Back to Berrylands. One is persuaded that rather than cutting the outfield at this venue it would be better to graze livestock. Apart from the wicket itself, which played well at times, the pastures resemble a High Wealden autumnal meadow. But, then again, left unattended that is almost what they are.
The recent trend of pleasant Sunday weather shows no sign of abating and much of this week’s encounter was played in warm sunshine that flooded lobster like arms and elbows. Indeed, when sitting on the bench at this mid-Sussex abode it is wise to be conscious of the gamma effects. The author found the shower a bit prickly for a few days after some short sleeve shirted scoring for twenty overs.
Losing the toss, Lord Sponge’s ghost lingers, The Big Bear was asked to bat. Tis not a footnote to mention that, needing a new recruit to make eleven, Wanderers had a scout around the park. The options were pretty narrow. In the end the choice was limited to the scoring bench, a baguette, The Author and young Alice Noakes. Only one of those could be described as having any knowledge, understanding, and small ability to play cricket. So Alice was correctly chosen… Thus, it is believed, she became the youngest female to play for the team (DJ Dave can’t remember a younger one so that should be enough given his length of service) and possibly only the third or fourth to play a whole game in twenty five years. Slow progress in this area. It would be good to see Sunday cricket as a more mixed affair. Perhaps essential for the long term survival of the game.
In true Berrylands fashion, the match was dominated by individual efforts that dwarfed the able collective. The Big Bear elected to take the first ball and with Wanderers 11-1 at the end of the fourth over, and a tentative approach in prevalent, no-one was really expecting an onslaught. But that is what we were treated to.
With contrasting approach, as indeed we are used to, The Bear clubbed his way to fifty to ton and Wilbarb glided a sweet course of elegant beauty with nudges, nurdles and classic correctness. A potential stand of 200 was only broken at G man’s decision to retire upon reaching three figures. Amiable, perhaps, but an annoyance to scoring statisticians. We seem to get few of those. Will did the same upon reaching his own landmark. Wanderers are so thoughtful. The 40 over innings closed on 251-5.
As ever, tea was ample and immediately available. The only danger here being the tendency to forget that there could be a long haul coming. For Lord Sponge that was indeed the case. The affable and accommodating fool had offered to field for the opposition who were short of personnel. He fielded for 70 overs….
The Gully response, much like that of Wanderers efforts, came from two anchors of support in a second wicket stand. Opener Previn fell in the first over yet not as a sign of things to come. One would have thought that a target of 252 in 40 overs would have proved overwhelming for any chasing side at the meadow. But for a while, although the outcome looked relatively certain, Gully were in the hunt. A century stand between opener Zakir and number three Kanag gave the match a respectable edge and kept Wanderers labouring in the field on what certainly felt like a very long afternoon. Both Zakir and Kanag reached well earned half centuries, Zakir especially wading in with some hefty blows.
Ultimately, with a three wicket return for the Slaymaker and two for Ashley W, an industrious Gully fell short of their target. Wanderers would have preferred them much shorter with the long and arduous heavy fielding experience. By the mid-evening finish only young Alice seemed unfazed by the extended play. Other than that, creaky limbs and bones could be heard above the thunder of the A23. Fond farewells were issued and no-one hung about too long. One year on, one year older..
|Match||v Gully||Format||40 Overs|
|Innings of||Southwick Wanderers|
|1||Jones (G) *||Retired OUT||101|
|4||Noakes (D) +||c||&||b||Deepak||16|
|5||Preston (A)||Not Out||2|
|7||Walker (A)||Not Out||0|
|8||Johnson (M)||Did Not Bat|
|9||Smith (L)||Did Not Bat|
|10||Noakes (A)||Did Not Bat|
|11||Field (D)||Did Not Bat|
|2||Previn||c||Johnson (M)||b||Smith (L)||0|
|Result||Southwick Wanderers||Won by 39 runs|