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  • Darrell Butler

Match Report: Graces vs Unicorns, 15th May 2022 - Abandoned

Updated: Jun 23, 2022

It's bloody rain again!

Last year, the first ever all LGBTQ+ cricket match was washed out totally before the rearranged fixture was enjoyed in the blazing Birmingham sun.

Unicorns travelled to Grace’s this time and it was the North London weather to blame. After teasing the guests with glorious sunshine across the West Midlands on Sunday morning, the skies got darker and darker as the visiting side descended on Broxbourne Sports Club. It really is grim down south.

Verow and Jackson, Unicorns’ punctual vice captains, discussed pre match tossing duties as Buckle was yet again late. Developers at Apple are said to be looking into an i-phone app which tells the time.

Just half an hour before the fixture, magnanimous hosts, Graces, kindly allowed the visiting side the pleasure of removing the covers and then replacing them again ten minutes later as a short shower gave everyone a scare that the fixture might well be washed out again.

As it happened, the rain abated and the match started only a few minutes late, fueling hope that we would get a full eighty overs. Buckle had finally arrived, won the toss and elected to bowl.

No cameras or interviews this year meant that filmstar Manish Modi had the opportunity to join Matt Earl, last season's centurion, at the wicket with the latter facing paceman Tom Verow. Fellow deputy, Glen Jackson did a sterling job behind the stumps as the Unicorns quickie, fired up, and took aim at the openers. Just 3 extras came off the first over and the first runs off the bat came courtesy of Matt Earl who square cut Lachlan to Steve Hallam, patrolling the boundary, with the fourth ball of the second over. Earl, hogging the strike as much as his opening partner hogs the limelight, had faced all 19 deliveries of the first three overs (including a Verow no-ball) and was 14* thanks to back to back boundaries off the Unicorns vice captain by the time Manish Modi had opened his account in the fourth. Modi found the rope in the sixth as he dismissively sent a Smith full toss to the leg side boundary but the Unicorns chief roared back in the 8th. At 39/0, Graces had made an ominous start but Smith castled opener Earl with an outswinger which swung back in or was it an inswinger moving away? If the bowler doesn’t know, the batter isn’t going to! Smith’s wicket maiden gave Unicorns just the boost they needed.

It was mixed fortunes for the Unicorns/Lapworth spin twinks, sorry twins, of Long and Buckle who began bowing in tandem from the eleventh. Long’s first over was a successful one, he tempted Manish into lobbing one to fine leg where Steve Gillies put down his new anger management book, a present from the ever generous Glen Jackson, to complete the dismissal. Mahender, meanwhile, began to take aim, starting with Buckle’s first over which was dispatched for nine runs. Sam Long became Sam Short for an over and the skipper delivered his new Buckle special which bounced more times than a Russian cheque as the next two overs leaked 32 runs. Mahender continued to find runs at a rate of knots but Mendis, struggling to keep up, eventually edged behind to Jackson who clung on for dear life to check the Graces progress at 103/3. The dangerous Mahender reached 50 off 31 balls in the next over with yet another boundary and took aim at the last ball of the 17th which he tried to dispatch into the New River at Long off.

Catch it was the shout! A glance upwards saw that the player underneath it was the unflappable Dan Lewis, high and swirling, and in conditions as slippery as a Sun journalist, Lewis clung on in the now persistent rain to enhance his reputation as the sides best fielder. The reaction of the fielding side said it all, Mahender was gone one ball after reaching his half-ton. It should have been a crucial wicket. Alas, at drinks, the heavens opened and the players were consigned to the marquee.

Eventually, with the rain persisting, the match was called off a little after 4pm. (Scorecard vs Graces) We ate Pizza, drank and laughed with our Graces friends. Teams like ours are so important and we thank footballer Jake Daniels for his bravery this week too. Visibility saves people, it makes lives better and we will never stop being proud to do that.

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