Match Report RTCC v Rainmen 2021
Sunday 2nd May 2021
at Regents Park
Railway Taverners won by 9 wickets
Matches against the Rainmen can be as unpredictable as the early season weather. When the rain does not intervene, they can make for high scoring affairs, and a few years back they chased down 309 with ease to hand us a chastening defeat. This year, however, it was our turn to enjoy a walk in the park.
Our opposition was reportedly keen on a time game to retain the possibility of batting out a draw, but we eventually agreed on a 35 overs match. Rainmen won the toss to bat first on a pitch which looked like it could spell trouble. It turned out that appearances were deceptive, however, as it revealed a slow but mostly benign nature. Regardless of the surface though, not many batsmen would have thrived against the opening bowling spells from Dave and Lachlan. The former eased himself into his work and quickly found his rhythm to bowl an incredible four maidens in his seven overs, while the latter beat the edge repeatedly from around the wicket. Their openers dug in until they were firmly entrenched, and the score crept to 12-0 off 10 overs, which set the tone for the remainder of the innings.
The first breakthrough eventually came via a run-out. Their number 1 was a bit too keen to get to the non-strikerís end and challenged his partner to take on Chrisís arm. Nish still had plenty to do after gathering the throw, but the batsman knew he was a goner and did not wait for the umpire to confirm his fate. Their number 3, who had travelled all the way from Lincoln for the day, came in and was determined to make the journey worth his while. Quick feet paired with an effective pick-up shot over Mid-wicket soon had him outscoring his fellow teammates, but with the pressure building, chances inevitably followed. Dom was first to capitalise, judging an overhead catch at Mid-off to perfection, before their number 4 top-edged a sweep to Eiran at Square Leg.
With the score on 45-3 at drinks, a sense of serenity descended on proceedings. Despite their best batsmanís efforts to keep the innings afloat, our bowling unit went about its business without fuss, sharing the wickets and keeping the run-rate in check. There was the odd moment of excitement of course, as Eiran bounded like a gazelle to take a steepler of a catch Ė an effort which was met with roars of approval by the lions at London Zoo. But passers-by who stopped to take in the scenery were treated to the postcard image of a park match, played at a pace befitting of a Sunday.
Eventually, Rainmen had reached a total of 119-7, with their intrepid number 3 scoring 73 of their runs. We returned to the boundary to the polite applause of our opposition alongside various family members and friends, who had laid out their picnic blankets to join us for refreshments. There was still a match to be won, of course, but a strong batting line-up and a small target tempted a few of us into taking off our boots and reclining with a bottle of beer in hand.
Such hubris is usually frowned upon by the vengeful cricketing gods, but they too had decided that this was not the day to meddle with the joy of the game, and instead settled down to watch the Reilly brothers bat. They got us off to an untroubled start, each getting his eye in before taking the attack to the bowlers, and the tally of runs required was halved after just 12 overs as the scoring rate climbed. Eiran brought up a well-deserved fifty in the 16th over and took the gracious decision to retire. James, obviously missing his brotherís company, then gave our oppo a rare moment of triumph as he was dismissed soon afterwards.
Dom and Ben took the reins with the scores on 97-1 and calmly steered us closer to our target. There was slight consternation that a particularly dark cloud would spoil things at the last, but after spitting on us momentarily, it veered off to irrigate the gardens of Hampstead instead. Ben then punched the winning run through the covers in the 23rd over to put the finishing touches on another successful outing by a strong Tavs side.
The match was recorded as a 9 wicket victory in the scorebook, but as the teams shared beers and stories outside the pub afterwards, the overriding feeling was that this had been an enjoyable dayís play for all involved. A game played between old friends that celebrated the art of Sunday cricket, right from the first ball of the day to the last beer of the night.
Rainmen 119-7 off 35 overs
Matthias Winter 7-1-33-2
Chris Langley 7-0-41-2
James Reilly 37 (38 balls, 5 fours)