Castle Rising's cross-batting tactics win the day in Norfolk Cricket League
Thirty years ago, batting for West Acre, Stephen King used to conclude every innings with an opinion: “Should have gone in higher up.”
Thirty years later in the Norfolk Cricket League he has proved his point.
Opening the batting for Bircham 2nds, he was on the field throughout the match, run out off the last ball of the innings, having amassed 50 in 45 overs.
King has an unusual technique. Employing no backlift and no follow through, his bat travels the same very short distance whether the ball stops dead in a defensive bog or flies to the long off boundary.
How he does this is a mystery.
He may have solved the eighteenth law of thermodynamics and the quandary of perpetual motion as well as scoring 50. They should seal him and bottle him up.
His elegant batting partner, Ricky Wells, had flicked and driven his way to 60 in their century partnership. Two lefties posed problems for the bowlers.
Mahesh Sannakki bowled seven tight overs for 28 but said he could not get the ball to move away. On both sides progress was slow.
Hugh Raynor would like it to be known that he equalled his highest score of the season. Furthermore, this time he was not out.
He appeared to have missed the greater significance of this, however.
Raynor also doubled his season’s average.
If he continued to double his average every week, by the end of the season it would have improved from 1.00 to 2048.
Raynor later took the hand grenade approach to a slip catch. To his credit, he hung on without leaping into a cold pond.
Bircham’s total of 154 did not look enough if someone could play a cross bat.
In difficult conditions the straight drive would not be enough.
Indeed Matt Footman who scored 33 and played excellently was beautifully caught by Wells on the boundary.
Andy Chinniah used his 30 years experience in these leagues and unfurled the shot of the day, a seemingly impossible front foot late cut.
But they needed to win dirty. The ball needed to go to square leg.
Castle Rising had not one but two cross batters.
Mahesh Sannakki and Martin McNeil were made for this game.
How McNeil hits the ball straight with a cross bat is known only to him but it is mightily effective.
Sannakki somehow survived a grilling, roasting, boiling and general bamboozlement by Ebony Palmer.
The target came inexorably down and Castle Rising 2nds comfortably triumphed by seven wickets.
There are no prizes for guessing which player was wearing long Johns and four sweaters.