The annual staff against students cricket match took place yesterday afternoon and evening. Gus had roped me in to be part of the team. He had promised me at least one practise session but somehow we never got around to that. He also said that he would take me to the Ageas Bowl near Southampton to see a match there but that never happened either. But I did manage to catch a few cricket highlights programmes on Channel 5, so I did at least have some idea of what to expect.
Gus, Mike and Tony had found it difficult to put together a team from the economics staff. But the students had kindly agreed to allow two people from accounting who had taught them on some of their option modules to play. Fortunately for us one of them in particular was rather good. His name is Amir Khan and, apparently, he was a good enough cricketer to play for the university side when he was a student at Essex.
It was a twenty over a side game and the students won the toss and elected to bowl first. Fortunately the format prevented their best players dominating the match. Everybody except the wicket keeper was required to bowl two overs. This meant that their best bowler, a tall second year lad who bowled at what seemed like a hundred miles an hour, came up against our opening batsmen, Tony Steel and Mike Rowe. They managed to get off to a solid start - a little slow in terms of runs but without the loss of either wicket.
By the time I came in to bat, at number eight, the students were down to their less effective bowlers. Bob Bunn was already at the wicket. The wicket that had fallen to bring me in was due to a silly run out involving Bob Bunn and Richard Gardener, which Richard went on about at length at the social event after the cricket. It was the final ball of an over and so I had to face the first ball of the next over. Bob came down the wicket to talk to me. He said that if possible I shoud try to push the ball away into a space so we could get a single to leave him facing the rest of the over. To my astonishment this is what I managed to do. The ball came off the edge of my bat and went somewhere behind me and I saw Bob charging towards me shouting "Yes". Safely at the other end and a bit out of breath I waited to see what Bob could do. The answer was whack four successive balls to the boundary. He told me afterwards that his style is what he calls "Stand and Deliver". As the bowler runs in and lets go of the ball Bob counts one, two and three and swings the bat. He has a good eye and seems to have no problem in hitting the ball very hard.
Before the last ball of the over Bob came down to speak to me again. He said that I should be ready to run for a single again as he wanted to get up to my end for the next over. Again to my surprise this we managed with ease. To cut a long story short Bob spent the next and final two overs whacking the ball to the boundary, making me face no more deliveries so that our team score ended at 120 runs. Mike was very happy with this and said that, depending on how the students' best bastsmen did, this was a competitive score.
We needn't have worried. Mike asked Amir to bowl the first over, and before it was over three of the student batsmen had been in - and out. As with our team the quality of their batsmen was rather mixed, and with Mike, Richard and Jack all completng their two overs the students were all out for a mere 65 runs. This was a big relief to me as it meant that I didn't have to bowl. Having never once tried to bowl it could have been very embarrassing!
Sian and Bubbles had been watching the game, and Jenny, Phoebe, Heather and Sarah (Bob's wife) all joined us for the post match drinks in the Athletic Union bar. Bubbles had taken some photographs during the match and if I can get her to let me have them I will put them on Facebook.
Later in the evening the students and some of the younger staff went on to the Excess night club. Jenny and I decided not to join them but I am sure it was a fine end to the night for those who went.
Anyway, I can now say that I have played cricket. I only faced one ball, I didn't have to bowl and was only called upon to field a couple of times. But we won and the whole thing was a lot of fun.