Report by Daniel Mortlock:
We arrived at Bibury's ground today to be greeted with the best possible news: there'd be no tea break, but instead we'd be getting a BBQ and beers at the end of the game. That attitude - substitution of the pleasurable for the traditional - infused Bibury's approach to the whole game, and from the moment they headed out into the field in canary yellow caps we knew we were in for a fun few hours.
While wickets fell regularly, our top order scored pretty freely, with Dave Kittow (45 off 59 balls, following on from a half-century here last year) and Luke Champion (29 off 40 balls) making the early running. Both had some chances, which was nice for them but great for Bibury at the club level, as they had a merciless fine system in which any such infractions were greeted with a team-wide "ker-ching!" Later in the innings Tom Hall (30 off 30 balls) and Aaron Houlder (21* off 26 balls) accelerated appropriately, although what we all really wanted was for Tom to get out so that Fraser could join his son. Which Tom, to his credit, realised instinctively, as he tried his best to hit catches or run himself out . . . the result of which was, unfortunately, just more cries of "ker-ching!" But eventually he succeeded, meaning that Fraser (18* off 11 balls) got to see out the innings with Aaron.
Our total was far from daunting, and Bibury briefly scored at the required rate as Ben Kittow (2/36) lost his vertical hold and Daniel Mortlock (1/16) had three boundaries smacked off his first over. But from then on we were in complete control, as Luke Champion (2/16), Aaron Houlder (1/16), Harry Houlder (1/9) and Joe White (1/6) all took wickets and Tom Hall (1), Dave Kittow (2) and Daniel (1) all took catches. But the real star here was Harry, in his favourite position in the covers, who not only took two superb catches off good drives, but made what has to be a candidate for the best fielding effort in FAS history. First he dived full-length to stop a shot that the batsman - and most of us - thought was destined for the boundary - and then immediately jumped up, ball in hand, took aim, and fired in a throw that uprooted middle stump. That the batsman had made his ground was far less important than the fact that the rest of their line-up was now terrified, not just of Harry, but of of the rest of us as well. As such, it's no surprise that the runs dried up and we bowled them out 42 runs short of the nominal target.
After that it was just a case of eating first dinner - no bad thing since the Sunday roast at the Mill ran out - and debating the merits of real beef vs. the funny little patties that kept falling through the grill.
Report by Daniel Mortlock:
Cricket, it has often been said, is a batsman's game - and that (at least in an FAS context) was never truer than today at Blockley. On a dry deck, surrounded by a rock-hard outfield, FAS and the Bunnies (enhanced by a mysteriously-acquired pro) combined to score 577 runs (the highest ever in an FAS game) in just 67 overs - that's 8.6 runs an over all day long.
It all started with one of the best ever FAS partnerships, as Sasha Barras (122 off 80 balls) and Tom "Devon" Reynolds (142 off 88 balls) put on 229 runs for the opening wicket. It's probably not an all-time club record, but it's the highest partnership on record and meant that we surely weren't going to lose. Hal Dare (26* off 18 balls) and Johnny Nicol (4* off 4 balls) then turned it "up to eleven", allowing us to declare on a surely demoralising 299/2.
But that would be to ignore the fact that the Bunnies had their professional trump card, who was every bit as capable of scoring at will on the merciless Blockley deck. And, sure enough, his century was a good 50% faster than Sasha's and Tom's, and he seemed a good bet to take the Bunnies to an absurd win . . . until Cliff Dare (1/38) rose to the occasion and got one through the gate. We then went for the win, with Joss Dare (1/8), Jamie Dare (1/38), Zoe Dare (2/41), Alex Grubb (1/27) and James Wyatt (1/28) all taking wickets in a frenetic final hour. In the end this absurd match finished with the nominal result in the balance: we needed 3 more wickets; they needed 22 more runs; but there was no more time.