Guest writer: Mark Johnson
The team (most of it) arrived at Ifield for an early 13.30 start to Wanderers second outing of the new season.
Presented with a well-kept pitch and a magnificent new pavilion Ifield were ready for the first game of their Sunday season.
A 30 over game was agreed due to the predicted wet weather forecast, the sky was grey and gloomy, enough to obscure the planes as they took off and landed at nearby Gatwick.
Gemma was sent in to complete the toss and won! Keeping the 100% record this season (take note Luke) strangely however with the Wanderers reduced to 10 after a late but not unforeseen drop out of young George and with David Field MIA Southwick elected to field with 9
Rolling back the years Luke opened with Dan and immediately found his old line and length getting the ball to swing nicely before he removed the opener Dobson for 14 (Bowled) Dan followed suit quickly after (or it could have been before) by trapping the other opener Ahmed for 6 (LBW) a very positive start for Wanderers with Ifield 23 for 2
I think there were more wickets in the opening pair but Luke removed himself from the line up to save the magic (and possibly the back) for later.
The next partnership however had different ideas…. With obvious gaps in the field the next pair piled on the runs in the coming overs, with no bowler really being spared the odd spank to the boundary.
Rob returned to bowl for the first time this season and after a few balls found his range, his spinning balls testing the batsmen, he was unlucky to end wicket less after his 6 overs
Ant Skywalker made his bowling debut for Wanderers and after a few looseners soon started hitting the right line and length consistently, he can be proud of his opening bowling stint.
At some point the rain started to drizzle and with Rob attending to his windows Wanderers were down to 8 for one over.
With the reduced numbers and with some stiff looking fielding Wanderers were leaking runs and just when it seemed that nothing could save us……..who should appear from the other side of the pitch but Caribbean Dave.
Ibrahim, making his debut for Wanderers (another Prash recommendation) turned his arm over and soon got into a good rhythm with some decent pace, he would have, on any other days, got more overs – but after a quick 45 minute turn around Mr Field took erm… the field, his appearance seemed to energise the team particularly G Man who had been sending down some great balls when he had Patel caught out for 67, an excellent double handed catch taken by Dan quite casually in the deep.
Dave soon added to the tally removing the big scoring Ahmed for 108 caught once again by Mrs Dan Manvell. With Dave making up for lost time he then removed the next batsmen with his very next ball caught by Southwick Wanderers 5th choice wicket keeper MJ which now means that if Dave makes it to another game this year he is on a hat-trick.
This left Ifield on 224 for 5 they finished their inning shorty after on a massive 229 for 5 off 30 overs
Particular mention must go to Gemma and Will in the field who seemed to cop most of the batsmen’s enthusiasm Gemma used every part of her body to stop the onslaught and Will never gave up, running the boundary hard right into the last over.
So after a lovely tea with many sandwiches and treats Wanderers took to the task of overcoming the mammoth score.
G-Man strode to the wicket and with his normal shy and retiring manner started hitting the opening bowlers all over with a mixture of big hits from the Cricketing manual and (as described by Rob) some that were more “agricultural”.
He was ably assisted by Ibrahim who looked assured and relaxed at the crease, until he lifted one to a fielder caught out for 14, not what he would have wanted for his return to Cricket but there are certainly more Wanderer runs to come for him!?
Will Barber our rock in so many innings in the past didn’t trouble the score before he lofted one to mid-on with a shot which, when he hits it with more conviction, normally scores him plenty of runs.
Wanderers were 36 for 2, the ship needed to be settled, if by settled you mean starting a run fest with Gwyllim then Rob is your man.
I can honestly say it was a pleasure to watch them both knocking the ball all over the park using a combination of great shot selection and brutish power.
Both men passed the half century mark quickly and the once enormous total seemed not so large anymore, Wanderers were motoring with balls flying to all corners of the pitch and beyond.
The fun had to end though and G-man was finally caught and bowled superbly by Mahed whose choice was to lose a few fingers or take the catch cleanly, he chose the latter.
An excellent 79 for Mr Jones
Gemma entered the arena and quickly left two balls later, I have no idea what happened as I was having a wee, sorry Gemma.
Ant Skywalker (yes that’s his name from now on) then took to the wicket and handled himself well at the crease, keeping the bowling at bay but this obviously slowed the scoring from the lusty blows of our South African immigrant.
Any suggestion that Rob may crumble under the pressure of the additional scoring required were unfounded as he continued to hit magnificent shots to all areas before he was finally caught just 11 short of his century with Wanderers on 194.
It was a superb innings and easily the best I have witnessed from Mr Black who walked back in on 89 (I did the math for you)
With only a few overs remaining it was up to MJ and Ant to try and bring Wanderers home, but the remaining total which seemed so possible with Rob or Gwyllim at the wicket was too much for MJ who hogged most of the strike and could not get away the pretty average bowling on offer.
Southwick finished agonisingly close on 217 for 5 for their 30 overs
Ant 3 not out
MJ 10 not out
Despite the loss it was a great game which was enjoyed by all
Joint first place this week
5 points Rob B
5 points G-man
1 point Dan
Special mention to Dave F who might have earned himself a point had he turned up for the first 90 minutes.