Today was the big day: the last Saturday of the school year at Weston College, a school well known for its longstanding traditions. The most notable of these traditions was, of course, the cricket tournament on 4th June each year. Now in late July that most English of games was the centre of attention at the school once again.
A very special cricket match was taking place at Lords’ cricket ground: Young Gentlemen of the MCC vs. Weston College Demons.
The MCC side was made up of talented armatures that, by the rules of the contest, were under the age of 21. Finding an eleven had been no problem.
As for the ‘Demons’, their selection process had given their captain an almighty headache.
Swan Gazebo – a week before
“Does anyone have any ideas who else can play next Saturday?” Edward Midford asked the seven pupils that were there with him as he continued rubbing his temples, fresh out of imagination.
“Well lets go over the list of who is in shall we?” said Prince Soma as he picked up the aforementioned list.
“Batting at number three, Lord E.A. Midford, right-handed batsman, fast bowler.”
“Yes. Obviously I’m playing! I’m the bloody captain.” The green house prefect replied.
“Batting at number four, Prince Soma A. Kadar, right-handed batsman, fast bowler…vice-captain.”
Soma grinned at Edward who urged him to get on with the rest of it.
“In at number five, M.S. Cole, right-handed batsman, fast-medium bowler.”
“Here.” Cole waved from the other side of the gazebo. The prefects had allowed him there now, but he still wasn’t permitted inside.
“Next.” Soma continued, “number six, R.V. Cheslock, right-handed batsman, fast bowler.”
“Those MCC batsmen won’t know what hit them when I get the ball in my hands!” Cheslock loudly declared to all and sundry.
“Now…number eight, J.F. Harcourt, right-handed batsman, off-spin bowler.”
“Present.” Joanne waved looking as angelic as ever.
“Our number nine is little L.M. Trancy, left-handed batsman, slow left arm wrist-spin bowler.” Soma strained at the unusual bowling style of the team’s youngest member.
“~Hello~.” Luka sang.
“Number ten, S.O. Clayton, right-handed batsman, medium bowler.” Soma continued.
“If I must play.” Clayton sighed.
“And number eleven, N.B. McMillan, right-handed batsman, medium bowler.”
“Last but by no means least.” McMillan said as Soma returned the paper to the table in the middle of the gazebo.
“So you can see our problem gentlemen.” Edward said as he stood up. “We have no wicketkeeper to bat at, ideally, seven, and we have no opening batsmen.”
“Why don’t you and Kadar open?” Cheslock asked the obvious question.
“Because we’re the two best batsmen in the team, and your best batsmen always bat at three and four. We need two intelligent individuals to take the pace out of the ball and assess how the pitch is playing, then feed that information back to us. We need them to be able to attack and defend against a bunch of undergraduates bowling like lightning. They need to be calm, calculating and fearless.”
The rest of the team all looked at each other, nodded in agreement and spoke in unison.
Edward froze in horror.
“Oh no. Please don’t make me try and get my cousins to play.” He begged, knowing what answer he’d get.
“Captain.” Soma hinted.
Edward gulped. He knew he had no choice.