Pythons Play Cricket Too – Thank You Druids!

Druids v. Harrogate Pythons – 15th May at Goldsborough.

An excellent day of catching up with old colleagues around the wicket at Goldsborough Cricket Club’s ground on Sunday as Pythons proved that they could play cricket too (allegedly!).

The following Pythons faithful dusted off long redundant cricket rackets and off-whites to take up the challenge from the legendary Druids Cricket Club:

Gus Dunlop, Stephen Smith, Peter Jesper, Gareth (Zippy) Drane, Will Butler. Sandy Dunlop,

Neil Summersall (Speedy), Neil Douglas, Boothy Booth, Dan Scott, Justin Ross

Words by Mark Moorby and Stephen Ward (Slobby) of the victorious Druids.

A changeable day at Goldsborough saw the Druids welcome the Harrogate Pythons for a 30-over festival of thrilling Cricket. Winning the toss, the Pythons felt they should take advantage of a slightly moist wicket to put the Druids in to bat – a decision much welcomed by the Druids. With both teams fielding mainly current and former rugby players, the ‘burst of speed’, Duckham-esque sidestep and crunching tackle were not (generally) required for most of the match.

Jag Gyawali and debutant Duncan Patrick opened for the Druids, with Patrick unlucky to fall to a fine catch (bowler Sandy Dunlop) for just 7 runs. However, Jag went on to make a cultured 52 before falling to another quality catch (bowler Will Butler).In at three, Charlie Paines made a quick 9 before a specialist ‘grass-cutter’ from Pete Jesper saw the bails tumble. Given a chance to improve on very poor form, MacDonald strode to the wicket at number four – and grabbed his chance to make an impressive 55, utilising a wide variety of stokes (not all orthodox) before retiring – ‘tired out’.

Vice-Captain Davison, looking to capitalise on recent good form, fell to another low ball (bowler S. Smith), out for just 4.Middle order specialist Rory ffoulkes arrived at six in the line-up – whereabout he tore into an increasingly tired bowling attack, retiring on 50 runs after a relatively brief stay at the crease. Burroughs then appeared at seven, but only troubled the scorer for 6 runs before being claimed as a 2nd wicket for the impressive Jesper. This left Winwood (surviving a relatively simple caught & bowled chance to Booth) and Moorby to see out the remaining few overs, amassing 16 not-out and 10 not-out respectively, as the innings came to an end on an impressive 251 for 5 off the allotted 30 overs (N.B. Contrary to an earlier statement, Gus Dunlop did demonstrate several fine side steps, as he skilfully avoided several catches in the field. In total contrast to ‘Speedy’ Summersall, who never shied away from a catch and plied his trade around the boundary like a young gazelle!).

Tea: This was extremely large and very tasty, with specialist cakes kindly supplied by Jane Keogh, Lynda Corner plus savoury treats from Suzie Ward and several players. Thanks to you all. However, with several beers also consumed – two rather flat-footed teams took to the field for the 2nd innings.

The opening attack of Macdonald and Paines saw accurate bowling rewarded quickly, with MacDonald claiming Douglas for just 4 (caught Moorby) and Paines taking the capable Drane (caught Jag) dismissed for just a single. In at thee, Scott took a liking to the bowlers, who now in their 3rd overs, were tiring fast. He was initially assisted by Gus Dunlop, in at four, but, caught out by a deceptively straight one, Dunlop fell cheaply to Macdonald for just 2 runs.

Entering the fray at five, Jesper helped build a fine partnership with Scott, only for Scott (24) to fall victim to the wily Moorby, who struck in his first over. Moorby, who had come on to replace MacDonald, struck again in his third over, bowling the unfortunate Summersall (2) to one that deceived him in the flight. Butler then joined Jesper, but after a few lusty blows to the boundary in Burroughs 4th and final over, found himself the victim of an excellent reflex catch at mid-off by Jag, who appeared to be everywhere on the field. Shortly afterwards Jesper was forced to retire hurt on an impressive 27 – when he succumbed to a hitherto unknown injury – for which no on field treatment would suffice, save perhaps, a drop of purely medicinal alcohol!

Booth and Smith were then tasked with improving on the Pythons’ total, Booth hitting a quickfire 19, and surviving a dropped catch from the normally reliable ffoulkes, before becoming Moorby’s 3rd victim of the day, clean bowled. Moorby’s 4th and final victim was the luckless Sandy Dunlop, bowled for 0, which just left Jag to wrap up the victory with a fine caught & bowled, taking the wicket of Smith for 6 runs (his 3rd catch of the day). Ross survived 1 not-out at the non-striker’s end. All in all, a very enjoyable day was had by both teams – who agreed to repeat it in future seasons on a home & away basis.

Long may such good-spirited matches continue and congratulations to all involved. S.Ward Skipper

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