The rosy fingered dawn greeted the hallowed turf of Verulamium park on Sunday 8 May, ready for Ivanhoe’s first home game of the season. A flat pitch situated in the rolling, verdant fields of the tree lined and picturesque countryside, overlooked by the cathedral proved an idyllic setting to test our mettle.
Captain Richard won the toss and elected to have first use of the conditions and exploit anything the pitch had to offer. Tristan Parnell took a wicket in his first over, dismissing Octopus’ best batsman, setting the tone for a tough day for them. Tight bowling all round as well as some demons in the pitch, mayhap remnants of the Icini’s rampage through the area, were exploited to the fullest. Hansi Baumann added a few grey hairs to the batsmen with some slamming lift and movement, finishing with 3 wickets (earned through good bowling albeit the latter two taken with some questionable balls). Some late order hitting coupled with some awful catching (at least four drops throughout the innings) yielded a competitive total of 166 for 7 after 35 overs.
The gentle slope of the outfield gave cause to the fielders and value for shots down the hill, and added a gleam to any batter’s eye…Sadly the brave Ive’s openers were overcome by the glare caused by easy runs and within moments were 3-9 before Rich entered the fray. Batting with consummate ease, occasionally showing the utmost disdain for the bowling and not a care in the world accumulated, bludgeoned and powered the game’s balance towards Ivanhoe. Ciaran, Phillip Parnell and Hansi contributed small partnerships with Rich who bestrode the innings like a colossus to remain unbowed, unbeaten and undefeated on 85.An innings of style, substance and sophistication – if only Octopus had scored a few more then he would have been raising his bat with a century. In the end, the winning runs were smote by Tristan who finished the game off in style.
Huzzah and three cheers for all, a game played in excellent spirit overlooked by the historic cathedral, verdant grasslands and toasted at the local pub.
Author: Hansi B