One of the rarer results occurred in Evanston’s cricket match against Illinois Sunday afternoon, July 11 – a draw. In a low-scoring affair that seemed to sum up Evanston’s season thus far, when the final wicket fell the score stood at 134-134. Although the result was “draw,” it felt like a loss to most of the Evanston side. The team rebounded the next week for its first win.
“It was there for us to win,” said Magnus Huggins, the team’s coach. Evanston bowlers held the Illinois bats in check allowing just the 134 runs in 40 full overs. Team Captin Perry Warburton led the bowlers, collecting three wickets and allowing 22 runs in his seven overs. Deron Blackwood was also 3/22 but in four overs. Donieke Perrin allowed just 22 runs in 7.4 overs with two wickets.
At the end of Illinois’ overs, it looked to be there for Evanston’s taking, as the target was an inviting 134. So far this season, though, Evanston has not been able to get the bats going. The team’s best batsman, Mr. Perrin, has been hampered by a hip injury much of the year and his batting has suffered. The rest of the team has not been able to pick up the slack.
Then there was the opponent, Illinois. “Something dramatic always happens when we play Illinois,” said team member Donald Blackwood. He said that the installation of an irrigation system has made the field surface rough, contributing to the poor scores.
Draws are exceptionally rare in cricket. Sadiq Yusuf, and umpire visiting the pitch the next week, said that in the history of international test cricket, going back over 100 years, there have been exactly two ties. Ties are obviously more likely to occur in the more limited formats, but Mr. Huggins, in the game for decades, said he had been involved in only one, years and years ago. “Some people never see that happen in their lifetime,” said Mr. Blackwood.
A week after the tie, Evanston’s bats finally exploded as the side put up a target of 293 on the Milwaukee Range. Mr. Perrin broke out in a big way, breaking 50 with a colossal six into the seagulls on the soccer field east of the cricket pitch on his way to a staggering century at 119. Once and future retired captain Michael Allen, in partnership with Mr. Perrin much of the afternoon, produced a half century 69. Deron Blackwood followed as Mr. Perrin’s partner after Allen was run out and came within a whisker of a half century at 49.
Milwaukee’s bats were hardly silent as they chased up to 174. But the wickets fell, as Deron Blackwood collected 4 while yielding 42 runs. When the final wicket fell, Evanston held its first victory of the season. It has taken a while, but Evanston has found the win column. They will try again on Aug. 1 at James Park against the Chicago Giants. The public is invited to cheer on the home side.