Douai Crest

Cricket Week-1968 - Extract from The Douai Magazine - Page 121

Cricket Week, 1968 was, in fact, a week-or rather Sunday to Friday, which is more of a Week than memory recalls. .

Father Romuald's splendid Wine List for the new Saturday Dinner provided pale Falmouth faces at midday-the more so when bleary gaze came to rest on the assembling giants from the mass media that Frank Keating had collected for the new Sunday fixture. But by tea-time the giants were feeling pretty small-only the director of the "The Newcomers" and Thames' Editor of Outside Broadcasts had (barely) managed double figures against Griffith and Peter Jeffery who took 6 for 24 in 14 overs. Jeffery and Matt McCabe then knocked off the 60 odd with ease. The visitors promise a stronger side next year; and, contrary to rumour, it will still include the Daily Mail's feature writer, Pearson Phillips, who remained perfectly in control after even dear William Bell's introductory greeting, "Ah, the Daily Mail? I think my landlady takes that!"

Monday was dull and cold, So was the cricket. The Berkshire Gents pottered about meanly from 11.45 to 4.15 when they declared for a measly 147 (Peter Jeffery 6 for 63). We scored less -77-but more quickly. A bad start.

Against the old faces but new title of the Newbury Police Division, young Bruce Lowe hit a fine and invaluable 61; he even outscored a Peter Griffith in full delightful flight, as the two of them put on 82 in under an hour. Set to get 172 the Police never quite looked like getting them. James Miller bowled beautifully, wrapping up their innings at 147.

The week thus far had been cold and full of rain. But at lunchtime on Wednesday it changed; the next three days were sparkling. But our old SOA friend, Peter Frankenburg, didn't quite catch the new mood. He batted from noon to three for 28- a single every five minutes! We went confidently for the 162 needed but stalled at the vital time instead of flipping into confident overdrive, and only a correct and sensible 32 not out by Richard Olivier gave us the narrow draw.

John Shaw, the School's new coach and groundsman, had done us proud all week. Despite the terrible summer the wickets looked to be tended with more love than in recent years; and, if Lowe and Olivier were anything to go by, there seemed a new urgency and fibre about the School's cricket. (How the world's best game has been so dully dismissed by the world's best school, I will never know!). John played for us in the week-scoring a splendid 72 against the Ruffians on Thursday. And Jerry Coombes, home from Africa, showed touches of his old power and elegance which did we nostalgists good. Set to get 171, the amiable Ruffians had a typical go. They needed six off the last over with two rabbits to hat. Then came, for your correspondent and (to judge by even the next day guffaws) the whole Society, the highspot of The Week. Fearing any infamous reputation for last-minute dramas, Skipper Peter Jeffery had "hidden" me, for the last over, to a rather deep gully; no problem, nothing will drop to him there. But oh no! A scything swipe! Off the edge! Up it went, its gentle parabola homing straight for my sweating palms. An absolute sitter. A real dolly. Eye on the ball now. Concentrate. Oh no! It's covered with butter! 'Where is it? On the ground. They ran a laughing one, and hit a four next ball. We'd lost, and I couldn't even say "sorry".

But Friday made up for it! The Berkshire Gents came back with a will to atone for Monday's dullness. Forty they hit in the first four overs, then John Shaw erased their grins with an exciting hat-trick. All out for 156, Frank Aung, helped by the Jeffery brothers and John Shaw, hit a very fine 82 not out to give us a victory by seven wickets. Frank can't ever have batted so well. It climaxed a great Week for him in terms of "organization" and it was pleasant to see that he had come for some cricket after all (further innuendo details may appear in the List of Engagements!).

What more to say? Cricket Week was just Cricket Week - and one can't say much better than that. There was an encouraging turnout of players - on the Wednesday for instance there were five players, including Pat Jeffery, Peter Griffith and Aubrey Balhetchet, on the substitutes bench! The girls led by Kathleen served and catered as onlv Crook trained ladies could do. Polly Polimeni did us proud as usual on the scoreboard, verbally aided of course by Horatio!

So it was a perfect Week - except for that long moment when (with apologies to someone):-

The sun in the heavens was shining;
The breeze bore an odour of hav,
My flannels were spotless and gleaming,
My heart was unclouded and gay;
The monks, all blackly apparelled,
Sat round looking on at the match,
In the tree tops the dicky birds carolled,
All was peace-till I bungled that catch.
Frank Keating