We prepared for the match in true French fashion with a game of boules on the outfield. But ours was not the only game in town, as the Mayor was in attendance for the local ladies’ football team’s first game, which Eymet’s girls beat a team in, er, red and black, by the crushing margin of 14-0. Great entertainment for us at the innings break, perhaps not the greatest omen for the Allstars.
After captain for the day Vivek Seth had decided to field first, Paul Bowman gave us the perfect start by having Rhodes caught behind by Jon Hautot before wrecking left-hander Tim Smith’s stumps with a perfect swinging yorker. At the other end, Chadders probed away on a tight line, keeping the Eymet batsmen in check.
Paul Nicol had surprisingly not been asked to bowl against St Aulaye the day before, and he showed us what we’d missed with the spell of the day. After removing Hinds and Fabb to catches to Tarka at slip and Ben Hampton at gully, he then had Bailey caught by KP and castled Morgan. Although the leader of the Nicolite faction couldn’t quite add another “Michelle” to his collection, by the time he’d finished Eymet were 46-6 and we were in complete control.
Eymet skipper Sam Hawell stood alone against the Allstar onslaught, playing strongly off his legs as he went to his fifty. But he had little support at the other end as skipper Vivek joined the wickets party, bowling Taylor with a full toss I can only describe as a “Rain Men delivery”. KP returned to mop up the tail, and we faced a victory target of 113. A modest score, but could we keep our nerve?
Vivek boldly sent in Ben to open the innings, and “Le Grand Cheval” rewarded his captain with a flying start, crashing 17 off just 11 balls, including a huge six over cow (horse?) corner, before having his off stump knocked out. Squadron Leader Rob Jackson continued the Allstars assualt, crunching a couple of fours off the usually parsimonious Bishop. By the time he too was bowled we were 53-2 and nearly halfway there.