Paters’ Cricket Match
The 1st XI Paters’ 2021 cricket season may have been more brief than usual, but the boundary commentary, with expansive views on batting form, bowling line and fielding had nonetheless been outstanding – who would have thought so many experts existed outside the TMS commentary box? So, it would seem a simple task to show these young lads a thing or two about cricket. Despite the forecast of torrential rain and thunderstorms, Sunday 4th July dawned grey but dry, and, thankfully, the pitch passed inspection. The stage was set at the magnificent Elstree Cricket Ground (“ECG”): the 1st XI had an unusually long and tactical discussion with their wily, but still young and precocious coaches and mentors (Mr Champkin and Mr Morris), surely reminding the boys to tighten their pads and to stand well back in the field; the Paters of course didn’t need a warm up, just a desultory stretch and suggestions for the BBQ at tea.
Paters to bowl first
The Paters exercised their traditional right to bowl first. The boys were at first bamboozled by the attack. The slow bowlers were so good they actually managed to get the ball to the other end with a perfectly judged 2nd bounce immediately behind the stumps. Some of the boys thought their fathers would play with deliberate restraint – how wrong they were. Any restraint was entirely unintentional. The boys were challenged by the pace, accuracy and determination of their Paters to show them what it takes to be a real cricketer. By now the ECG could have been Lords, The Oval or MCG with the Ashes at stake. A few dropped catches just showed the Paters’ ability to get in position quickly when required, even if their finish was somewhat lacking.
The youngsters set a modest yet respectable (in their Paters view) total to overcome.
Tea was served between innings. The boys showed an uncustomary enthusiasm to serve their fathers by learning to open beer bottles without an opener, apparently the most useful life skill not taught at school (who really needs to know how to wash a car or pack a bag?). Unbeknownst to the Paters this was a cunning attempt to distract them from finishing the boys off with ease.
Paters to bat
Time to bat. The more experienced Paters were, of course, at the top of the order. The opening few deliveries were somewhat tactical making it difficult to get to the ball; but with time a loose one allowed a traditional slog sweep (pull shot to the amateurs) directly at the nearest fielder who duly fell injured. Only ten left to go. Somewhat predictably a bouncer from the quick one followed with no real threat to life or limb. A plumb LBW from the spinner was a fair trade for a fielder.
Through the remainder of the innings the Paters exerted great pressure with some powerful and athletic batting performances coming from the dads. Combined with deft placement by the more savvy they piled on the runs. The Londoners more than made up for their tardiness, and a couple of tennis champions displayed fine form with the bat.
However, as the game wore on it seemed the youngsters knew how to defend a modest total, and by the time the final pair reached the middle it was apparent they would claim yet another victory in this annual fixture.
Thanks to their tireless coaches and their own hard work, this season the boys have learned an enormous amount about teamwork, camaraderie and sportsmanship in a short period of time. The boundary support and affection of parents showed how immensely proud of their children they are for throwing themselves with enthusiasm into their cricket this year. It was a privilege and great pleasure to participate in the Paters match which proved to be a joyous occasion and fitting end to the season.
Andy Robinson, Parent