Underneath the midnight sun...we do the double!
After the heroics of just over two weeks earlier, when an inspired MWcc had dragged an entirely improbable victory over Salix from the flames, few could have dared to believe that nemesis would not likely follow on the return, as we lined up with the auld enemy and our wonderful hosts Guttsta CC to contest the Midnight Cup in idyllic rural Sweden (vast field, cricket pitch, looming forest, swifts darting across the hedgerows and lanes, a fat sun, a fatter moon, warm wooden houses).
Batting first, MWcc's entire top and middle order, without any one big score, chipped in admirably to post a total that, though not commanding, was definitely defendable. But even the most optimistic Jolly Wandering Person (JWP) could scarcely imagine the dream scenario that unfolded as, spearheaded by Jan's fiery spell, Salix's top order was relentlessly taken down.
A defining moment came when the ever dangerous Captain Ben (who had kept brilliantly) took guard at no.5. We knew he could turn things round and a sense that the game was now finely balanced was palpable throughout; a tension that errupted in joy as Jan clean bowled the Salix captain first ball, a moment of magic.
Victory was now a tantalising prospect. But not a foregone conclusion. 197 was no great mountain, and the ever admirable CK1 was still climbing with ominous aggression and stickability. Nerves were fluttering more than slightly as he pressed on defiantly, but the team stuck at the task and chipped away brilliantly around Mt Kulasingham, taking Salix's remaining batsmen down for a handful of runs (note the number of extras in the final score).
It was a wonderful victory. To do the double over Salix in one year was a scarcely dreamed of possibility, and indeed normal service was to be resumed in due course, a fact that merely underlined how fine 2005's 'double' was and remains.
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