A modest Heartaches season came to a gentle end in the autumnal surroundings of the Penn Street HQ of Hit Or Miss, a side that first locked horns with the Hearts 30 years before, the initial clash resulting in the first tied game in Clava Rectan history (there has only been one further tie since). The 2006 meeting was the 25th between the sides, and Heartaches somehow held onto their overall 12-6 lead, but only just, with two veterans at the crease defying bowlers and the ravages of time in the dying moments of the summer.
A damp, and sometimes actually rainy, atmosphere caused a delayed start, and then a restriction to 30 overs maximum per side. Winning the toss was thus the best thing the leader did all day, bearing in mind a draw was allowed, even shading his wicket and confident strokeplay from the number 11 slot. Dopers, unassailable for Bowler of the Year honours, and Huge, a hot favourite for the Batting prize, made an interesting slow opening attack.
Critics of the leader’s leadership were soon maintaining that Wilson was at the wrong end after his first over went for 13. However his next five (maximum six per bowler) gave away a mere six runs more and he took a wicket to boot. Rossmore was rested after three overs which had only conceded four runs and Kim hauled in from the deep to have a sling. The Spaceman’s three overs were wild and woolly in places but he did make the first breakthrough, aided by a smart catch by the Ferrret on the boundary, for which the distinguished country gentleman did not have to move an inch. In stark contrast, when Dave hung onto another one in the very next over, giving Wilson his wicket, he had to cover at least ten yards, capped with a rodential dive that staked a claim for catch of the season. At this stage Almanack nerds began thumbing through the stats to see if any fielder had ever held all ten catches in an innings.
The leader now joined the attack, having been urged to do so by several of his colleagues, whom he felt he could not disappoint. He then disappointed them by being hit for 14 in his first over, but his astute captaincy had ensured Ian Edward was keeping it very quiet at the other end, at least after his first ball which Winfield arrogantly carted for six. IE’s second ball did for Winfield who fatally tried the same shot again, only to put an alert Sully at extra into the catchers’ column. Ian and his role model then bowled tidily for another five each, during which the ball was often lofted but only once came down near a fielder, which luckily for T.Rice was T.Graveney, stirred into action by the remote possibility that some less worthy catcher would make a last minute break for the Fielding award.
Hit or Miss, building around a solid if unspectacular knock from Sillars, lurched past 100 with seven overs to go but their intended assault in the final overs never quite materialised. Iz bamboozled Maughan with her second ball which earned her a kiss from the Hearts stumper, a trend other Heartaches bowlers are hoping will not spread, attractive though Sir Christopher is, especially at twilight time. At tea the Hit had staggered to 133 and every bowler had taken a wicket. Rossdale, inevitably, took two, which sealed yet another Bowler of the Year pot for his sideboard (his 16th, and seventh on the trot).
The Heartaches innings was, as quite a few have been in 2006, an understated affair. The key factor was the battle for Batsman of the Year honours, which surely would have been done and dusted for Gladys had he been on the tour. Instead, Hugh’s magnificent Cornish spree had put him into pole position with 231 against TMBW’s 203. Whittome had the opportunity to close the gap when sent in first with Ferret, but a slow pitch and nagging accuracy prevented any sort of runfest throughout Heartaches’ 30 overs. Dave carved a pair of bold fours but the opening stand of 29 took up nearly a third of the innings.
Them what followed were no quicker, try as they did. PJ continued a grim trot and this stylish batsman was probably glad to see the back of 2006. Gladys played on, Kim was (understandably) wildly ambitious and Hugh’s one six flattered to deceive. Clive Fanshaw settled in for a determined knock, but even he was unable to go up a gear or three when required while lesser mortals perished around him. Graveney's 2006 thoughts run on Johnsonian lines. Ian managed the final six of the season but little else and Isabelle fell not playing her natural game (discipline and strokeplay). It was left to two knights to hang in until nightfall and this they did with aplomb.
Summer’s lease thus closed quietly with a mere 2 wins to set against 5 draws and 5 defeats. The Heartaches entourage repaired to the pub and thence the winter; the engravers checked the spelling of Wilson, Rossdale and Graveney.