The President’s XI Perspective

As the calendar moves into April, scheduling cricket can be a fraught proposition but the 22 Valley of Peace members who arrived to play the annual intra-club Presidents XI vs Captains XI fixture were greeted to a magnificent late summers day, hardly a breath of wind and although the track was a little damp to the eye, it was clear that a magnificent day of cricket lay ahead.  40 overs a side, max of 6 per bowler, batters retire at 40 the agreed terms and conditions.

After an initial visit to peruse the pitch, Tom Music was greeted with the news that he would have the honour and privilege of captaining Scott Cartwright’s President’s XI against the might of Jesse Tritschler’s Captain’s XI.  My losing record clearly not enough of a deterrent.  The teams were named in front of the watering hole and in his first success of the day, Music called correctly and chose to field.
One of the amazing aspects of the day was that of the 22 players named on Thursday to play that 20 were at the ground on Sunday – a pretty good strike rate in these Covid times.  Coincidently, the two players added, Ben Breitmeyer and Ray Steele were the opening bowler and batsman for ball one.  In the third over it would be Breitmeyer who would break the calm silence with the sound of leather hitting stumps with a peach of a delivery.  That success would be followed in the seventh over where Ollie Dugdale would pull in a fantastic diving catch to dismiss the dangerous Tom Byrne, setting the standard for a great fielding day for the Presidents selection.   Tim Fulton survived through the opening spell and was joined by Paul Bateman giving good support, enjoying good battles against Chris House, Nick Johnston and reliving old memories of the 1980s vs Tony Gray.   38 for 2 after 16 overs, match poised.

It would be the change to young Alex Fulton, fresh from his recent Glentunnel outing vs the Deans XI, that would bring immediate success, a nice stumping from Jim Smith to dismiss the positive Bateman for 12.  He had another wicket dismissing Anderson Junior while Wade Millar at the other end grabbed the wicket of George Ritchie who had struck 3 boundaries early.   In amongst all this, a piece of fielding will live long in the memory and perhaps Valley folklore.  Breitmeyer throwing in from the western boundary-breaking the stumps at the bowler’s end –  and by breaking I literally mean breaking – the direct hit leading to two pieces of stump catapulting through the air luckily not impaling Millar and the onrushing (not out) batsman.

The even younger Angus Fulton took over the bowling duties with Michael Kirkland.  Justin Dove and Tim Fulton (still there) mixing watchful defence and good strokeplay, Dove 2 “sixes’ impressive but the bowling of the young left-armer impressed the veteran bowlers in attendance.   At 93 for 5 in the 32nd over, things had progressed steadily but unusually when Music captains, bowling changes brought success with Gray, House, Breitmeyer, Millar and  Alex Fulton all enjoying success in short second spells (including a priceless father /son wicket removing Tim Fulton for a hard-fought 27) the innings would end at 114 all out in the 38th over.   The bowling figures make for excellent reading, Alex’s 4 wickets for 14 off 5 being the highlight, although Tony Gray’s 5 overs 4 maidens 1 for 1 were spectacular until his skipper gave him another over when Captain Jesse dispatched him for a “six” and 7 in total.

A beautiful lunch served up by Messrs Cartwright and David Hearn was appreciated by all and plans were set in place to chase down the total on the tricky but drying wicket, Ollie Dugdale and Nick Johnston were entrusted with the opening spots.  It would be George Ritchie that would impress early with the ball, bowling Dugdale and not conceding a run until his third over.  From there Music enjoyed the show as the powerful Johnston went about hitting six 6’s and four 4’s on his way to retiring on 41 with the score at 53 in the 11th over.  Anderson Junior (6-0-22-1) was bowling with good flight and extracting some turn, a quicker one accounting for Kirkland bringing schoolmate Breitmeyer to the crease.  Eight overs later, he retired on 40  (6 x 6’s, 6 x 4’s), a brutal knock with excellent strokeplay, then the gathered crowd told Music to depart on 27 to allow a re-creation of many a backyard battle with Alex and Angus Fulton facing up to the “googly king” and father Tim to see the lads home from 111 for 2. Tritschler would snare a Fulton wicket but success was reached in the 20th over, the President’s XI doing Scotty proud.

A great day had by all I believe, and as well as the toss and the match, a raffle win rounded off a pretty good trifecta personally.  The camaraderie during the match, with no small measure of banter and some excellent pieces of cricket, was wonderful to be a part of.  We welcomed Eddie Parsons as a Valley debutant, hopefully joining us for many games in the future.   With the Fultons and the slightly older Christ’s College lads that played, the future seemed assured.

From a member’s perspective, this game is a pleasure to play but I will also take this opportunity to offer a vote of thanks to our President and Captain for the work they do.  The behind-the-scenes efforts of Scott and Jesse make our Sundays at the Valley an awesome event.  To them and their committees, helpers, of course, our groundsman Ant and everyone involved, our sincere thanks.

And finally to Scott, happy to give you bragging rights over Jesse for another year!

Winter well everyone.

Tom Music
Valley of Peace Presidents XI Captain for the day

Short Scoreboard

Captains XI  114 all out in 38 overs
T. Fulton 27, Extras 29, Alex Fulton 4 for 14, B. Breitmeyer 2 for 7, W. Millar 2 for 10

Presidents XI 115 for 3 off 19.3 overs
N. Johnston 41 (ret), B Breitmeyer 40 (ret), T Music 27 (ret)

Presidents XI won by 7 wickets