Cricket with Marcillac and Kiwi Pinot Noir

So, today was another day of cricket. I’m well aware that I’ve spent a fair bit of time this summer playing and watching cricket. Too much? It’s a close call. But I enjoy it.

Today’s game was in Suffolk, at Woolpit Cricket Club. It was the second instalment of the memorial game in honour of Slim Williamson, who played for both Woolpit and the Wine Trade, and who died two years ago on the cricket field in the middle of a game.

We bowled first, and I got a wicket in my first over (the second) with a brilliant catch behind on the leg side by Simon Goatlee. At the other end, Earls Colne ringer Joe (who match captain Nick Oakley had recruited) bowled a solid opening spell without a lot of luck. We kept things pretty tight and took a few early wickets, before a rearguard action by Woolpit against some over-generous Wine Trade spin helped them build a total.

Some 40 overs into the innings I was given a second spell, and took a couple of wickets in my first over. One was from a rank long-hop loosener, which resulted in a fine catch on the boundary by Slim’s son Will. They declared at 220-7 from 50-odd overs, leaving us about 45 overs to make a response, which was quite generous. My figures were 9-0-32-3 – it would have been much more satisfying if I hadn’t been hit for a straight six in my penultimate over.

Lunch was taken and we did a bit of wine, as we tend to in these fixtures. Two stood out for me. One was the Domaine du Cros Marcillac, and the other was the only bottle in the UK of Grove Mill’s new reserve Pinot Noir.

Grove Mill Single Vineyard Seventeen Valley Grand Reserve Pinot Noir 2009 Marlborough
Lovely ripe, concentrated black cherry and plum fruit with some spice. Lovely texture and richness with nice tannins. Dense, quite full and expressive: a brilliant example of Marlborough Pinot. 92/100

Domaine du Cros Marcillac Lo Sang del Pais 2009
I love this stuff. Must be the best value red in the country at £7.95 from the Wine Society (they are now onto the 2010 vintage). Made from Fer Servadou, it’s bloody, meaty and a touch rustic but also has lovely blackberry and blackcurrant fruit, as well as some spicy notes and nice grippy tannins. It won’t be for everyone, but I could drink a lot of this. Grown up wine. 90/100

So we went out to bat. Disaster: we were down three wickets with only 6 runs on the board. Woolpit obviously thought they’d better take their foot off the pedal and brought on the buffet. But they hadn’t counted on Charles Taverner and Will Williamson. In a display of controlled aggression, they put the bowling to the sword. Charles reached his 50 of just 19 balls. The buffet came off and the better bowlers came on, but Charles had his eye in, and Will was now fluent. Will eventually went for 47, but Charles ploughed on, and the total grew. We lost another wicket (my son Dan, who hit 7 before being yorked), but Nick Oakley came in and made an attractive 22 not out. Charles finished on 134 not out, eight short of his highest, in one of the most devastating innings the wine trade has seen. We won by five wickets with ages to spare.

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