On Sunday, the world’s number 1 ranked team (South Africa) played arguably the world’s most accomplished all round side (India) at the same time as the Rioteers swaggered down to Cadnam. Thousands of fans brought noise, colour and exuberance to one match, whereas the other had a legendary bread and butter pudding.
In both matches, the side batting first scored rather fewer than they would have hoped, which the other side knocked off to win by quite a few wickets, thanks to an innings from their star players, almost playing within themselves.
However, the Rioteers broke the recent pattern of fielding first at Cadnam and spending hours in the forest looking for a lost ball; of being bludgeoned physically and cricketing wise, and of hanging on for a draw almost from the first, and took the game to Cadnam, with noteworthy knocks from Cap’n Bix and Archie getting us to 176/9.
Whereas the only spark from SA was their (Theresa, not Peter) May-esque self-immolation of 3 comical run outs (one more than the Rioteers managed), as yet again, they limped out of a major tournament rather joylessly.
So as SA look to rediscover their true houding ; their inner Jonty Rhodes – reincarnated as Hillier (B) this season it seems – their Lance Klusener grunt and their Peter/Shaun Pollock vim (delete according to vintage), they could do worse than observe the Rioteers’ renaissance and at least go down with some style.
Big shout out to debutants Tom (‘bowled well without luck’ – Bix) and Tim (‘a real find behind the stumps’) and a welcome back to Jim Slape (3 wickets for not very many) – we look forward to seeing you Rioteering again soon.
Next Sunday sees the Champions Trophy final and Rioteers v Bryanston – one a rather arriviste fixture of only passing interest and little quality or pedigree, the other (that’s enough of that – ed.)
(Braz has taken the scorebook to France for some light holiday reading, hence detail-lite match report).