As much as cricketers are trying to make up for lost time so is the English summer. Thus, it was inevitable that the third fixture in was threatened by a day of bad weather sandwiched in between two of sunshine and July warmth. I had to get the word ‘sandwich’ in, for it is unlikely that there will be much mention of that this summer. At least Jordy will be safe from tea rush jestering.
For a while it looked like there may be no cricket at all. The A23 gave the wipers a good outing and The Author arrived at Berrylands with Johno heading in the opposite direction. Thankfully, his outing was merely for supplies and most of the crew were in place, if looking resigned and a little reluctant.
There was a desire to play among some but not so much among others. One of the issues that the Berrylands has, unlike Plumpton which is just inside the chalk layers, is that wicket is built on clay. A properly prepared clay wicket is a batsman’s paradise. A poorly prepared wicket can produce an uneven and, if wet especially, dangerous bounce. Berrylands falls into the latter category. A wicket which has been neglected beyond basic preparation for some time. The water here does drain east across the field (there is a fertile area near the changing rooms) but playing in wet conditions can do immense damage for a wicket that is under-resourced to recover, which may cause problems down the line. Thus, a decision to play is at your own risk if there are pacey bowlers about. A decision to play a junior match yesterday would have been a safeguarding fail.
Wanderers lost the toss (I think we’ve ran out of jokes here….) and were put into bat and, with said pitch irregularities, found the going tough. Lloyd fell early and The Big Bear struggled to maintain any fluency. Yet, despite another interruption and a few soil explosions, he and Will constructed one of the most commendable stands in recent times, a relatively easy chance offered by Will being spilled during this period potentially proving costly. With 50 runs coming between overs 10 and 20 there laid the foundations of a match winning total. Wanderers are now used to such top order showings, but this Sunday was especially conspicuous. But when both players fell with the score in nineties an 180+ total immediately looked beyond likely and it was always going to revert to a rear-guard action as early as middle order.
Thus, it proved, Mr Styles, unnerved by the prospect of having just avoided a salvo from the mouth of the diseased sphere’s cannon, cut and scythed his way to 22. Numbers six to eleven, in new Wanderers tradition, had clearly heard of The Authors newly formed Binary Club and set out to make donations. Four ducks and two singles bringing the total contributions to 14 already this July. ‘I’m wondering if there might be 50 of them this season’, said The Author, ‘Can’t you settle for 20 ?’ replied Gwyllim. I might if the club stopped donations at the end of July….
The Yellow Stumps bowling was, at times, deceptively quick. Ben Gardener, who wasn’t brought on until the 31st over with the score on 118, took 5 wickets for 4 runs without being the most proficient of the pick. But at that stage Wanderers were in the lower order and the fragilities had re-surfaced. Nonetheless, 128 all out is always something to work with.
The weather dried up and the match continued. For Yellow Stumps this worked in their favour. The Wanderers attack, although focused, is lacking pace these days. The track was much easier to bat on and the bowlers had to work hard. The opening stand between batsman Gardener (F) and Richardson was fluent and able. Broken first on 48, the Yellows reached 65, and halfway, with just two wickets down. Luke had taken his first of two with another wicket to The Oldest Swinger in Town. The comfortable response continued though, with the third wicket partnership adding another 47 and the run rate increasing. Despite being comfortable placed to trounce Wanderers at 112-2, Yellow Stumps lost three wickets in the final push. One of these, to the delight of the Wanderers ensemble, to Noodle who having celebrated his catch behind was promptly dispatched for a huge six to finish the game in Yellow Stumps favour.
Much talk of further availabilities ensued and it seems that many are keen to get as much bat’n’ball in as they can. The social fun continues, the game remains splendid, and the Binary Club needs new staff to receive the plethora of donations. On to Wednesday.