Although attracting marginally fewer spectators than the Ryder Cup, the eagerly anticipated Common Room Prep v Senior cricket match, the first game to be played on the XI, took place on Friday 26th September.
The Senior Common Room took the honour of batting first and sent out Captain Cole alongside the swashbuckling Salt who, in the course of his innings, recorded the first four and six to be scored on the ground. On their retirement, the stylish Paul McCraw and David Webb continued to bludgeon the Prep School attack who kept themselves in the game thanks to some outstanding fielding from the Director of Music, Geraint Watkins. Further batsmen retirements saw the appearance of the cricketing magician Frank Hardee, who became the first victim of the day when caught by Dan Scott off the near unplayable bowling of Jon McNaught. The innings came to a close at 69-1 when thunder and lightning appeared behind the bowler’s arm.
The forty minute delay provided time for analysis and a restorative drink at the Master’s Lodge. Using the Duckworth Lewis method, the Prep School Common Room needed to score at 8.75 per over to win the match and were soon in trouble when Alistair Halls was trapped leg before by the Master in the first over after drinks. Matters were made worse when Kenton Tomlinson bowled Jon McNaught and Ed Hawkins and Geoff Anderson returned to the pavilion with the required run rate increasing. A brief flurry from Joe Moriarty and Andy Gough made for an interesting couple of overs before Gough was outwitted by a pacy leg cutter from Mark Cole and Moriarty was brilliantly stumped by Graeme Salt off the bowling of the Master. Dan Scott hit the last ball of the match for four in near darkness but by then the Senior School were heading back to the Lodge for celebratory refreshment.
Thanks to all involved and, in particular, Kalam and his assistant groundsmen for preparing a good and true wicket and Alex Mosedale for his fine umpiring. It may have taken three years to get to the first match but it has been worth the wait. A wonderful occasion and reminiscent of Headingley in June.