With the demands of the All Saints' School two week half-term holiday in May removing many Dads from the squad, St. Margaret's feared that they might be completely out of their depth against a very strong Overoptimist team.
Incorporated into the Overops’ line-up were a number of local ‘club cricketers’, so with three under 15s, one under 11 (Sam Pilling), and the rest a collection of ‘over 40's’, the odds looked strongly against a first victory over the Overops.
However, on a dull but humid evening, Fr. Philip won the toss - probably his best contribution of the evening! - and chose to bat knowing the Almighty had something in store later on. St. Margaret's processed to the wicket with purpose and the openers Ramage and Pennett got them off to a swift start. Pennett managed to ‘hole out’ a beamer in the deep and left the wicket with a ‘Ballotelli-like’ disconsolate gait.
However, Ramage scythed his way to thirty with a varied collection of agricultural blows whilst young Charlie Pilling stylishly played cultured cricket strokes at the opposite end. Contrasting styles, but both paid healthy dividends on the scorecard. When Ramage retired on 30 St. Margaret's were 60-1 and the big shock was beginning to look a possibility.
The Overops no longer looked at all relaxed!
David Graves added a further eleven with some lovely lugubrious strokeplay. Charlie was then joined by his father Simon, and together they puffed and panted their way through the overs, steadily amassing a most decent total. The running between the wickets gradually improved and a healthy collection was being accumulated.
The final overs brought a number of small processions from pavilion to wicket as big blows were attempted in the final few overs. Around these Mike ‘wet T-shirt’ Picken also aggregated a very welcome 15 as he held the anchor. 119 for 7 was a highly respectable total.
The teams changed roles as the clouds darkened with eschatological force. Pennett opened the bowling looking for revenge and took his wicket. However, at the other end, young Anthony Gray stepped out of his cassock and surplice and straight into his whites to deliver the two most outstanding overs of the evening, dismissing two of the Overops’ top batsmen with direct and speedy deliveries.
The tenor of the evening was changing in all sorts of ways. However, O'Hara and Sykes for the Overops then took control, both collecting their 25 with consummate ease. With apocalyptic skies truly darkened the white ball was a veritable revelation, instead of the red, before the heavens opened.
With only ten overs to go it was time for the St. Margaret's fielders to undergo their first full immersion baptism! Runs were accumulated and wickets fell, as Fr. Philip consulted Genesis for the measurements of an ark.
Young Andrew Rabbage deserved his two excellent wickets in two overs, very much keeping hope alive. The overs were being speedily delivered ‘two by two’ as the rains lashed down, but the Overops were always just marching ahead of the pace. They reached the dry land of 120 with only one over to spare and eight wickets down, but ultimately everyone was just pleased to reach the rainbow of the pavilion - a wonderful congregation of supporters who had had a very entertaining evening.
Well done St. Margaret's for crossing this Jordan, for the promised land of victory against the Overops cannot now be far away!
St. Margaret’s 119 – 7
(Ramage 30no; C Pilling 24; S Pilling 21; Picken 15no)
The Overoptimists 120 – 8 in 19 overs
(A Gray 2-6; A Rabbage 2-7)
Man of the Match: Anthony Gray