There are a multitude of tasks that the AGM’s of the many Sussex Cricket clubs will hand out over the next couple of months to members, both willing and not. The task of Gear Secretary at Wanderers was always a subject of much mirth for a protracted number of years. Mr Noakes being the pitiful victim of nominations and a flurry of seconding hands, whether he was in agreement or not. However, the easiest task of all has to be that of Jevington Fixture Secretary who, in his own words, is “fighting them off” when it comes to away match requests from other teams. We all know why. The half time offering in the tea hut in this splendid country location is known countywide. And probably a few miles beyond. It was just as well today, for the offerings either side of that, certainly from Wanderers perspective, were sour in taste and most unappetising.
The Sunday weather had once again made great sacrifice in clearing its decks for an afternoon of the delusion that September likes to bring of abundant summer and hazy days to come. An idealic setting, surrounded by rolling fields and green pastures, Jevington Cricket Ground is a humble yet aesthetically pleasing field. Less than five miles from the Seven Sisters Country Park, it would always supply a suitable rest for any cricketing hiker, especially one who prefers a packed lunch, or a deceptive sortie into the tea hut, to the customary exorbitance in the pricing of the fare by the regional pubs.
After the gathered party discussed the missing two runs from Johno’s innings total last week, and were unable to locate them anywhere in the Wanderers packing, Luke won the toss and put our strong batting to the most immediate test. Master Wilson and the evergreen Martin Malpass strode to the hallowed 22 yards, the scorers agreeing that comparisons to Boycott and Tavare would be most unlikely in the evening press assessment of events.
Master Wilson clearly remembered the unusual affair at Amberley in which he pummelled 41 of the first 43 runs, and set off to set to repeat this happening with 14 off the first over. One would assume that his role had been to be bat for the whole team, for what followed was an affair that kept the scorers newly arthritic hands in much pain for a short while afterwards.
But, before bearing news of a depressing and familiar kind regarding the Wanderers batting prowess, let us ponder the acumen of the Hollingdean Sandwich Incinerator himself. Today young Jordan was in fine fettle, with crashing front foot drives, wholesome pulls, and a rate of accumulation that would look to distress many a bowling attack in any conditions. Certainly on a pitch that, in common with many others during this sodden Sunday summer, lacked pace, bounce, and basically anything that would ease the trials of batting against a varied attack. His 48 was the highest Wanderers offering of the afternoon, which is of no surprise, as it formed just over half of the eventual Wanderers total of 95, Mr Extras adding 17 to his face saving run total of the season- a much valued member who need pay no subscription.
So, having relieved you, dear reader, of the patterns of our demise, and loaded your bad news upfront, a summary of the batting failures of the afternoon is still in order. Readers of a nervous disposition should jump two paragraphs now…
There were more ducks than Queens Park pond after a frenzied orgy of procreation in the Anatidae family of birds. Well, four in total. Lord Sponge, Teflon Noakes, young George and Rapper Wadey the victims. The first wicket had fallen at 31, and from then on the path to and from the pavilion became a well-worn track. Messrs Malpass, Jones and Fennell are not excused from poor notes in despatches, managing 7 runs between them.
Whilst the bowling of the day had been of testing quality at times, a failure to watch the ball off the pitch and questionable footwork had led to hasty exits. The Big Saffer Bear is noticeably out of sorts at the moment and needs a lucky break. Luke was probably due a fail at some point, and at least Mr Noakes provided some merriment to the scribes having been correctly documented in the annals as being caught by A.Fielder… Johno, having put off learning the art of defence for another season, reached the heady heights of 10.
A flickering highlight of this distressing affair was a Prestonesque 12 from Sam who, having faced the last ball of an over, advanced to ask Mr F Jnr whether he now needed to walk to the other end to face the first delivery of the next. A mocking response proved highly unnecessary as such a course of action could perhaps have saved Wanderers from further embarrassment.
Dave Field was 1 not out at the close. But you probably guessed that, didn’t you ?
Tea: Southwick Wanderers 95 (Wilson 48 Preston (S) 12, Fielder (R ) 3-26)
Yes, tea. More warranting of Shakespearean fillips, and Bennetesque observations than the previous shenanigans. Jevington, not shy in their presentation of this ecstatic provision, have a hut set aside at the east end of the ground for the religious observation that the spread warrants. Upon entry, one is greeted by the smell off the school canteen, although the offering is of far more inviting quality. First the baked potatoes lovingly prepared and wrapped in silver foil. A two-cheese selection, including the grated kind, sits close like a necessary accomplice. Past the bread rolls, and pate, quiche and coleslaw then awaits your eager advance. A heap of tantalising small prawns just asks for your indulgence. The smell of baked beans wafts across the wooden retreat for those who wish to top their ample plate. For those who consider themselves to have space left for sweet afters (Jordan) a wide selection of cakes and biscuits awaits after the next corner. Then the short totter outside leads to the plastic chairs which are neatly ordered, waiting for your settling and frenzied consumption of the delicacies.
The long walk back to the players hut has an appearance of a carefully crafted and most splendid example of engineering. For once you have eaten and had your fill a degree of exercise is needed, especially for those opening the next scene of play. Nine of the Jevington batsman could have stayed and had seconds. You know what is coming…….
It was clear from the opening over, sent enthusiastically down by our Dan, and the crisply struck four off the first ball, that our opposition were in no mood for hanging around. The gremlins of the pitch were neutralised by the swift-footed operations of the Jevington opening pair, Page and Shaw. Certainly, these youngster belonged, and clearly played, at a higher level. Full deliveries were despatched with the sweetness of the front foot drive. Watchful cutting sent the shorter deliveries square. Even a firm block would be met with a wicket-to-wicket scamper. Wanderers were simply facing a foe with a more able arsenal.
Young Wadey was disillusioned by his three overs for 30, but in fairness, this was no ordinary pairing. Mr F Snr bowled a tight line, only really falling to the swashbuckling blade in his last over. With the 50 being brought up by the end of the fourth over, Wanderers were afforded little consolation. The introduction of Gwyllim and Jordan failed to stem the tide, and Jevington arrived home in the eleventh over with all their wickets in tact.
Close: 96-0 (Shaw (J) 54* Page (S) 28*) Jevington won by ten wickets
A ten over a side beer match was now the order of the day, ‘A ten over bash’ as it was described, although many would argue that is exactly what we had just witnessed. The match was played with much fun and jollity, orders were reversed and all had to bowl. Young Wadey took the first wicket of the day for Wanderers, although with retirements having been introduced Jevington only lost two in total. Another somewhat more palatable defeat ensued.
Upon retiring to the pub Wanderers spoke of yesteryear as the 1991-1992 score book made an appearance. The days when fearless Field destroyed many a top order with his wily away swingers, and Fennell’s in-swinging yorkers accounted for those who didn’t buckle. It seemed that hardly an innings went by without Preston senior passing the half-century mark. Much talk was had about the need for a fast bowler, although unless a vortex is opened back to the early 90s this may not happen soon. Still, up’s and down’s, win or lose, Wanderers spirit remains indomitable, and hope springs eternal.
Today’s mascot was Junior, equally unsuccessful as others in his mystical role of fortune bringer, but no less endearing.