Lynxes v.The SchoolSchool: 235 for 7Lynxes: 131 all outSchool won the Whybourn Trophy____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________Lynxes v. SissinghurstLynxes: 222 for 7 (Furminger 40, Kain 44)Sissinghurst: 93 all out ( Allen 3-22)____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________Lynxes v. Bully BoysBully Boys: 162 for 9 (Tragett 3-27, Dabin 3-24)Lynxes: 163 for 6 (Richards 33, Allen 33)____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________Lynxes v. Fleet Street ExilesLynxes 150 all out (Lawson 50) FSE 145 all out (Tom Cullen 5-?)"Sometimes the only things that separate a loss from a win are spirit, desire and clumsy opposition." Sylvester Stallone, Rocky III. And so it was between the Lynxes and the Fleet Street Exiles in 2004. The Lynxes sealed an improbable victory by five runs in a game that see-sawed between hope and despair, joy and despondency, triumph and catastrophe.The day was already looking extraordinary when 12 men turned up for the home side. Putting his unquenchable desire for sporting glory on the line for his team, John Marshall gallantly stepped down, being careful not to spill his lager. The weather was set fair: the dog on the flag was fluttering in a fresh breeze and light clouds scudded across the sky. The pitch was damp and tipped to dry out, so it was an important toss for skipper Blaydon to lose. Lynxes were put into bat.Gary Marshall and Jez Lawson opened the innings, their sub-six foot frames belying their status as cricketing giants. But any hopes of a flying start were snuffed out by the consistently excellent line and length of the Exiles' opening bowlers. Gary and Jez were forced to scratch around uncharacteristically, and in fact this was the story of the entire Lynxes' innings. The pressure eventually began to tell, and Gary fell to a ball that clipped the top of his back pad and hit off stump. Even the battle-hardened expertise of Tom Allen and Colin Barrett, alongside classy debutants Chris Hoggard and Tom Cullen, struggled to keep the indomitable Lawson company. Soon the pavilion was full of dark mutterings. "It's the pitch", "160 is par here", "I suppose it might rain", "Wish I'd worn my contacts". Eddie Stearns looked impressive in scoring a high quality six runs, which he later claimed had won the match for us. Sadly, even his stylish brand of strokeplay could not regain us the initiative, and it was plain that we were in deadly trouble when they brought their 11-year-old on to bowl. "You just can't win in this situation", said Colin wryly, as he fought his natural inclination to nurture and give advice to the boy about how he should have been bowling off the other foot.The score progressed achingly slowly, with Lawson playing the anchor role admirably, but rapidly running out of partners. Great things were expected of Dave Corfield but he, too, succumbed to the Exiles' tidy bowling, as, finally, did Jez, for a vital 50 that was the core of our innings. At around 110-8 off 40 overs, Lynxes were going under meekly and very slowly. So it was left to Will Chuter and Matt Young (batting anxiously without a helmet) at 9 and 10 to pick up some quick runs. As both batsmen played and missed and edged and had appeals turned down, they ran as if their lives depended on it. Running is second nature to Young, but probably only fifth or sixth nature to Chuter, who eventually paid for this by being run out. They added a crucial 34, and Blaydon contributed a few more, in one of his special cameo innings that make the fielders giggle, and Lynxes ended up on 150. Not much of a total, but perhaps defendable on "that wicket", we thought.Within three overs, Lynxes had both of the Exiles' openers back in the pavilion, thanks to outstanding catches by Corfield and Hoggard. Things were looking up. However, Blaydon and Chuter never managed to replicate the tidy spells of the opposition opening bowlers, and the visitors were suddenly scoring at five an over, compared to our two. Blaydon wisely took himself and Chuter off for a good talking to, and Allen steadied the innings with some crafty line and length. Cullen came on from the other end, found a rhythm, and started to tie the visitors down with some accomplished off-spin. Local ringer Franie Briley was batting dangerously well, hitting cleanly and making a nonsense of our claims that the pitch was dodgy. At least he was until Cullen's quicker ball clean bowled him and opened the innings up for the Lynxes. With belief in ourselves high, despite a scoreline of 100-3, Lynxes kept the Exiles on their toes, and victory for either side was never a certainty. Cullen continued to bowl brilliantly, picking up more wickets as he went, as did Allen. Eddie Stearns valiantly watched the ball fizz past him a number of times, and Marshall came on for Allen.Still only 5.30pm, and the match was poised on a knife edge at 140-7. Eleven more runs would win it for them; three more wickets would win it for us. All the odds seemed stacked in the Exiles' favour, especially since they had most of their senior players lower down the order, and there was no limit on how long it could take them. In between careering around the field, positioning himself where he most needed men, Blaydon made the decision to bring Chuter back on, despite his earlier profligacy. The skipper's faith was repaid in his pal when Chuter struck in his second over, taking a return catch to send their no.6 packing. This brought our nemesis, the 11-year-old, to the wicket, at 142-8. They ran a single and, thankfully, Cullen bowled him at the end of his over, bagging the five-for that he so deserved. 143-9, and two senior players were at the wicket. The first ball of Chuter's next over went for 2 leg-bys and a violent expletive. Blaydon moved himself to an odd position at deep mid-off, bemusing the rest of the team, but keeping himself happy, which was the important thing.The opposition captain tried to heave the next ball over the top in a fit of impatience, but missed. He did the same with the next ball, connecting this time, but only succeeding in sending it straight up and into Blaydon's eager hands at his odd, but brilliantly prescient, fielding spot. None of us could quite fathom how we had managed to win the unwinnable, but I would like to put it down to the unbeatable camaraderie of Lynxes week and indeed of all OCs the world over. Or am I just getting misty now?Will Chuter___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________Lynxes v. BluemantlesLynxes: 219 for 6 (Barrett 80, Allen 56)Bluemantles: 164 for 8 (Allen 3-14)Buoyed by three victories already in the week, this Lynxes side took to the field with confidence. The Chuter/Blaydon bowling partnership had been broken for the first time in six years (work commitments occupying the former), and Lynxes were to rue this lack of cutting edge later in the day.Allen chose to bat on a drying wicket, and it was no surprise that the Lynxes top order struggled against an accurate, albeit largely unmenacing attack. A spate of wickets left the hosts reeling at 46-5 at lunch, with luminaries such as G. Marshall and Hoggard already accounted for. The lunchtime barbecue brought a welcome respite from the carnage, and must have slowed down the visitors, for the game turned full circle after the interval. With Allen offering steady support, Barrett became increasingly expansive, working the Bluemantles spinners through the leg side, and employing the lofted drive to devastating effect. By the time of his departure (for 80) the pair had added 130 at a run a ball. Lawson added further impetus with a rapid unbeaten 26 to allow the Lynxes to declare at 218-6 after 51 overs.The target seemed fair, with an estimated 49 overs remaining, a sub-par Lynxes attack and some estimable Bluemantles batsmen. Wickets, however, soon started to fall (with all bowlers chipping in) and with twenty overs remaining and four wickets in hand the visitors required 110 to win. Despite an attacking field and the tempting carrot of G. Marshall's lobbed off spin, the gauntlet was never taken up. Allen (3-14) and J. Marshall (2-15) bowled accurately but without the requisite menace to knock over the Bluemantles tail and the game fizzled out into a draw. The lack of enterprise shown by the visitors can reasonably be described as a disappointing response in what was set up to be a decent game of cricket.Tom Allen___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________Lynxes v. Old GeorgiansOld Georgians: 243 for 8 (Marshall J 4-84)Lynxes: 216 for 8 (Trail 77, Marshall G 40)___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________Lynxes v. Scorpiansmatch cancelled.