Plumpton. I wonder what Wanderers, old and new, think when they hear that word. Warm summer Sunday’s in the belly of the Downs ? Happy festivals of yesteryear ? Well, perhaps those who wait a few more weeks before making and match commitments might find it easier to think that way. For at the moment Plumpton is synonymous with soft soil, a vandalised pavilion and a bracing southwesterly.
A hastily arranged weekend working party had done its best to patch up the poorly hutch. It was functional- which is a huge credit to their work given the lengths idle youths had gone to ruin its internal countenance. The pitch also looked like some effort had been made for it to appear as a passable wicket, but, as most folk will be aware, the chalky southern soils take longer to recover what the wet and cold of winter- thus Plumpton held a look of a host greeting guests who had turned up three weeks early for a dinner party.
Lord Sponge won the toss and put the opposition for a 40 overs a side affair- Wanderers being blessed with a full eleven for this week’s encounter.
Scorecard and report below:
|Fixture||v Polegate & Stone Cross|
|Venue||Plumpton Agricultural College|
|Result||Polegate & Stone Cross won by 38 runs|
|Polegate & Stone Cross|
|Hover||c||Smith (L)||b||Smith (L)||8|
|Saracouli (B)||c||Butcher (A)||b||Field||4|
|Total||(All Out)||30.2 Overs||129|
|Fall Of Wickets||20,25,27,54,75,76,91,104,122|
|Jones (G)||c||b||Hover (N)||40|
|Butcher (A)||c||b||Hover (N)||6|
|Total||(All Out)||36.2 Overs||91|
|Fall Of Wickets||10,26,63,67,73,74,76,85,91,91|
So another defeat, but certainly a match.
In early, and late, season the wicket plays like a ploughed field. Like a biscuit left out the tin for too long. What little bounce is slow and inconsistent. For as long as Wanderers have been playing there this has been the case. Yet few batsmen, except perhaps Noaksey, with his sweepingly low balance of gravity, have mastered it regularly when it fashions it excesses. With an outfield resembling a field of half cut long grass-actually that’s what it was- the crispest of eye co-ordinated drives became good shots for nowt. Certainly though, it was the same for both sides.
The Polegate innings, apart from watchful and attritional batting in the mid order, never really got going in a threatening way. Although 130 was about par for the course. Wanderers bowling was quite wasteful at times, yielding 33 extras of which nearly all were wides. There is much potential in the bowling line up though. Daniel Wadey continues to improve an arm that has become more steady, if the run-up a little short, Luke continues to fashion perfect out swingers, although his back will not hold for long on such grubby ground, and DJ Dave continues to be the consistent old swinger he will ever be. Talk of retirement is merely talk. We hope so anyway.
A debut for the clearly seasoned, although rusty from many years away from the game, Wil Baker, showed signs of much promise. Blessed with a natural, and surprisingly untrained action-not unlike that of Paul Jarvis-Wil showed signs of a bowler who can extract bounce and pace of most wickets (not here mind). His erratic start was increasingly punctured by increasing confidence and direction. The delivery to dismiss the steady and threatening Saunders was my pick of the day. A Yorker that spread the stumps. Hopefully this isn’t the last we see of him.
Only five batsmen reached double figures all afternoon- extras being the highest scorer in first innings and, had it not been for the Big Saffer Bear, the second also. It was generally felt that a good innings from Gwyllim was needed for Wanderers fragile line up to run close. Some powerful strokes, including the shot of the afternoon, a beautiful off-drive that sped in arrogant disdain over the long grass, took him to 40. His powerful arms compensating for heavy use of the tow of the bat. Some batsman took the aerial route in frustration today and occasionally it worked.
Once again though Wanderers were unable to fashion a thorough reply without the reliance on a single hero carrying the day. Perhaps some of this is all too increasingly self-inflicted with some shots showing a lack of concentration and respect for the conditions-if ever the conditions deserved that. Butcher snr, although making few runs, had the most focused and stoic air in his approach.
With nine of Wanderers batsman failing to reach double figures the result was inevitable. But the match didn’t feel like a failure in context. One senses that a bit of focus and application will bring a turn in fortune for the weeks to come.
Lessons to be learnt.