Tales from the Boundary
T E B
Colchester & East Essex CC hold (at least, held) a Cricket Week, with matches every day of the week against various sides. Imagine my delight to be picked (I wouldn't say selected or chosen) to play against T E Bailey's XI, probably back in 1972, I think.
A E W "Pokey" Dye, 65 years old but still capable of bowling 20 overs of accurate seam and swing at medium pace, remembered Trevor as a schoolboy from before the war. "He was obnoxious then" said Pokey. I never did find out what the A E W stood for, or where the "Pokey" came from. Thinking about it, Pokey was a Bailey clone but not as quick.
Very occasionally 80-odd year old Martin Crannis turned out too, bouncing about like Mick Jagger on speed, bowling well flighted, if not well directed, leg spin. Martin, that is, not Mick, though the latter is a cricket nut.
It was an eleven o'clock start, on a slightly damp day. I came on first or second change and found myself bowling to the then Essex 2nd XI captain, Kenny Wallace. Kenny was on the short side and had a crouched stance. I knew from seeing him before that the cut and pull were his forte. What did I do? Third ball was short and cracked to the square leg boundary. My few overs were not expensive but I could have bowled better.
At lunch I served T E B with a steak and kidney pie, mashed potato, peas and onion gravy, which was greeted with delight and eaten with alacrity (I think, though I did not watch). I can't remember what we had for dessert but apple pie and custard would seem appropriate.
After lunch there was a little cameo of 16 or so runs by Trevor before the declaration.
Colchester did not play badly but, approaching seven o'clock with a seven thirty finish, the eighth wicket fell, with twenty-odd runs needed. Stuart Pritchard went out and got out first ball, bowled by Kenny Wallace, bowling brisk medium from a bustling run up.
Now, I held a slight advantage here, batting eleven, as, unlike our encounter of the morning, Kenny had not seen me bat before (I write tongue in cheek here!). I did pride myself on my forward defence, modelled through hours watching Geoff Boycott, practised in front of a wardrobe mirror. It looked good, no matter where the ball went. I employed it to the first ball, which rattled between bat and pad. Next ball a dab through second slip got me up the other end to face Trevor.
My partner, Roger Bayes (the Colchester Royal Grammar School teacher who 'discovered' Mike McEvoy) and I held a mid-over conference. After a thorough analysis of the situation we decided to "see what happens".
With Trevor at one end and Kenny at the other runs proved non-existent but WE SURVIVED. Trevor's last three balls were leg spinners as he completed 13-7-11-2. As I squashed the last ball of the match into the pitch, Kenny (at short leg) said "Well played". I must admit I was quite pleased to out-Bailey T E B.