I awoke slightly hazy and having dressed, went down for breakfast. The air wa electric - who was going to play today? Eventually after the "Selection Committee" had met again, the team was announced. I was rostered to play in the 50 overs game on Sunday which suited me as I prefer the long game. However, the weather for both days was looking a liitle grim.
Our trusted driver Marlon arrived and took us to the ground. The grass, as we had noted earlier, had still not been cut, and the skies were very overcast. Regardless of this, we decided on some practise and duly took part, bowling once again on the concrete ramp. Another few balls flew into the neighbours' gardens, including a white one we were supposed to be used in the match. Great. One ended up in a nearby restarant. At this point, the guy with a mower duly turned up and started to cut the long grass. He was using one of those sit-on jobs so loved by the residents of Sutton Coldfield. Then it started to rain and we decamped to the pavilion where lunch was served.
The Captains decided upon a 12 - over - a side game as we could not start until 2.30 pm. This was preceeded by the introductions of the teams and team photographs. As Melbourne were fielding an ex-test wicketkeeper, a couple of Jamaican under-19's, it was decided they would bat first. To cheer us on, Gwen Five Pints had turned up to cheer us on - not bad for a Scots woman I thought. She didn't last the course though, deciding that Bob Marley was more interesting.
Birmingham promptly took to the field and a great start enshewed - three overs for a mere ten runs and one wicket! Then in worsening conditions under foot, Melbourne decided to not bother with singles and hit another eighty without loss. At one point the groundman was complaining of having to get the ball out of the neighbours garden! Up stepped Papa Cowdrey to the plate and took the vital wicket of Andre MacCartney and Birmingham were fighting back. Eventually, four wickets were captured but at the cost of 137.
Birmingham's reply was led by Alan and he managed 6 before falling to the quick bowler. There then followed Sir Geoff who fended off an over before falling for 2. Mr. Five Pints played bravely for his 2., befoire skying one to mid-wicket. As you have gathered, wickets were falling with predictable regularity until Colin, batting at No. 10 and Birmingham's last hope and he was out swishing three times to the spinner who sportingly tossed the ball up for a few runs to make the total of 38 look at little more respectable. Unsurprisingly, this earned him the sobriquet of "Zorro" for the rest of the tour; probably for the rest of his life if Haydn has anything to do with it.
The Captain was out on the last delivery of the 12 overs and Melbourne had won by 99 runs. A creditable effort by Birmingham and no disgrace. When you see the quality of Andre MacCartney and his wonderful footwork, akin to Gower in my view, you'll understand what they were up against. However, the team returned back to the hotel somewhat subdued and mulled over the loss over a few Red Stripes. Well tomorrow offered the prospect of another go - weather permitting
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