Wanderers Memories: v Scaynes Hill 10.05.1992- The Great Escape…

Back in 1992, the kiss-me-quick nature of limited overs cricket, certainly on a Sunday, was a very future concept. Matches began at 2 or 2.30pm, the first side had until tea at 5pm to bat, and after that it was twenty overs plus an hour. Thus, some matches would finish beyond half past seven. It could be quite a long day out as the local pub was nearly always frequented afterwards. It would be considered anti-social to have done otherwise. Sometimes one wonders whether that, across the nation, a more informed local constabulary would have had a field day with the less socially conscious driver on their way home. Different times.

Certainly, there was an aversion to the limited overs game and plenty of Sunday clubs around that supported this view. Wanderers were certainly not in favour and resisted, and perhaps avoided, some teams who might insist on such a format. This despite the format being established in county cricket- albeit at a minimum of 40 overs. There were the odd evening bashes of 20 overs, but you could count on one hand the amount of such matches Wanderers would have played during this period.

So, on a day when Wanderers journeyed to Mid-Sussex to meet Scaynes Hill a full Sunday would have been anticipated with a dry and cloudy day in prospect.

Scaynes Hill was, and probably still is, a small ground set just off the A272. This wasn’t Wanderers first visit. There is an historical connection to Scaynes Hill who took part in the 1997 70th anniversary celebration week at Plumpton sending a very good side as well.

Wanderers won the toss and put the home side in. Tea was had after 41 overs and a score of 122-6. Slow by today’s standards, but probably a little under par for the period. The bowling attack was relatively strong, but the pick of the bowlers was Mick Thompson who would not normally have been expected to claim the title being more renowned as an opening batsman than a first change bowler. Mike bowled medium pace with a rotating and whippy action. His three wickets came economically and at low cost. Wanderers would have been fairly happy in the hutch at tea.

Thommo and Brokesy batted eight overs for an opening stand of 17. Alan was a free scoring, chancing opener. A cross between Taylor Salerno and Peter Styles but with a more solid defence. He appears to have played second fiddle that day as the bowling was tight. Ulsterman Mike was more textbook and steadier. Once the stand had been broken Mike followed a couple of overs later- and there started a capitulation. It’s not as if the mid-order was bereft of ability. Teflon, Jacko and Nick Clarke were capable performers, but the Binary Club that day became the Primary Club with all three falling without troubling the scorers. The carnage continued and with plenty of overs to spare Wanderers were 50-9.

Despite a probable twenty overs plus remaining, the anchor was dropped. With Mark Scholfield and Dave Field at the crease, aside of perhaps Nick Clarke in form, there were no two better than to frustrate the bowling.

And thus, it happened. For the next 23 overs the Scaynes Hill bowlers were met with the Scholfield straight bat and Dave Field dab. 31 runs were scored, a fair number of which look to have been extras. It was the perfect afternoon of attrition. Cardiff 2009 takes a poor runner up slot.

Such matches are almost a by-gone memory. And some may morn their passing, others not. The scorecard of the match has been reproduced here for Wanderers Greatest Escape. Whether or not such an event occurs again, whether or not folk would wish to see such a happening, is up for discussion. But for those who were there, as those who were at Cardiff in 2009 would confirm, it very much felt like a victory- and a worthy Wanderers memory.

Trowbridge 1994- What Really Happened.

 

The 1994 Bath outing was held over the August bank holiday weekend with the team staying at a guest house in Pulteney Gardens which was to be used again for the May excursion the following year. The squad was plenty in number, with about 14 players available on this occasion. Thus, some chose to sit out matches with the Oldest Swinger in Town, who was not so old then, missing out on the Trowbridge game possibly to travel back earlier. Indeed, the match had been set up on the route back as players were returning to Sussex at the close.

I had arranged the tour fixtures and remember the call for this particular gig. To play at a ground that the West Indies had met the Minor Counties on in 1988 would be a great honour for the club. Assurances were given when discussing the strength of the sides and it was said that the opposition would feature a mixture of players, the impression being that considerations had been taken on board. Trowbridge were happy to play.

Two matches had gone prior over the weekend. A narrow 13 run defeat on the Saturday and a Sunday tie in which a Wanderers score of just over 100 had proved more than enough for the Coombe Down side up on the windy hill.

There is a legend told of a visit to the Footlights restaurant in the centre of the city on the Sunday night, a meal that would be memorable if anyone could really have the faculties to do so. A story is told of the ordering of a bottle of Frascati which has never seemed to have a proper punch line, although Jacko eating two huge T-bone steaks was worthy of a footnote. It’s fair to say that much wine was consumed and sore heads were the order of the day the following morning.

Having checked out of the guest house Wanderers arrived at Trowbridge on a pleasant and calmer day and immediately wowed at the splendid pavilion. A picture cannot be re-produced here for copyright reasons but take a look online and you will see its current features. The dressing room, which the West Indies may well have used six years earlier, was more hutch than Headingley. One wonders how Ambrose and Walsh would have fitted in before the great Sir Viv even contemplated his pew.

Trowbridge won the toss and sent Wanderers into bat on a wicket of even bounce and tender loving care.

The bowling attack was very capable. Tony and Brokesey opened and made an accomplished opening stand of 48. I distinctly recall the arm of the mid-wicket fielder being the best I had seen at this level and the expression of Nathan when he first saw it. After both Tony and Alan had fallen in quick succession things got troublesome for the remaining group. Nick Clarke dug in at six for a dogged 15 but the attack, and the accomplished fielding, had proved too much. Wanderers had fought their way admirably to 97 all out but it was clearly, given what we had seen, going to be short of the mark.

Resuming the BBOBS partnership of those summers, Paul and I opened the bowling with Paul taking the cherry first and me, as ever, preferring the most easterly end.

The first over yielded a run taken to Nathan in the gully. I remember the shock at such haughtiness, and given that Nathan was no mug in the field it became clear that Trowbridge had already reached a disdainful conclusion on our fielding acumen. That over produced six further runs with a four off the final ball. Any lingering hangover was soon driven out the system as I marked out my longest run up of 16 paces and began to limber up knowing that, to avoid embarrassment, it would require everything to fall into place. Certainly, with the wicket as it was, a decent length was required. The overwhelming drive was to see one of the opening duo hit the pavilion early.

The first wicket fell in the fifth ball of the spell. Opener Wilson being castled by a straight delivery. At least it wasn’t going to be a ten wicket affair. But the second wicket partnership began to build until Paul had the other opener, Gingell, caught by the safe hands of Iain Jackson. Jacko was the best fielder in the club throughout those years and you always had money on the hands even when the sharpest of chances went in his direction.

Maplesden, at four, was a class above. And on this occasion Paul, unusually, was struggling with a boundary an over. I had contained at my end but gained no further breakthrough. Nick Clarke replaced Paul but continued to leak. At 49-2 in the tenth over we were looking at being home for the nine ‘o’ clock news.

In the tenth over another player was castled in a similar way as before. Evans, who had been blocking in support, was on his way. But Maplesden needed to fall if a rout wasn’t to ensue. With the score at 58 and 59, in the twelfth over, the legend reaches its zenith.

First Oatley, wandering across his stumps to a ball speared across him, steals too much territory and is bowled behind his legs. A single is taken by the new batsman, and Maplesden goes back on strike. The ball which sent waves of worry to the balcony was the next one. Maplesden is met with a full length delivery on or just outside leg stump, goes to flick, gets a thin edge and appeals are heard in Bristol. Teflon has taken the catch and Wanderers are into the lower order. It’s 59-5 and a shock could be in the offing.

The coach was then parked against me as runs were flowing from the west end. Trowbridge clearly batted down the order and, despite another wicket falling to a lofty full toss (perhaps we had got our strategy wrong !), came home by 4 wickets after 22 overs.

I’ve often wondered why this match has been so enshrined in folklore, and perhaps the story has grown taller with the telling, but certainly it was an absorbing clash. Perhaps, if the location had not been as it was, it would have sailed into a sub-note in despatches. Nonetheless, the tour itself was a success and a return made for the following year. It would be nice to think that, given 1997 was our last visit, we may return again. Hopefully I’ll get to score an equally remarkable affair.

Another bottle of Frascati, please love…

Ian

Wanderers Memories: Bournemouth 1992- Wet Weather And Wild Whoopees…

Records show that three venues were considered for the August Bank Holiday excursion of 1992. Official minutes saying that Bath, later visited in 1994 and 1995, Hertfordshire (1996) and Bournemouth were under consideration. The latter was the eventual location.

The planning of the tour was initially a little problematic. Finding a suitable Guest House for one, eventually being resolved (Although the owner was rather gruff about the constant need for changes in booking) and also finding suitable fixtures against unknown opposition. Come the event itself all this had been made good, although the one thing that cannot be controlled upon these shores, namely the weather, was in a foul mood.

On the Saturday of the tour Wanderers made a 50-mile visit to Urchfont, near Devizes, a club famously associated with Bill Frindall. The weather, heavy but mostly dry throughout, held back enough for the match to be played. On a wet pitch, Wanderers held the hosts to a total of 102-7 in 45 overs, having been 54-4 after 36, but were bowled out for 62. Mark Scholfield top scored from the opening berth with 16.

Returning to Bournemouth it became apparent that the weather was worsening, and thus it didn’t disappoint. The Sunday game was a wash out without Wanderers even travelling to the venue. Although records don’t show the name of the intended opposition, it is thought to be a local side, Ferndown.

The intervening 24 hours are the subject of the blessed sponge of amnesia for some, and much hilarity for others. Whilst various drunken capers will be met with accusation and denial, what cannot be denied is the ‘whoopee cushion’ incident that played itself out on the cruel wicket of the Guest House living room down in East Cliff.

Steve Page, Neil Oglieve and Martin Malpass were naturally in fine off field form as expected. As Wanderers gathered to bemoan a lost afternoon a whoopee cushion was placed under one of the armchairs. The schoolboy fun claimed a number of club victims until two seats remained in the room, under one of which the offending bag of air was placed. As footsteps were heard, one of another couple of victims was unassumingly about to be claimed. Except that it turned out that the two intended targets were not members of the touring party…..

Dear reader, you can only imagine the horror on the face of even the most villainous of jokers as a retired couple entered the room and made a beeline for the offending chair. An almost audible gasp of air was heard as one took to their seat. The giggles end there as the cushion itself failed to fart, but it goes without saying that the it made no further appearance that weekend….

A large number of hangovers made the short journey to Whitecliff for the shortened 30 over friendly on the Monday against what is listed in the scorebook as Solent & Wessex Cricket Association, although it is believed that the opponents were connected to Bournemouth Transport (Buses). The match had been in doubt because of the sheer volume of rain that had been falling, but had since been a little better. The pitch, however, was a quagmire.

Wanderers lost the toss and were put in to bat. Cool and dark at the start, it began to rain. The match survived, however, and Wanderers fund themselves 60-3 after 13 overs.

The biggest problem was the wicket conditions though. After a while it became unplayable. There was a single solution, that being to call a halt to the match. At that point an inventive idea, in absence of a growling groundsman, came to the fore. Why not move the wicket ? Not once, but twice was this plan enacted. A stand of 143, possibly a tour record, between David Noakes and Martin Malpass ensued. Although had the action remained on the original yardage this would probably have been implausible.

With Dave Noakes keeping wicket, Wanderers used all ten outfielders to bowl during their opponents stuttering reply. By the time the score had finished on 105-9, Howard Price had take three wickets, Jason Thackeray two, and Nick Clarke had bowled some left arm spin. The scorer had ran out of space.

The match scorecard can be found below:

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Southwick Wanderers
A.Brackenridge b Aylwood 19
M.Scholfield b Pollock 7
M.Thompson lbw Tizzard 2
D.Noakes not out 48
M.Malpass not out 104
Extras 22
Total (30 Overs) 3 Wickets 203
Fall of Wickets 14,17,60
Did Not Bat
N.Clarke
H.Price
I.Fennell
J.Thackeray
C.Botting
D.Field
Pollock 5-0-29-1
Tizzard 5-0-25-1
Galpin 6-0-28-0
Mills 5-0-64-0
Aylwood 6-0-32-1
Gill 3-0-23-0
SWCA
Mills (Bob) c Noakes Field 1
Mills (Brian) c.Brackenridge Thompson 13
Aylward c Botting Thackeray 17
Ackerman c Botting Brackenridge 17
Pollock b Malpass 7
Galpin b Thackeray 3
Tizzard not out 21
Mundon b Price 1
Gill c Noakes Price 0
Jossock b Price 0
Miles not out 10
Extras 15
Total (30 Overs) 9 Wickets 105
Fall of Wickets Unavailable
Field 4-2-5-1
Botting 3-0-5-0
Thompson 3-0-10-1
Clarke 4-0-9-0
Thackeray 4-0-21-2
Brackenridge 4-0-26-1
Malpass 2-1-2-1
Price 2-0-2-3
Fennell 2-0-6-0
Scholfield 2-0-10-0
Wanderers win by 98 runs

Memories Of The Wanderers: v Parham Park 17.06.1990 At Wish Road, Hove.

The summer of 1990 will be remembered for a number of reasons, the chatter about the ‘Greenhouse Effect’, the slow demise of Margaret Thatcher, record breaking temperatures, and also the Italia 90 World Cup.

On the 17th June, an overcast yet warm day, Wanderers gathered at Wish Road in Hove for a match against the West Sussex team of Parham Park. The opposition were renowned for two things, firstly a ground of beautiful setting near Storrington, and also a legendry batsman, Brian Huffer, well known on the circuit for preferring innings totals in three figures to two. Neither were on show on this occasion.

Before the match started, much talk was had of England’s performance the previous evening against Holland. Although a goalless draw was the result, the new kid on the block, Paul Gascoigne, had been an inspiration. The thought was that England might actually progress in this tournament. They did, only to fall in the Semi-Finals to the eventual winners, West Germany.

Wish Road was the primary venue for home matches in 1990, although the Nevill Recreation Ground was used once. It appears that Wanderers had a preference to travel elsewhere, certainly from the July of that year, from which indications are that only away matches were played. Wish Road was known, in an unaffectionate way, as ‘dog turd alley’. Not entirely unwarranted, although Hove Recreation Ground need keep quiet on such matters…

Wanderers won the toss and chose to bat, amassing a score of 206-3 in 39 overs. Although initially reduced to 22-2, what ensued was a record that would last for many years. Alan Whitehead, ‘Yogi’, joined Tony Preston at the crease and put on 180 for the third wicket. Alan, who scored 46 not out, was never a big hitter of the ball, but was hard to remove. A solid anchor for Tony’s efforts, although the batting line up was strong that day.

Tony Preston batted for 1 hour and 50 minutes, arriving at the crease at eight minutes past three. His 133 remained the highest score by a Wanderers player for that decade. It contained 19 fours and 3 sixes. The last five scoring shots, doubtless pressing the total at the end of the innings, were 4,4,4,4,6.

Parham Park, in return, held out against a tight Wanderers attack, finishing on 102-8 after 40 overs, thus drawing the match.

Due to no-one giving a thought to bringing a camera to such occasions in those days, and internet technology being a mythical sketch on ‘Tomorrow’s World’, no visuals exist of Tony’s monumental innings. The scorecard is below.

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Southwick Wanderers
J.Kirk b Storey 9
I.Mcleod c Kitcher 8
T.Preston c Storey 133
A.Whitehead not out 46
M.Malpass not out 1
Extras 9
Total (39 Overs) 3 Wickets 206
Fall of Wickets 13,22,202
Did Not Bat
J.Harrington
D.Noakes
M.Sharp
N.Clarke
D.Field
I.Fennell
Kitcher 13-2-31-1
Storey 11-4-53-2
Mackintosh 8-0-55-0
Vaughan 3-0-33-0
Carter 4-0-29-0
Parham Park
Huffer (D) b Harrington (J) 0
Mackintosh b Harrington (J) 8
Tolerton c Mcleod Harrington (J) 12
Byars c Noakes Harrington (J) 4
Storey c Sharp Field 17
Kitcher c Clarke (w/k) Field 25
Decaerio b Malpass 1
Vaughan b Malpass 0
Carter (G) not out 17
Carter (R) not out 4
Extras 14
Total (40 Overs) 8 Wickets 102
Fall of Wickets 0,29,32,37,74,77,80,82
Did Not Bat
Kay
Fennell 7-3-14-0
Harrington (J) 10-0-35-4
Field 10-3-19-2
Malpass 9-3-15-2
Whitehead 4-1-8-0
Match Drawn

Memories Of The Wanderers- September 2013

v Hackney Umpires at Plumpton

Whilst the most splendid days of a summer that will ever give us selective memories of its brilliance have since passed, the cricket season remains hobbling along like a crocked sprinter who, despite their battle torn body, just wants to cross the finishing line because the crowd are willing him to- and not through any personal desire to see things to the bitter end.

It is fair to say the cricket season lasts as long as we will it to. I know of clubs who compete throughout October, and judging by the weather at some of Wanderers mid-autumn AGMs I can fully understand why. However today’s battle had that air of autumn resignation about it, the sense of rising electricity bills, sudden slips on sodden leaves at the first morning kerb and X-Factor boot camp.

It was my first playing SWCC visit to Plumpton since 1998, the year of New Labour, Barbie Girl, and when Arsenal were winning things. I know, it’s quite a while back. In fact some of our team were in infant school at the time, but, judging by the creaking bones of many a Wanderers veteran now, might still have been short listed for selection regardless.

Plumpton is like the family home really. You will always visit better, tidier, wealthier and modern abodes. But, regardless, there is no-where other than the scruffy old security of the musty old gaff with its 70s carpets and its time warp of an aura which exudes that comforting feeling for the middle aged grouch that cricket should only move on at the pace we dictate. Rightly so. And this grumpy old disposition was immediately edified at meeting the Glorious Sponge, the relief that my recruit found his way to the meeting point, and the ever more ample sight of Teflon Noakesy, Dave Field (most definitely the oldest swinger in town) and Smith snr, who despite his joy at an afternoon on parole, had the air of a man who gleefully swapped the frying pan for the fire…

A cloudy sky over the hallowed sports field then saw a 30 over effort decided on by the Sponge and his opposing number.

Now, the opponents for the afternoon, turning up in short numbers, heralded the title of Hackney Umpires. An oxymoronic plural on a number of levels. Not least because the suggestion that a person who calls for a wide and then mutters ‘Over’ in the same breath could ever regard himself in any way a proficient arbiter of the affairs of play.

And so it came to pass that our friends from the smoke batted first on a slow, low and sweating pitch.

Actually, this isn’t the Daily Telegraph. ……..

…. And so it came to pass that our friends from the smoke batted first on a muddy strip that would have had Wayne Barnes moving the scrum to a place where footholds and binding would have been made much easier for the 60 stone front row….

Now to be fair, our Luke chose to give everyone a go. And good for him. Although a mathematician of the Newtonic variety would have struggled with the permutation of numbers. I think Wanderers initially had 12, the Umpires 9, or was it ten, or 8 perhaps. Yeah, I think it was 8. Luke handed them young Lee Warnett. The match started at 9 a-side though- let’s confuses things further. The Butcher’s failed to show. You see modern technology is great as long as you keep it updated. The website suggested a one thirty start and it was assumed that this was their reasoning. Either that or Kim had given them the wrong time. The problem was absorbable given the general shortages amongst the opposition but exacerbated by the family’s appointment as the day’s tea makers. Given that a cricketers stomach is as important as his averages you could sense the general angst all round…..

In went the Umpires then, and progressed to 104 all out (well all out plus two batsman allowed to go back in again) and after a slow start they appeared to have set a competitive total. So what to report of note ? Well, the Sponge did his jump, the oldest swinger swung and other Wanderers bowlers, who I’ve not seen ply their trade before, look very accomplished. Josh Haylock also showed a nippy promise on his debut for the club.

But one old hand returned to much fanfare…

Smith senior, of the Nathan variety, returned after 7 years of forced/voluntary (delete as appropriate) exile. Coming on from the Pavilion end at first change the old master rolled back the years with an assortment of intelligent and hopeful dolly mixtures, a few mystery balls (to him just as much) and a reminder of his dangerous ability that hasn’t been extinguished by the onslaught of the midriff. Twas a joy to watch. Taking out three of the top four in the order, even if cow corner was an able accomplice, was a real achievement for someone thrown into the mix so late. Worth a Life Membership, Lukey, surely ?

And so the target was set. 105 in 30 overs. And the promise of the yummiest tea on the circuit half way through. We were all set for a comfortable, if not fattening, end to our weekends sporting endeavour.

Now Smith jnr, in whom the fairness gene has many a shareholding, allowed the Hackney travelers the chance to add a fielder or two to their carriage. Teflon Noakes walking out to field for the opposition after having a brief spray at the top of the order, would normally be greeted with raised eyebrows. But after a simple catch went down the watching Wanderers felt better. And with SWCC reaching the half way point with two wickets gone, and overs to spare, all was well when the Butcher Banquet commenced during a break at half way point, Butcher junior having made 16 and Jordon Wilson 23, whilst brandishing the bat like a meat cleaver.

Once all had eaten, perhaps a little too much in some cases, 15 overs remained. With just 45 runs needed and 7 wickets in hand, a late season win looked in the offing. But as the old saying goes; There is many a slip between Chicken Tikka Mini Pasty and lip…….

The Umpires decided not to limit their bowlers, and the Wanderers fielders, well one, decided not to drop any further catches. Wickets tumbled with little resistance. A crisis beckoned. Luke sweated over his lack of options, appearing at the wicket sooner than hoped. I, dismissed cheaply, had another chocolate cup cake.

So it came to pass, as the Oldest Swinger made his way to the wicket, the home side needed 13 to win with just over 4 overs available.

The final wicket summarised the madness of the day. Southwick Wanderers last hitting hope, unknown and on debut, struck a hard pull to a well-known fellow team member (Morgan, ahem) who held a difficult catch to win the game for the opposition. By giving everyone a proper game Wanderers had given the opposition a chance to set a reasonable total. By giving them a couple of fielders, and making no restrictions, Wanderers then won the game for them. And so it was, and once again, rightly so. For no temperatures rose (Well except Jordan’s on his run out), no eyebrows furrowed, and the spirit of Wanderers was maintained in its most fantastic form.

I was as proud of the club today as I was all those years ago.

Oh, by the way, I took a catch

Pub.

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v Jevington at Plumpton

And so to the last act, the end of the story, the dramatic final scenes. If this were a Shakespearean play then what to be ? A comedy ? A tragedy ? or perhaps both. Well, the final game of the season was certainly a tragedy in the puritanical playing sense, but since when was a voyage on the Good Ship Wanderers ever measured by what that spoilsport of a ships log, the Villainous Scorebook, brutally reported.

The air of the day imputed that ‘back to school’ feeling, as if the holidays were over, and soon a tedious Sunday afternoon spent watching West Ham and Everton play out the inevitable goalless draw will encourage feelings of deepest wistfulness for that sweet cover drive, the one which brought up double figures for the first and only time the previous season.

And so the Wanderers gathered, much in the same way as the Sussex members take their stripy deck chairs on the final day of the Championship season. Much chatter and reflection, stories that grow taller in the telling. The final day of the season is quite strange for this reason. A young cricketer, reaching his prime, would be nervously waiting a call from the Chairman of Selectors to see if his season is likely to be extended beyond these shores. A Sussex member, however, would be looking to avoid a call from the Chairman of Heavenly Selectors. It was once said that goodbyes at Hove are a long and meaningful affair as for a number of folk there will be no returning….

Today’s team sheet saw the return of Gywllim Jones, that big hitting Sefrican, as well as the old warhorse, Taylor Salerno. Gemma Manvell was washing her hair, deciding to send her betrothed, the beloved Daniel. And In dutifully preparation for married life, he did as he was told. So as the Wanderers, Jordan Wilson and Morgan Hockley-Jones, or Jones-Hockley depending on the scorer, walked to the wicket, the sun warmly shined and hope was on our side. It was downhill from there on.

Par-for-the-course at Plumpton in recent weeks appears to be directly proportionate to the length of the grass, which any gazelle hunting jungle beast would be most delighted to have taken residence in these last two weeks. Lusty blows and a series of textbook, sweet spot strokes, were failing to penetrate the inner field. When the first wicket fell with less than a handful of runs on the board it felt like a we should be clapping a 50 partnership. The frustration of ineffectual unheralded stroke play and bowling that made full use of a pitch devoid of bounce led to an all to familiar collapse. Put like that Wanderers performance can be read as unfortunate and blameless, so an addendum must be made to this subjective analysis. We were crap….

Wickets fell with regularity, the pacey and unpredictable Fielder brothers responsible for five of them. Most fell bowled or LBW. However, one run maker stood out, one regular attendee took up the mantle, one, just one, stood up to be counted. With a score of 22, ‘Extras’ showed us all how it should be done. And although Teflon Noaksey and extras have never been good bedfellows this one occasion was needs-must, being the two top scorers-Noaksey with 12.

Thus tea was taken after Wanderers had fallen for just 69. 9 players falling for single figures with Josh Haylock surviving for a credible 0 not out. Dave Field was actually out, yes, actually out. We have video evidence, it is below, but it will need to be independantly verified….

Now, far more cohesive than the Wanderers innings, the tea preparations were a joint affair. Mr Field playing a solid innings to see off the tricky tea making duties, with the author and young Haylock playing the cut shot beautifully through the baggettes and the quiche thus ensuring fairness of portion. And with three ‘o’ clock being the new five thirty Wanderers then took the field for the final time this year.

The greyish clouds were fairly high, and a times the watery autumnal sun gave a false sense of a prolonged high season when it broke through. One of those deceptive affairs of weather, it was hard to decide whether and how many jumpers were required. We need not have worried, we weren’t out there for long enough….

With the arrogance of youth, the Jevington openers turned the outfield from lowland heath into a bowling green. Runs flowing from the off. Only Morgan Hockley-Jones (Jones-Hockley) somehow escaping with credible figures. After trying to extract himself from affairs after just two overs, Lord Sponge was forced back into the action by his team mates as he was the bowler who looked likely to penetrate, his six an over economy rate proving credible in the circumstances.

Now no season is complete without a mention of the Oldest Swinger, the legend of the Field, the Dave of dutiful calling, that ever present thread that links Southwick Wanderers to the days of black and white. The snooker player, Steve Davis, was christened ‘Steve Interesting Davis’ by the boys at Spitting Image after his dour demeanour. I refer to our Dave as ‘Dave Re-assuring Field’ simply because when he comes on to bowl in carnage such as this, one senses, even if the result is inevitable, calm will be restored. Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on how quickly you wanted to get the pub, the breakthrough that the catch behind Mr Field drew with the score on 30 only hastened the end of the game. For striding to the wicket came a hungover man intent on finishing things off as quickly as possible. And thus he did. The surname of Blackburn duly ammended to Blackbeard as he wielded his bat like an angry sword condemning Wanderers hopes to the plank.

And so a crushing 9 wicket defeat it was to be.

As the ground was cleared, rubbish collected, and the pavilion lock turned for the final time this season, much of the team headed for the yonder pub with talk of yesteryears heroic exploits, near misses, could have beens, might have beens, weren’t but should have beens, tall stories from distant tours afar, and the memories that bind us all together.

And so another season has drawn to a close, and I’ve been here for just the last two weeks of it. But therein lies the most revealing truth, one never leaves the Wanderers, we just go Wanderering. But like the prodigal sons and daughters we return to find the same welcome and the spirit undaunted. A club that sticks to it’s social pricipals despite that constant pressure to change, and a club that still makes me feel proud every time I see that badge that Leigh Mayhew and I designed all those years ago.

Roll on next May.

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