Greys Day As Wanderers Wilt.. SWCC v Greys 10.08.2020

 

Annotation 2020-08-11 025004

As much as an eager village cricketer will turn their eyes to the pending weather forecast as early as the Monday preceding, sunny weather doesn’t always bring a whoop of inner joy. Well, seemingly not in the last few decades. Seasoned turf treaders will know that looking at the forecast too early is a sign for false hope, a bit like the fixture announcements of a pending football season. Looking too late can simply be a recipe of depressive resignation. This is made more obsessive by 24-hour weather stations and phone apps. When I was young we just used the window.

The weather of the last few days has been rather oppressive, with nights uncomfortable- especially in a country most unprepared for such climatic madness. Although perhaps 95-degree heat is very ‘meh’ these days. Even some of the media seem a little lethargic about it all. Yesterday, if anyone noticed, would have been among the hottest days Wanderers have played in during a match in England and at least on a par with many abroad. The trains might get stopped if the lines buckled, but yesterday’s match saw the wrong type of something else as Wanderers took the field after a strong first innings showing. Chasing a ball around an open country green is no fun in these conditions, so Wanderers seem little uninclined to do that after a while. There’s no blame there. Especially from those in the relative shade who even themselves must have wondered if it was all worth it.

Gemma went for the toss at the start, Luke seemingly manacled during this ceremony like Cacofonix at another of Asterix victory feasts. The result was a correct call and Wanderers went into bat. Gwyllim, the Obelix of the gaggle, strode to the wicket with Will and by the time a duodenary of runs had been passed both were back in the shade. Oft in the past, and perhaps a few times in the present, such consecutive losses would normally spell a hellish doom. Not so yesterday. In fact, the first knockings of the afternoon saw three fifty partnerships. As much as the sand timer seems to quicken at the swift opening of Wanderers lid there are a few times when a solid clump can clog the filter. Yesterday this came in different styles and aesthetics. If Wanderers batting is to be compared to a sand timer then Alum Bay must surely be its origin.

From 12-2, the third wicket partnership yielded 59 runs, Chris and Teflon Noakes representing the recovery charge. Obviously, Mr Noakes knew that such a response was needed before the sledge of not even being the best player in his family cloaks him in thoughts of spectatorship with Pimms and a cigar. Although such a thought may well have been yesterday’s preferred option regardless. Before the readers mind moves effortlessly on to thoughts of a gentle stroll to an impressive target, there was a Weeblesque mid-order wobble. Teflon failed to stick around further, and whether Gems and Scyther Styles decided the sun was too strong for hanging out in the open, or their sun cream had been forgotten in the choice of sandwich conundrum, they beelined for the air-conditioned Binary Club and Wanderers were 82-5.

Chris was Joined by Jeff at the dusty crease. Jeff, if reading this, will be pleased to see his name spelt correctly at last and now adjusted in the stats. Not that his cricketing acumen needs such adjustment. A further 64 was added. The WhatsApp reports of 107-5 at one stage gave rise of thoughts to those far from the action that exposure to the August cauldron would not wilt Wanderers for as long as anticipated, but this was, upon the dismissal of Chris, prolonged further as Ant decided to get in on the balmy action once Chris has left the crease for a fine 77. His 20 formed part of another 50 stand with Jeff and Wanderers finished on 207-5. The Burger King nearby was given custom again yesterday and a tea as unorthodox as the mid-order rally was had.

SWCC

Once stomachs were filled, and wilted bodies resurrected, Wanderers took to the field as the day remained sultry, Jeff and Lord Sponge firing the opening salvos with the vector of disease. After an opening partnership of 34, opener Brasker fell to a fine catch from Chris. A stiff target had been set and Greys were keen to build a carefully constructed response with new batsman Meek playing both the anchor and cannon. Thus, it proved.

Wanderers, having carved the blade so well, were never out of the game in the first half of second knockings, but the bowling, again forgivably, lacked any real penetration. Given that the neglected wicket was throwing up its usual incendiaries this would be all the more disappointing. Gwyllim seemed to hit the deck firmly and one wonders, as said before, if he should treat his bowling capabilities as much as his splendid batting is afforded. With 2-19 he was the pick of the Wanderers bunch. At 82-3 Wanderers were still favourites.

Much credit needs to be given here to batsman Meek. Clearly an evergreen cricketing stalwart, his tempered innings provided the backbone of the Greys response. Both a firm striker and accomplished nudger, the total kept ticking over and accelerating. A stand of 76 with batsman Ashton was only broken when Teflon Noakes took a catch standing up to one of Keith’s snow droppers (catch pictured below).

But beyond this there was very little to write home about, unless you are capable of making a thousand words out of ten as indeed these reports are. Chris, a splendid find with ball and bat, looked sharp although a bit baffled about how to bowl with the wicket’s inconsistencies and perhaps within himself due to its volatile nature. Keith’s legendary skyers brought ice down from the melting realms of the atmosphere and, as ever, the sight of The Oldest Swinger in Town further warmed any cricketer hoping for esteemed longevity in their playing days. Dave talks of playing at the centenary in 7 years’ time. One can only feel that this is likely even if others are floundering before. Greys arrived home with six wickets remaining and just over three overs in hand.

As wearing as the day must have proved for some, spirits were still high, and a number ventured off to the pub for the cooling nectar. It was the princess’s birthday weekend so such occasion must be marked. Defeat soon forgotten; social normality was restored. Well, kind of, but the new normal, if you get my drift. But the new normal could become most adaptable if the middle order does it’s thing like today on a regular basis.

Greys

A Draw !- Remember Those ?- SWCC v Brighton & Hove Crescent 02.08.2020

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The Wanderers tour of the local grounds continued with a trip to the outskirts of town and the Horsdean pitch at Patcham. Horsdean is a quite a pleasant place for a match, possibly the best of the circuit Brighton venues. Ample in size and set to the north of the suburb, just below the by-pass, it could easily be missed for someone not local and non-cricketing. It has been home to the established Brighton & Hove Crescent for some time. For Brighton, the wicket always seems relatively well kept too.

A very regular Wanderers side won the toss (Lloyd takes a bow) and decided to bat first on a breezy and pleasant August afternoon. Openers Wilson and Barber resuming their partnership, or rivalry, and adding 42 for the process. Much of their conflabs in the middle of wicket doubtless discussing the fine delineation of descriptions for bowler speeds. Was he quick or rapid ?  One wonders if the budget will extend to a speed gun this winter.

Lloyd and Teflon Noakes did little to trouble the scorers once the openers had gone and the partnership of the innings was left to the Big Bear and slasher Styles. 64 was added to steer away from potential batting calamity and the total looked like it might be heading for safety as it reached 136. Once Peter had departed, Gwyllim continued to anchor the innings, the last four wickets yielded 52, and Wanderers finished their innings on 188-8. Gwyllim finished on 68 not out, Wanderers first fifty of the season. The highlights section of the averages finally has an entrant.

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B

Who needs the old teas back ?

Historically, Brighton & Hove Crescent traditionally bring the curtain down on the season and, these days, in unusual fashion- better put, some traditionalists would describe ‘proper’ fashion. Although 80 overs were the limit, all three results were allowable. For those who don’t remember, a draw can be a result in a cricketing match if a target is not reached and ten wickets were not taken. A prospect of much bewilderment to most folk under 30 or foreign visitors who have been introduced to Test match cricket. It may be that Mr Noakes had some explaining to do in the car on the way home.

Talking of the Noakes cricketing academy, young Alice opened the bowling with the Oldest Swinger in Town. This provoked online discussion about the biggest age gap running between a pair of bowlers in SWCC history. At 59 years, an uneducated statistical neck can safely be stuck out when assuming that this is highly likely to be the winner. And accounts talk of a splendid showing from the Noakes stable, including a wicket and the second tidiest economy of the afternoon. A Wanderers ladies’ team ? The Sunday side might wish to keep things as they are if this continues. ‘Alice in Wanderers Land’ has gone into the corny cricketing library to be headlined at a later date…

The BHCC line up nearly all had starts, and given the nature of the match the breaks could be applied at any time. 188 never looked in any danger as a reachable target but Wanderers had to work for their wickets. Lloyd picked up most of the top order with 3-35, but it was tough to build up a head of steam. The fifth wicket fell in the 23rd over which meant, with 15 left, an outright win was always going to be a tough ask.

The under-rated Gwyllim turned his arm, Ant had a bowl, and Will found his way back to the oche. Eventually sharing four wickets between them in the process, there had been hope on Wanderers side as two wickets were needed for victory when the last five overs arrived. But like the days of 70s, when matches of huge deficits resulted in draws, there was to be no last hurrah as the tenth wicket fell. The Crescent held on and hands were shaken, or rather acknowledging nods exchanged, and the match was agreed upon as a draw…

…. or a winning draw, as we used to say to our colleagues on a Monday morning.

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Once We’ve Found It.. SWCC v Poynings 29.07.2020

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A nice evening sojourn to Poynings then. A pleasant ground that, surprisingly, some haven’t played on and others even less known of. Some might not have even got there as the seductive lady on Google Maps sent them down the lane opposite into the deepest countryside. There is a horror film in there somewhere- although some might argue that Wanderers calamities provide quite enough gore. ‘’I might be gone some time’’, says the confident Wanderers batting saviour. You know what happens next….

Wanderers lost the toss, which is less of a hammer horror and more of a pantomime these days. Poynings chose to bat and a steady stream of contributions down the order led to a healthy total on a bouncy, and perhaps a tad dangerous in the wrong light, artificial wicket. The Wanderers bowling was shared around. The Big Bear, upon The Author’s appearance, spoke gleefully of his 3 wickets for 15 runs. Gwyllim has always been a capable bowler when he has the opportunity- although one would consider he doesn’t see it as a serious part of his game.

In clear weather and a cooling evening breeze Poynings found their way to 147.

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The light remained good for the second innings. Playing 10 overs from one end then the other is a clever way of keeping things ticking over. At Poynings they have another rule, as arbitrary as they often are, that a wide results in two runs and no extra ball. On the face of it, this seems like another sensible plan. Not perhaps, though, when a team’s run rate needs to eclipse 12 an over- as Wanderers were at when a young lad was struggling to keep things in the tramlines.

It wouldn’t have mattered though. Against some very pacey, occasionally erratic and, given the amplified bounce of the wicket, rather testing early bowling, it never looked like Wanderers would meet the demands of over 7 an over. There were a few batting highlights. Some lovely biffs from top scorer Teflon Noakes who copped a nasty one on his, thankfully, helmeted bonce and a lovely drive into the cow field at a low full toss from Will.

Poynings were strong in the field and knew the terrain. The final response of 103-7 fell well short but again folk had enjoyed the evening, chalked off a new ground, and found pleasant company. The last of the 20 over matches have been played and thus we return to the Lord’s Day. And we’ll all be praying before the toss…

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Wanderers Win In The Weald… SWCC v Mayfield 26.07.2020

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Wanderers journeyed north today to the resplendent High Weald and its splendiferous Mayfield cricket ground, Wish Park and Hove Rec looking from behind with forlorn resignation.

A 30 over bash starting early at 12.30 suggested that some may have hoped to catch the action of the Premier League’s conclusion, or at least the events unfolding in the Test match. The Author, thinking to make the journey, decided against arriving mid-afternoon due to the potential for a short match and nearly an hour’s travel time (certainly at his speed). Such a decision proved wise as the match failed to go a full distance, even with a few ‘beer’ overs added once the victory total had been passed.

And victory fell to Wanderers.

Mayfield won the toss and batted. In customary fashion the overs were shared among the Wanderers numbers. From 58-2, and after Lloyd’s opening brace, Mayfield struggled to make fluent progress. Young Edward took his first club wicket, Noodle added a couple of his own, and Master Hyde finished off the tail end in Bothamesque fashion. The home team’s total of 104 was looking doubtful against what was a strong batting line up today.

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Thus it proved, and the victory margin may have been wider and the much shorter had Lord Sponge not determined, as usual, to give everyone an opportunity to enjoy the play.

Noakes snr and Noakes jnr opened the batting. The first time a father/son combination have opened the batting since- perhaps someone can answer that ?

Teflon Noakes swotted 24, although at one stage Wanderers found themselves tottering at 33-4. No need for concern however. Cometh the hour, cometh a new player for this term. Chris Barrett made 41 even outstripping the flashing blade of Mr Styles who contributed 11 to a 46 run partnership. With Jamie joining him for final knockings, Wanderers arrived home in 20th over with five wickets in hand.

A pleasant victory and another fine example of involving everyone in the match. On to Poynings mid-week and more lovely Sussex scenery. Is there anything better ?

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Few Alternatives…. SWCC v Alternatives 22.07.2020

Feature image: Catherine Noakes

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Wanderers continued their 20 over schedule at Wish Park last night with a defeat to the Alternatives on a splendid July evening.

Wish Park is another one of those grounds of convenience that has been so warmly thought of over the years that it has earned that affectionate name ‘dog turd alley’. Over those years, however, some may be inclined to reconcile the crudeness of the descriptive with the performances of the team rather than the state of the ground…..

Alternatives won the toss and batted first, a must for these matches. Three players reached double figures with a half century for one. Wanderers, ever to the credit of inclusiveness, used ten bowlers. The ever-returning Nathan Smith picking up two wickets along with Kieran Nevill, whose clan of siblings numbered three in last night’s match. An elevated from footnotes mention to young Edward Noakes who joined in the fun and was not at all embarrassed in his own two over spell at adult level, unlike some of the adults were at theirs. The Alternatives total of 160 was always going to be a hard ask.

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Generally, Wanderers struggled in their response with new batsman Jethro top scoring with 35. Jamie Hyde and Kieran contributed a few lusty blows but the Binary Club donation buckets were out in force again with another five contributions taking the seasonal tally to 19 in just four matches. Lord Sponge managed to avoid his donation with a five not out but did manage to run out Edward which has not failed to make dispatches.

Still, these evening matches are there to be enjoyed and it would seem that this goal is being achieved. A contrary venue awaits at Mayfield awaits on Sunday. Hopefully the weather will hold.

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Back To Berrylands.. SWCC v Yellow Stumps 19.07.2020

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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.

 

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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.

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The Binary Party Continues- SWCC v Zambuca Tigers 15.07.2020

Off to another venue of dreams for the first twenty over game of this brief summer. The Author played one of his first matches in 1989 at this venue and no-one lost serotonin at its prospect.

This, however, is a ‘needs must’ summer and twenty over bashes are best when local. With the light drawing in during the second innings it became clear that, outside of a 15-day window either side of solstice, these matches can struggle with 6pm starts in anything other than clear conditions- especially when the sight screen is a large oak tree. The use of the pink ball brought a smug look to The Author’s face having suffered ridicule at such a suggestion many years back. Now I know how Jimmy Hill must have felt at times.

We see a lot of the Tigers each summer and the reasons are clear. They’re a friendly bunch. All ages, all talents and a nice warmth about the way they play the game. The match kicked off with Wanderers winning the toss (Draft note- May need confirmation on that) and unsurprisingly batting.

The runs flowed steadily throughout the innings with three 25 retirements. Good stuff for the averages but not for the scorer. Tyler Nevill, The Big Bear and Mr Styles being the asterisked personnel. Will elegantly stroked a fluent 24 and Johno went scything wheat in his usual way.

There were four further additions to the Wanderers binary club of 2020 bringing the total to nine in the first two matches.  A plump score of 165 looked good for prospects.

Annotation 2020-07-17 174528

Thus, it proved. The usual merry-go-round of bowlers in place made the game entertaining as ever and a few unlikely wicket takers meant the bowling list looks as fun as the batting at present. Mr Styles pooped the binary party with two, Mr Noakes taking a single to have more wickets than runs at present. His earlier duck being conveniently blamed on the arrival of the missus although the family being within a 25-mile radius of the ground is certainly a handicap for superstitious miss-fortune.

Tigers made a game of it and, although not looking to threaten Wanderers healthy total, fell only 14 short at the end.

Once again cricket was the winner and the plethora of availabilities suggests that Wanderers have an unusual problem at present with players having to stand down. A problem that, perhaps, is a fortunate one at present.

Annotation 2020-07-17 174740

Old Habits, New Normal- SWCC v Worthing 12.07.2020

‘Social distancing’ is a horrible concept, even more a very odd phrase, and when the 2019 season closed such a happening would have never been considered a norm. Yet throughout this year we have rather got used it, and on Sunday Wanderers took to taking things a little further when distancing their bats from straight deliveries and their fielding hands from the ball.

The opening match of this season was to be had in balmy July weather at the Preston Park cycle track, a convenient venue rather than a plumb choice for the lover of cricketing aesthetics. But needs must, and folk were desperate to play, even if their keenness had caused a mild amnesia where the tactical complexities of one’s game are concerned.

Of course, the viewing of this match was more of a chore for The Author, not because of the need for a scorer (the shiny new scorebook had proved the perfect bait) but because of his own senior moment in forgetting to bring his tea. The diet may have received a boost but the culinary memory of a cricketing event is worth a paragraph alone. Even the match reports have only returned in a half-hearted way as a result.

But some things will always stay with us. Like Luke losing the toss. Once the coin had been tossed with gay abandon and the wrong call made everybody knew that cricket was back. Wanderers were sent into bat, it was a 35 over bash, and we back on track. Well, kind of.

Jordan and The Big Bear strode to the wicket like a pair of boxing heavyweights ready to do some serious damage. A confident swagger and a look of preparation for a run fest. It may be best left at that point as it was downhill from thereon in. The first over began, the familiar chatter gently swirling at the boundaries edge, and Jordan looked in turmoil from the opening ball. Nature decided to throw the towel in early as the fifth delivery of the first bout rumbled his wickets. There was a run on the board, the saving grace of a wide, and no first ball dismissal. Small crumbs. Lloyd barely had his pads on so The Author told him not to worry. Perhaps timing out may have been a saving grace, although Lloyd did his best to shake off the cobwebs with a combative approach.

Thankfully, the famous opening disaster at Littleworth in 2016 was surpassed with ease though. The second wicket stand producing almost as many runs as the entire innings of that mad afternoon in West Sussex. With the score looking like a shaping 34 Lloyd has a rush of blood and chases bowler Rusbridge down the wicket. He’s sharply stumped and the second wicket falls. No problem, he’s shown some promise, it’s the first match, and proud father Will Barber is making his way to the wicket to show his new born the field that may become his own in years to come. The Big Bear is digging in and, although not as fluent as usual, is building an innings. It could be a long introductory afternoon for the scorers’ pencil. Or not. 22 runs are added, Will with a lone boundary but seemingly out of sorts, then another wicket falls. Uncomfortable from the off, Will becomes bowler Wood’s first victim. There envelopes a feeling in The Author’s senses that a sharpener may be needed. I’m not wrong. It may be 56-2, but an uncomfortable feeling of short proceedings is in the air. And thus, it was.

The Wanderers tail is long, and given the rustiness that the delayed season has crusted upon the group, it’s giraffe long, and the time it takes to scythe through is shorter than the appendage of a Manx cat…. Anxious bats are left flailing at the high summer air, padded legs greet the straight delivery forgetting their wooden advance party, catches are gratefully and comfortably held. As the vector of disease becomes the sphere of calamity, It’s a rout.  Seven wickets fall for 18 runs with five batsmen making 0 or 1. The score book looks like an old programmer’s log with its binary sequences.

Fixturev Worthing 
Date12.07.2020
VenuePreston Park, Brighton
Type35 Overs
TossWorthing 
ResultWorthing  won by 5 Wickets

 

Annotation 2020-07-15 134653

So, Wanderers take to the field for the first time this season. Happy steps. Whatever happens it isn’t likely to be a long stint. There was, however, early promise. Lukey opened the bowling from the north end and Lloyd from the south. A competent looking two who didn’t appear much shackled by the long layoff. Apart from a couple of boundaries the openers begin in tentative fashion. With the score on 12 the first wicket in 10 months falls, and it’s the man Crathern who bowls batsman Rusbridge. How delightful to see the bails spilled and the celebratory grunts of the fielders. Jordan provides ample coverage behind the stumps and stands up to Luke. At 21 this is rewarded with a sharp stumping of the other tottering opener. When a third wicket falls on 26 in the first over of the 50th season from the oldest swinger in town, there is hope on our side. After all, would not one expect the opposition to have the same rustiness ? We’ve done this before. There is a game a brewing here.

Yet Unlike Wanderers on this occasion, the Worthing have a primed middle order. A steady stand develops between the two young incumbents. The oldest swinger gets swung by this embryonic pairing although debutante Hemmings stays steady at the south end. With little runs to play with the stand proves costly and when Geoff takes his first wicket with the score on 62, a catch at the wicket by safe hands Jordan, Wanderers have all been a bit dilatory. Ant and Phil are given a chance to turn their arms over, Ant joining the four bowlers already on most wickets taken for the season- one- with the first outfield catch of the season going to Will Barber. The Gents ease home with half their line up intact.

The playing season hasn’t so much started with a bang as a squeaky fart.  There is little fanfare but more a sense of contentment that finally our favourite summer pastime is a part of our lives again. The new normal is now the normal. Some things remain though. Unfounded hope, middle order collapses, missed opportunities and comedic calamity. What also remains is a good bunch of folks enjoying themselves on a Sunday and making each other’s lives much richer for the experience. Bugger the result, it’s good to have that back.

Annotation 2020-07-15 154902

Return To The Hundred Acre Wood…

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So that watery yellow circle of summer’s faded dreams lowered west, and another day of September’s teasing warmth ebbed away, as if conducted to a close by an invisible orchestra, a silent symphony of colour, the conductor slowing the baton as night crept in. The ever decreasing heathland sat calmly in the distance as Pooh and Piglet made a sauntering path home.

Who was Man of the Match ?’ asked Piglet

I don’t know, they always forget to award it’ replied a frustrated Pooh.

Shall we just say it was Gwyllim ?- he always seems to win it’ Piglet replied

Let’s just give it to Cricket’ Pooh offered ..’There is precious little of it left this year’.

And indeed there is. One alien to these shores might query as to why- for as Wanderers made the journey to the north of the shire, and Pooh’s Hundred Acre Wood, September had began a beautiful delusion of climatic wonder.

Hartfield is the main village in the parish of the same name. Set in a backdrop of rolling forest and protected heathland the area offers revolving and varied countryside aesthetics. One can’t help thinking the South Downs, and the coastal resorts of Sussex, stay smug that few seem to evangelise upon its beauty. Perhaps, in some ways, the local residents are thankful for this- except, naturally, the local pub which was not as full as one might expect for summer’s dying fling.

The cricket ground is in the centre of this linear village. It trebles function as the football ground and recreation park. If Wanderers have played here before then it must have been some time ago. In the north of the county there are still some hidden gems of cricketing paradise to discover. Another one was chalked off today.

Lord Sponge has been a veritable Eeyore where the toss is concerned. Perhaps with a little justification. To win the toss on a day as clear and warm as this is to bat. But Wanderers bowled. No, a Paine like lunacy did not afflict our much loved captain- he simply called it wrong again. I’m sure if Lukey was asked when he last won two tosses in a row his reply would be same as a quote from the hapless Eeyore- ‘Days, weeks, months…who knows ?’

The pitch at times was slow and low. At times it also had more bounce than Tigger. Being situated on the sandstone and clays of the High Weald often affords the opportunity to forge a batsman’s paradise. But, like many wickets, time and investment is needed. It’s also late summer so the square was clearly lacking freshness. Wanderer’s bowling attack would not traditionally be regarded as quick so vagaries in the track would not normally be seen as a major concern. Nonetheless, the advantage of batting first is somewhat neutered by them.

So Hartfield opened up a 35 over bash.

The Author was unfortunate to miss the opening hour or so of this event. For there was a little drama to speak of. Not much, but a little.

They’re funny things, accidents. You never have them till you’re having them.’ said Eeyore

It is certain that Lloyd would subscribe to this theory for it was reported, with much mirth, that despite a dry outfield there is a stream running beneath the barren grass on the south side of the pitch. And, being prone to such miss-haps, the effervescent Crathern managed to familiarise himself with this during an courageous fielding exploit. Yet there was nothing wet about him otherwise as two catches and three wickets were testament to. Perhaps Piglet was wrong about the Man of the Match award.

With an even spread of contributions, Hartfield foraged and blustered, swung and swotted their way to 184, Brunsdon and Gazina both falling short of fifties. This may have been because our Joe had given them complementary copies of his new book- ‘Jug Avoidance’.

Hartfield SWCC
Simpson Run Out (Waymark) 8 Waymark 7 0 21 0
Turner c Crathern b Smith (L) 21 Smith (L) 7 0 20 1
Brunsdon c Crathern b Field 46 Field 7 0 42 2
Saunders Run Out (Baker J) 6 Baker (J) 7 1 33 0
Brown b Crathern 28 Crathern 4 0 21 3
Marjorman c Jones b Field 0 Walker 3 0 28 0
Gazina c Noakes (w/k) b Crathern 42
Akhtar Not Out 8
Horner c Noakes (w/k) b Crathern 0
Exhal Not Out 5
Fulham DNB
Extras 21
Total 8 Wickets 184

After tea aplenty, and with the sunshine still warm, Wanderers began their reply. Our dear crock Styles had knackered many anatomical parts during the preceding couple of hours. So there was a changing of guard. Christopher Robin had to go to Buckingham Palace on his own as Alice had been roped in to bat if needed.

Now, it’s not apparent if Gman, The Big Bear, had been told that Heffalumps had been seen near the village, but he was certainly a bit hasty in wanting to get things done.

A thumping seventy one runs were hoisted from the first ten overs. And, as much as the running between the wickets was more Eeyore than Rabbit, there was an element of redundancy in the need for singles. On a ground with the boundaries such as Hartfield one senses that the public liability insurance may not be cheap. An opening stand of 100 came to end only when, as fluent and notable as the crashing arm of the Big Bear would allow, Will Barber’s innings ended when stumped for an anchorman’s 22.

One might forgive the opposition for thinking that, when dismissing Gman for 82 (4×6, 7×4) with the score at 125, the carnage might just stop there. But Teflon Noakes and Lloyd continued to trouble the scorers pencils.

It must be said that run rate slowed down with the introduction of bowlers Simpson and Sanders. Certainly Simpson’s return at two and over, and the wicket of Will, made the match seem closer. But Lloyd and Teflon Noakes both struck handsome thirties and never looked unduly troubled. Noaksey, not inclined to sprint as much these days, thumped seven fours in the process.

Having been set a target at five runs an over plus Wanderers came home to Pooh Corner with four of them to spare. Wickets had been as rare as Woozles and a comfortable victory had resulted.

A word for our hosts. Their welcome was as warm and appealing as the ground. Hartfield no longer play Saturday cricket and it is no surprise to see so many home matches in their Sunday fixture list. Wanderers would certainly like to return next season if the opportunity affords itself- and if Gman could stop putting the entire structure of the village at risk with his mammoth hitting.

The team retired to the splendid Anchor Inn for much jollity and lamenting of the season’s pending climax. And what a splendid summer it has been.

SWCC Hartfield
Jones b Exall 82 Exall 7 0 41 1
Barber St w/k b Simpson 22 Horner 5 0 52 0
Crathern Not Out 36 Simpson 7 1 15 1
Noakes Not Out 35 Sanders 7 1 32 0
Waymark Gazina 5 0 36 0
Manvell
Baker
Walker
Smith (L)
Styles
Field
Extras 11
Total 185
FOW 100, 125

Southwick Wanderers Cricket Averages 2018

Played 20
Won 6
Drawn 1
Lost 13

 

BATTING                
8 INNINGS + APP INN RUN NO AVE HS 100 50
Barber W 16 16 515 1 34.33 100 1 2
Jones G 19 19 501 1 27.83 101 1 2
Crathern L 11 11 281 0 25.55 64   2
Noakes D 11 11 197 2 21.89 53   1
Baker J 13 12 156 3 17.33 40    
Smith L 16 11 112 3 14.00 37    
Walker A 16 14 86 3 7.82 25    
Slaymaker P 8 8 25 0 3.13 13    
Field D 14 9 5 6 1.67 3    
                 
                 
OTHER                
Tounge R 2 2 63 0 31.50 48    
Wilson J 4 4 123 0 30.75 61   1
Hyde J 2 2 52 0 26.00 32    
Funnell J 2 2 43 0 21.50 43    
Styles P 3 3 50 0 16.67 39    
Nevill T 2 2 32 0 16.00 23    
Mehta G 1 1 14 0 14.00 14    
Nevill K 3 3 27 1 13.50 21    
Vallance P 2 2 13 1 13.00 12    
Warren T 2 1 13 0 13.00 13    
Livingstone H 3 3 34 0 11.33 16    
Wadey D 6 5 39 1 9.75 18    
Preston A 5 5 28 2 9.33 8    
Johnson M 6 5 37 1 9.25 22    
Butcher M 2 2 17 0 8.50 10    
Waymark A 2 2 8 1 8.00 8    
Smith N 3 2 14 0 7.00 14    
Mohammed U 1 1 6 0 6.00 6    
Hughes H 1 1 6 0 6.00 6    
Rainsbridge P 1 1 5 0 5.00 5    
Prince Punnoose 1 1 5 0 5.00 5    
Hawthorn C 1 1 5 0 5.00 5    
Currin S 2 2 8 0 4.00 4    
Meshram P 4 4 11 1 3.67 6    
Ward P 2 2 7 0 3.50 5    
Manvell G 6 5 12 1 3.00 6    
Fennell I 6 5 12 1 3.00 5    
Barrs K 3 3 6 1 3.00 4    
Patel D 1 1 2 0 2.00 2    
Preston Adeline 1 1 2 0 2.00 2    
Hughes J 1 1 2 0 2.00 2    
Feroz Khan 1 1 1 0 1.00 1    
Pengelly S 1 1 0 0 0.00 0    
                 
                 
NOT OUT                
Tourle J 1 1 28 1   28    
Anand Sawat 1 1 26 1   26    
Noakes A 2 1 0 0   0    
Tom (Guest) 1 1 0 0   0    
Dockwra A 1 1 0 0   0    
                 
                 
BOWLING                
40 OVERS + O M R W Ave RR    
Smith L 96.3 12 378 17 22.24 3.92    
Slaymaker P 56.0 7 223 10 22.30 3.98    
Baker J 58.4 7 337 10 33.70 5.74    
Walker A 48.1 1 306 7 43.71 6.35    
Field D 90.0 11 359 8 44.88 3.99    
                 
                 
OTHER                
Fennell I 2.0 0 3 1 3.00 1.50    
Penny N 5.2 0 17 4 4.25 3.19    
Neville K 13 4 22 4 5.50 1.69    
Warren T 8.0 2 33 3 11.00 4.13    
Neville T 7.0 1 25 2 12.50 3.57    
Smith N 12.1 1 39 3 13.00 3.21    
Rusbridge P 4.0 0 26 2 13.00 6.50    
Tourle J 2.0 0 13 1 13.00 6.50    
Jones G 33 2 138 10 13.80 4.18    
Wilson J 13.0 3 72 4 18.00 5.54    
Johnson M 4.2 0 19 1 19.00 4.39    
Crathern L 39.0 1 186 8 23.25 4.77    
Waymark A 9.0 0 52 2 26.00 5.78    
Barber W 7.0 0 58 2 28.50 8.28    
Meshram P 28 6 119 4 29.75 4.25    
Wadey D 15.0 1 69 2 34.50 4.60    
Barrs K 10.0 0 64 1 64.00 6.40    
Preston A 8.0 0 87 1 87.00 10.88    
Styles P 20.0 0 119 1 119.00 5.95    
Hughes H 9.0 2 29 0   3.22    
Patel D 6.0 0 32 0   5.33    
Funnell J 6.0 0 37 0   6.17    
Tounge R 4.2 0 36 0   8.30    
Pengelly S 4.0 0 13 0   3.25    
Mohammed U 4.0 0 16 0   4.00    
Butcher M 4.0 0 26 0   6.50    
Ward P 3.0 0 24 0   8.00    
Prince Punnoose 2.0 0 18 0   9.00    
Khan F 2.0 0 22 0   11.00    
Hawthorn C 2.0 0 40 0   20.00    
Anand Sawat 2.0 0 18 0   9.00    
Hyde J 1.0 0 8 0   8.00    
                 
                 
   
CATCHES                
ALL Total Out Wk St        
Barber W 5 5            
Noakes D 5 2 3 1        
Crathern L 4 4            
Jones G 4 4            
Smith L 4 4            
Vallance P 4 0 4          
Johnson M 3 0 3          
Unclaimed 3 3            
Baker J 2 2            
Wilson J 2 2            
Butcher M 1 1            
Fennell I 1 1            
Funnell J 1 1            
Hyde J 1 1            
Manvell G 1 1            
Mehta G 1 1            
Nevill K 1 1            
Nevill T 1 1            
Slaymaker P 1 1            
Tounge R 1 1            
Tourle J 1 1            
Warren T 1 1            
Waymark A 1 1            
                 
  49              
                 
                 
APPEARANCES                
                 
Jones G 19              
Barber W 16              
Smith L 16              
Walker A 16              
Field D 14              
Baker J 13              
Crathern L 11              
Noakes D 11              
Slaymaker P 8              
Fennell I 6              
Johnson M 6              
Manvell G 6              
Wadey D 6              
Preston A 5              
Meshram P 4              
Wilson J 4              
Barrs K 3              
Livingstone H 3              
Nevill K 3              
Smith N 3              
Styles P 3              
Butcher M 2              
Currin S 2              
Funnell J 2              
Hyde J 2              
Nevill T 2              
Noakes A 2              
Tounge R 2              
Vallance P 2              
Ward P 2              
Warren T 2              
Waymark A 2              
Anand Sawat 1              
Dockwra A 1              
Feroz Khan 1              
Hawthorn C 1              
Hughes H 1              
Hughes J 1              
Mehta G 1              
Mohammed U 1              
Patel D 1              
Pengelly S 1              
Penny N 1              
Preston Adeline 1              
Prince Punnoose 1              
Rainsbridge P 1              
Tom (Guest) 1              
Tourle J 1              
Ward E 1