Friday 13th June 2014
2014 is the year of the rematch. The All Blacks have had their revenge in the land of the long white cloud, as have the Australians in the Ashes. Carl Froch hammered George Groves in a grudge match that was so hyped it nearly managed to over-shadow the ultimate show down of the year. Staff vs Dads.
Emails had been flying around since the previous meeting, where the Dads had been sent packing, citing a number of excuses. These ranged from being forced to bat second in the dying light, a lack of preparedness or simply that they didn’t have the right kit.
Magnanimous as ever, TWEC (Captain of the Staff XI) agreed to let the Dads bat first, use the school nets to practice and even agreed not to mock the ‘Death or Glory’ crest that the fathers had placed on their brand new kit. As CWL and AWOC came steaming in for their opening spell, it became clear that the logo on the badge would be only half accurate, for there was little ‘glorious’ about the scorecard after 6 overs: 6-1, with the leading scorer being extras and Mr Thomas back in the pavilion having fallen victim to a CWL yorker.
Mr Hampshire, one of the new recruits for the Dads XI, steadied the ship well with fellow debutant Mr Williams and began to rebuild the innings, before former Calidicottian Angus Spratling rolled back the years and took a sharp caught and bowled to dismiss Mr Hampshire.
This brought Mr Pym, the captain and lead protagonist in the aforementioned emails, to the crease. Having been dismissed first ball in last year’s match, he was eager to make amends and, to his credit, he swiftly tucked into the bowling, showing that there was some bite to go with his bark. CWL was brought back to stem the tide, but he was dispatched with something approaching distain through the covers by that Dads’ skipper. Something for CWL to remember until next year…
Captain TWEC then bought himself on to try and tempt Mr Pym into skying a catch before he bludgeoned his way to a quick-fire 30* and the plan worked perfectly as the ball flew out to the fielder at long-off…only for it to be shelled by an unidentified member of staff.
With the captain retiring with his honour satisfied, Mr Greenwood came to the crease determined to up the tempo: so much so that Mr Williams could not keep up with the pace and found himself stranded in the middle of the pitch and run-out.
Messers Greenwood and Mercer did indeed up the scoring rate, but the Dads soon fell victim to one of their own. ADJB, and his special brand of super-slow off-spin, took three quick wickets to leave his fellow fathers floundering. Perhaps next year, he might get the call up?
The pressure was maintained all the way through the innings, with Matt ‘Malinga’ Hutchings being called upon to bowl the death over and, although he did demolish the wrong set of stumps at one point, he finished off the innings by knocking back Mr Sibson’s middle stump, leaving the Dads at 124-8 off their 20 overs.
Much would depend on the start that the staff could make, and it was good news for the Dads, as after two overs, TZ was still on 0. Unfortunately, TWEC had moved onto 29 off 10 balls, including a trademark gentle flick onto the pavilion roof that sent spectators scattering for cover.
Notwithstanding the darkening skies, the Staff made light work of the total, with TZ, AMPH joining TWEC in the pavilion having retired at 30, leaving CWL and HF to knock off the winning runs in the 16th over.
Despite the flying leather, the rushing blades of willow and the phoney war of words that had preceded the match, the fixture, and BBQ and drinks that followed, was played in excellent spirit. The staff extend their thanks to the Dads, and especially to Mr Pym, for organising the fixture and to the Mums for providing the food and drinks for the après-cricket. There can be no doubts that all participants are all eagerly looking forward to the next instalment of this sporting rivalry.