Saints v Sinners Cricket Match

Glorious Saints

A report on the Saints v Sinners cricket match on July 4th.

Have you all dried out yet?

The day started to the sound of drumming rain and the forecast was for more. But hardcore sports folks don’t let a little drizzle spoil their chance of glory. Rain gods the world over were disappointed. They could not ruin the fun for the crowd. That was our job. The pitch was inspected, and it was agreed that it would take a medium wellington boot. The game was on. The Saints won the toss and put the Sinners into bat. The bowler looked at the mud and saw that it was good. The Church or Bell end was particularly damp. Almost dripping. The Sinners opening pair was soon broken by a Charlie Bonney with a caught and bowled to dismiss Mo Gilles-Coates for two, but his partner Josh, was scoring quickly, despite his box being shattered by a ferocious delivery he played some actual cricket shots including consecutive sixes during his 36 not out retired. Keith Rookledge was in and out quickly, but still managed a run. Goose was next in and out, cleaned bowled by Russell’s first ball for 2. M. Elliot was joined by Doogie and the runs continued, but more slowly. With the score growing Russell was brought in at the Bell end and Ollie Payne-Cook took over from the Orchard end. Scoring 27, Elliot eventually fell to Chris Bonney who had taken a firm grasp of the Bell end. Elliot was joined James Humphrey who set about the bowling with gusto as the dampness returned. David Mitchell replaced Ollie from the Orchard end and John Hutchins took the Bell end gingerly as it had become increasingly moist in the excitement. Dougie was bowled by David Mitchell and George Blackmore joined James. George Blackmore was brilliantly caught was by a diving Andy Puncher. Sam Helesfay was next up uncharacteristically scoring runs. James retired unbeaten and it was left to Sam Helesfay and Sam Tomkinson to make a respectable 179 from the 30 overs.

Wet shirts clinging to beer guts, with muddy knees and smelling like wet dogs the Saints prepared for the run chase. The Saints opening pair of Alan Ennis and David Mitchell steamed gently in a burst of sunshine but didn’t score a single run. Instead, they scored 3 fours between them, before falling to bowlers Smitherman and Blackmore. Long Jim Piper hopped out to bat with Chris Bonney and the runs began to flow. By the 10th over the Saints were 14 ahead of the Sinners score at the same period. Both batted magnificently, with Jim retiring on 37 and Chris on 38. Ollie Payne-Cooke was joined briefly by John Hutchins who didn’t get a duck. Russell Wheldon replaced John and the runs rate leaped upwards. Just before he was to be called in for showing off Ollie fell into a trap set by bowler Sam Tomkinson who had been loving the Bell end. Ollie hoisted a catch to Helesfay for a cameo 32 from 15 balls. Andy Puncher tried to keep the run rate high but was stumped after rushing towards the Bell end. With 10 overs left the Saints were 25 ahead of the Sinners. Jay McGoon was now at the crease but was being pinned back by some excellent bowling from Tomkinson and Helesfay. The Sinners bowling attached took became more uncertain with Rookledge joining their attack. This enabled the Saints to pick up the scoring momentum that had begun to slow. Wheldon fell to Tomkinson and with one over to go Charlie Bonney and Jay had to get just 3 runs to win an epic waterlogged battle. Bonney scored the winning run and victory was secured for the Saints.

So final score Sinners 179 for 6, Saints 180 for 6 with 3 balls to spare.

The traditional presentations were made, with Sinner James Humphrey now proudly displaying the broken bat for being the most destructive batsman and Saint Jim Piper holds the Mantle Piece beer jug that traditionally has to be drunk from every day until the next match. The Mantle Piece is awarded to the player who has given the most for the game. Jim gave his one good leg. Despite the dampness the lazer display score board shone through. The flapjack was almost as good as the cake, and the cake was almost as good as the game. This fixture is now in its 18th year and the Sinners and Saints have won 9 games each. The tradition of games like this, played in the spirit of fun, friendship and good humour are the backbone of a community like Marden. They are what makes Marden stand out from other villages who look on with envy. When people say ‘cricket was the winner’ it is normally because they have lost and are trying to make up for it. Well cricket was one of the winners, but the Saints were the real winners on the day. Roll on 2022 and hopefully a sunny matchday.

Mike Cox