“To everything … there is a season.” This unfortunatley applies also to cricket, and so the Rioteers arrived at Braishfield ready to play their last cricket of 2017, and what would end up being both their second and third games this season against good friends and splendid hosts, Newport Inn.
Having won the toss, Captain Hillier, confident in our attack, put Newport in to bat first. Martin’s confidence was justified, as the Rioteers’ bowlers worked with both speed and economy (J Hall 3-18, A Hillier 2-5, A Mills 2-19, B Hillier 2-29, R Rinaldo 1-10). There was some decent fielding too. Yours truly’s catch from a sharp cover drive off one of Archie’s balls, more an act of self defence than anything else, managed to stick. James Hillier took an assured catch off Robert Rinaldo—henceforth to be called Brinaldo—to secure the bowler’s first ever wicket (later in the day he experienced another first, but made himself less popular, by giving someone out for the first time). Newport were all out for 90.
It was still early and so the Rioteers went in to bat before tea.
Campbell, clearly with an eye on the weather and the Duckworth-Lewis rate, smote the opening ball of our innings for six, the second one for four, and continued much in this attitude. The run rate was looking good and continued to do so until Campbell fell for a swashbuckling 34. Jim Shea kept Campbell company till the former was out for 11, to be replaced by James Hillier who remained at the crease as others fell quickly until Martin walked out to join his brother.
Tea, provided by the Rioteers, was had at some point during the innings, although it was delayed while someone fetched the milk. If only the match manager had remembered that we’d need some …
In a fitting finale to the last game of the season, the two senior Hillier brothers saw us home. James ended his best ever season with the bat on 11 not out, while our skipper scored a graceful, characteristically confident, almost languid, 23 not out.
As there remained plenty of time in the day and there was a desire all round to squeeze as much cricket as possible out of the end of the season, we played a T10 match with our hosts before shaking off this mortal season.
Cricket is a game of perpetual regret, punctuated very occasionally by brief flickers of elation and/or flashes of hubris. On that note, it’s time to ponder one’s averages …