As Close As It Gets- SWCC v Hindu Unity 23.08.2020

Wanderers slipped to a one-wicket defeat on a slightly more placid Berrylands track this Sunday against a splendid Hindu Unity crowd.

With the vitriolic rain showers doing their best to disrupt this curtailed season of cricketing famine, a match was still possible in the full. In smirking defiance, a ‘beer match’ was also had after the main game. A slightly discrepant term, perhaps, but it meant that the day saw over 70 overs of bat’n’ball feast, with the cheapskate spectators who turned up after tea getting more value for their free entry.

Wanderers won the toss and elected to bat with The Big Bear and Will opening up. Reports came through via the technology grapevine of Wanderers reaching 61-2 after just eleven overs. Those who had been concerned of the skies before their mid-afternoon excursions took great pleasure and made a beeline to their cars. A good thing too. For as the spectatorship swelled to five so wickets had fallen in double the number. The middle order cement of recent times turning into more a squidgy sand. With Teflon having an Indian summer, others were having a day of much batting discontent. 61-2 became an all-out total of 113. Serviceable, maybe, but could Wanderers make early enough in-roads to give that arriving army of five supporters, with their loud cacophony, a proud triumph ?

At 39-2, despite a positive result being possible, and Lukey having hutched the opening batsmen, the odds were still in Unity’s favour. However, Wanderers were holding their catches and Ant and the ever-returning Smith the elder caused the middle order much mayhem.

Excitable times on the side-line with tension palpable for every run. These close affairs are great value. At 54-6, Wanderers were in the driving seat. The problem was the variance of Unity’s batting order. Like Wanderers, they like to give everyone an opportunity. Admirable, naturally, but difficult for us to see the wood from the trees. Given the frequent excursions into the bushes at Sayers Common you would expect us to be able to do so. The next quiz held at a jolly get together will be on Sussex species with a chitinous exoskeleton. I’m sure we’ve learnt them all from collecting errant sixes at many a country host.

Alas, collecting the ball from the bushes was exactly what Wanderers found themselves doing as the opposition got closer to victory. For despite Unity being reduced to 71-8, they continued to thrash for the unlikely 43 runs needed for victory. Batsmen Sagar and Amar didn’t so much dig in as play with gay abandon. The pairing had a top order feel to them as they smote the ball to all parts. Batsman Amar departed with the score in the late nineties and many a nail was bitten on the side-lines.

With a couple of lusty blows, the scores were level.. field up.. an unexpected drop and run and anything was possible. Unfortunately for the home side the pick up and throw was not forthcoming in a timely enough fashion and the batter crossed the line to much joy for the travelling side. Unity had found their way to victory in a match played in great spirit and kindred warmth. There were few whatifs, more ‘when is’ ? namely the return match. Not for revenge, but for an equally enjoyable occasion played with the right attitude. A match one has no beef in losing.

A fifteen over bash followed. Bizarrely producing as many runs than the first one. The highlights being the brotherly confrontation between Nathan and Luke as well as Teflon holding a catch of all catches, one handed, but having just stepped over the boundaries edge.

A lovely afternoon outing for all, and a forlorn reminder of how there is already little to come. Still, memories are memories, and today provided some pretty fine ones.

POSTSCRIPT 25.08.2020:

Wonderful news has reached the Wanderers’ increasing family of a new addition at 07:25 on Sunday morning when Baker Joe’s partner gave birth to a baby daughter. Much joy in the ranks today. The 2040 line-up is taking shape with another opener who makes plenty of 40s and 90s being a fine addition. Congratulations Joe, we wish you and your family health and happiness in your future together.

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