This year's St Annes fixture was as late in the year as we've yet played. Those Wanderers mercenaries who took The Admiral's XI's shilling some years back at a similar date will recall the experience of batting squinting into the sun as akin to that of Captain Scott scanning the polar horizon. Thankfully the pitch was aligned much more kindly on a beautifully sunny day at Wimbledon's Dundonald Recreation Ground, by far the most pleasant London park venue encountered to date.
Batting first - with a decent start made by openers Bob and Kells - our total of 166 (of which E. Xtras played no small part) could've been a lot higher had the strong middle order of Lars and Andy not unfortunately demised for 6 and 12 respectively. Your correspondent, not in the best of shape after a bout of flu, proceeded to play a horrid innings of swishing and missing and generally being unable to make bat meet ball, which equally failed to move things forward. But in the middle of all this rust and splutter, one man with the great golden locks of an Aslan, of a Robert Plant in his pomp, went about his business with quiet determination. Was it the pride of playing before a home crowd - or just the relief of being south of the river for once - that spurred Jonny M. on? All we know is that his 43 not out was the backbone that held our innings together.
Unfortunately, Tris was firmly in unstoppable mode once again and huff and puff as we might, nothing but nothing was going to blow his house down, as he charged on in a chanceless 93 not out that saw St Annes home with frightening ease for the loss of but one wicket.
Like Ali and Foreman, St Annes and MWcc continue to slugg it out. When history is written, who will have emerged as kings of this particular jungle? It's not over yet.
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