Format: 40 overs
Result: Abandoned by rain
Match Manager: A.W.Meier
MAD MORTON: FURY ROAD
“It’s an absolute road.” “It’s gonna be a huge run-fest.” “I’m going to get a double ton.”
These are just some of the comments uttered by Fergus Cable-Alexander in the lead up to this game. To be fair, our previous two games here would back up the formerly-young opener’s claims. In 2016, Corporal T. Morton made the highest score in IVCC history, 143; and in 2017 Mark Law followed up his 47 in 2016 with a fine 92, accompanied by Smith’s 55*. In total, we had scored 519 runs in 68 overs – so FCA’s claims for a run-fest certainly had grounds.
And things started so well for the Baron. With IVCC’s dependable opening pair of FCA and Meier trotting to the wicket like a real-life Pumbaa and Timon, the Cable Guy took 8 from the first over of the day. With his previous score of 88* still very much fresh in his memory, he saw another opportunity to stake his claim as one of IVCC’s premier batsmen. Sadly, it wasn’t to be. Momentarily losing his head, Pumbaa took an ugly swipe across the line, missed it by a country, and was clean bowled. Hakuuna Matata, as they say.
Meier, carefully constructing a picket fence of craftily-nurdled singles at one end, was joined by everyone’s favourite Australian, Sam Conway. After a couple of solid defence shots, it wasn’t long before the Antipodean revealed his true self and started slashing at and bashing everything with all the subtlety of Steve Irwin wading through ray-infested waters.
With the score accelerating slower than a paraplegic hurdler, Meier took the opportunity to “hit out” and struck a rare boundary through the covers. Perhaps too excited, the demure meerkat dollied up a catch to mid-off soon thereafter for 16, to the relief of everyone watching.
This brought Tim “The Beast” Morton, as nobody has yet called him, to the crease. His standard-issue Army cap, now but a distant memory, replaced by a more modern-looking cap of West Indian deep maroon. Channelling Chris Gayle, the Beast was into his stride early – picking up boundaries ‘pon da regular. Despite early promise, Conway couldn’t replicate his batting partner’s prowess and struggled against one of the really slow bowlers – often swiping two or three times at each delivery. Riding his luck once too often, and in a case of outstanding irony (or poetic licence), his heart/wicket was speared by a full bunger from a bowler called Ray. Rack off.
IVCC’s first debut of the day went to Matt Dennis, a fine farmer of cows and sporter of achingly-hip skinny jeans. The Beast and the Menace mixed hard-hitting with some deft touches (Dennis’ sweeps to fine leg scoring high on the aesthetometer) to steadily increase the visitors’ tally. With such beefy swashbuckling, however, inevitably a few chances will be offered and both batsmen rode their luck as both were dropped at least twice apiece – the poor chap in black trackies and grey tshirt at deep square leg was the unfortunate recipient of some sky-high offerings that he, sportingly, chose to let slip through his battered fingers. As the rain began to drizzle, and the farming puns began to flow like milk from a teat, the farmer ploughed on; and it was deja moo for the fielding side as he regularly milked runs from cow corner. But with so much at steak, sadly his milk jug runneth dry on a solid 35 as he spooned a catch back to the bowler, leaving the young debutant udderly un-amoosed.
Esteemed author, guitarist, journalist and TMS interviewee Pete Langman was the second debutant of the day to join Morton, who by this point was scaring nearby children with the ferocity of his hitting. Described in his own words as “unorthodox but sometimes effective”, the man who was to finally displace Mark Law as the oldest person to represent the club, nurdled the singles to help keep Morton on strike as he closed in on a second IVCC century. But it was a step too far as mid-on finally hung on to a chance and the Beast was tamed on 97. A wonderful innings once again from the bearded lady. One thinks he quite likes batting at Wantage… There was time for a brief cameo from skipper Ross – who nearly decapitated Daylight with one huge six behind square – and a cheeky red-inker for Dirty Grandpa Law, before our 35 overs were up and we’d posted a healthy 230 for 6.
Sheltering from the rain as the sky began to bruise, the boys from Iffley marvelled in wonder at the bountiful spread laid before them by their Wantagian hosts. Opening strike bowlers Andy “Tonya” Harding and Tim “Looks More Like Rob Key Than Rob Key Does” Ellis wondered aloud whether they should go for that extra ham sarnie, that extra mysterious pork product, that extra handful of pretzels… Ellis is no stranger to an extra pork pie or two, so he was able to handle the extra weight with typical aplomb, and saw a miserly 2 runs from his opening over. Harding, a rock hard slab of granite fashioned by years of military training, was clearly less used to such over-zealous ingestion and promptly served up an over of excrement the likes of which hadn’t been seen since that fateful Daniel Watkins over of 2016. Watching Tonya be smote down to the legside boundary by a (very) poor man’s Thor was particularly chastening. However, our man with the sharpest parting this side of the Thames Valley managed to rein it in thereafter as our devilish duo set about applying the pressure on the opposition.
It was Rob Key that made the first breakthrough, forcing "My Legs Are a Little" Thor to slice a leading edge high into the sky for the shaky hands of Meier to snaffle gratefully. Meier celebrated with an extra sausage roll, smuggled onto the field in his underwear like some dodgy Australian and a roll of sandpaper. 31-1, and the heavens continued to splutter light drizzle upon our intrepid heroes.
Tonya and Key were replaced by the skipper, “Radley” Ross, and Rob “Daylight” Berry as IVCC looked to press home their advantage. With the opposition falling further and further behind the run rate, it was Daylight who bowled their other opener with a short pitched delivery that barely got off the ground and was but a matter of inches from bouncing twice and being an illegal delivery. High fives all round at 55-2, which quickly became 55-3 when the dirtiest of Grandpas, Mark Law, leapt like a constipated salmon and clung on to a nick in the slips off the skipper’s bowling.
Wantage’s tail was clearly quite long but not prepared to wag, certainly not in this inclement weather. Ross bowled their number 6 to make it 57-4, then that man Law once again showing the youngsters how it’s done with another fine catch off Daylight. However, at 68-5, the heavens parted her legs a little bit more, arched her back and drenched the pitch in her divine effluence. With the match swiftly abandoned, time was called and the opposition thanked us for a “sporting draw”. There was just time for the Chairman’s round at the bar (NB: definitely NOT to become a regular thing!) and fines to be dished out, before the elite sporting heroes of the Village retired to their wives, girlfriends or hands back at home. A moral victory, and we look forward to seeing our Wantage friends again next year.
Man of the Match: Tim Morton, for another thunderous innings.
Ali Meier, Chairman, 4 June 2019