke followed bowled
for 7, while a dodgy boundary catch accounted for Ferguson, the young Aussie making a quality 36. The
usual collapse ensued, although skipper Neil Harrison moved the scoreboard along with aplomb before running
out of partners at 9 not out as other members of the clan failed to concern the scorers. The innings closed
at 224 for 9 off 30 which seemed like a good total. How wrong we were....
The first over of the Super Dads innings raised little alarm as Tony gave up 4 runs. But it was the next over
from the top end that was a sign of things to come asiff merchant L John biffed 15 off the opening salvo
from Eric Harrison. Tony then received similar treatment. Steve McCracken came on for Eric and the
carnage continued. Possibly destabilized for life by this experience, Steve looked on forlornly as a series
of decent deliveries was dispatched into and over the road to the tune of 44 off 2 overs. At 93 for 0 off 6
overs it was obvious that we might have a problem, Houston...
The Tonkin' starts
And so we turned to the spin twins of Keith Lawrence and Neil Harrison, who bowled cleverly and with credit given the size of the park, and conceded only moderate biff. After the opener Thomas retired bored (on 39), after some heckling from the sidelines, The wily Lawrence removed the new batsman S Ranger for 0 via an edge to chirpy Chris Wright behind the stumps , and he returned to an amused crowd and a ribald reception. He immediately left St Andrews Parish never to be seen again on this side of the island. 142 for 1 off 11 overs. It was obviously getting late, even though it was still early.
The ever-optimistic skipper wheeled in again and by virtue of some good slower variation trapped R Ranger lbw for 23, and then removed Felix who lost his leg stump to a quicker one for 8. At this point the mighty L John retired on 104 having hit 14 sixes in his knock. 161 for 3 off 14 overs and we thought the worst might be over, but the Sturm und Drang approach continued to hold sway as Lawrence, Ferguson, and even Boyke joined
the attack only to be dispatched to all parts by the middle order. Eric Harrison bowled well on his recall to the attack and removed Hopkins bowled for 14 before the inevitable denouement as Super Dads ran out victors with 234 for 4 off 20.4 overs, an interesting game under conditions that were clearly more familiar to absent lovebirds James Thornton and Jonas Wilson, than to the MDCC team actually assembled for this stirring encounter. The bowling figures will not be disclosed here but they are available to anyone who has a penchant for slasher movies and other forms of horrific entertainment not suitable for those of a tender temperament.
To Mr Fredericks we say thank you for another fascinating insight into island life and cricket. We are all bigger and better men for having been given an almighty thumping on a little school ground by men with thighs for forearms and tree trunks for bats. We salute you, Super Dads. On that pitch you can probably beat any side in the world. Ponto, Pigeon, Haydos, Crusty and the boys would be bricking it here and even Murali's doosra would be useless since L John never let the ball bounce. Now can we please go back to a normal sized cricket field?? I have to say that if these lads came up north on a cool damp day to play us at MDP, I think they would probably crap on us up there as well..!!
As usual, beer followed, and the usual long drive back to the villa in L'Anse Aux Epines where Aunty Margeret
served up an enormous helping of Grenadan Humble Pie which we all ate in silence. Is Mad Dog cricket dead,
or just slightly wounded? Will the Phoenix rise from the Ashes for one more glorious assault on Grenada's cricketing honour..??
Watch this space...