The cold winds abated, the eternal Downs puffed their grassy chest in a display self indulgent bravado, and jumpers were gleefully discarded on this most glorious of late spring Plumpton Sunday’s. Even the wicket seemed to have had an attempt at putting on its Sunday best (attempt- noun: an effort to achieve or complete a difficult task or action).
Apart from that not much changed.
As twenty three folk of happy countenance gathered, and the author took to the scorebook and the cider rather than face a hot afternoon in the field, it seemed that the Wanderers playing prowess was about to turn the corner. Preston Park won the toss and elected to have a hit- and after nine overs one might have been forgiven for thinking that the BBC online had been printing the wrong scorecard. For, in this 40 over contest, the opposition found themselves at 8-4.
Who was responsible for this almighty turn of fortune ? What Knight of Valour had taken Fennell’s place in the line up. Well, as much as young Warnett may have proved a more useful deputy, it was the dear old wicket and some pretty tight bowling from our Daniel (four opening overs producing stunning accuracy and two wickets for no runs) and Luke (a steady five overs for seven runs), which set this unassailable position in motion. ‘Unassailable’, though, is a totally fitting description except for it being totally inaccurate. As talk of beer matches and low innings totals past could be heard in humorous mutterings from the boundary edge, a clutch of club wielding giants from the Preston Park middle order prepared themselves to assault the Wanderers second string. And it was thus.
As far as the eighteenth over the Preston Park innings was still on life support. At 44-5 there was still potential for early orders. Master Wadey had been withdraw and Luke had, as usual, been harsher on himself. The slow, or rather stop, outfield had necessitated batsman to take an aerial route and such personnel were required. DJ Dave had been relatively tight in his spell and although Will Baker had struggled with his line at times his best deliveries were again the best of the day. The problem was the regular hitters of the lower order meeting Wanderers most irregular bowlers. The first twenty over had produced a total of 57-5, the last twenty another 115 for the same amount.
Batsman Khan, at number eight, affectionately known as ‘Khanage’, had lived up to his name. Arriving at 81-6, and with the anchoring but equally powerful Kasnif from number three (who was given an unfortunate let off through a spilled catch early on), this Pakistani colossus plundered 52 of the next 63 runs- eventually falling eagle eyed to a long-hop from Lee. Once Lord Sponge had taken a steepler at long-on and Lee’s throw, combined with Dan’s deft footwork, had polished off the ten and eleven opposition batsman of the day, Preston Park had found their way to 172 on the last ball. It was always asking too much. The sideline consensus had been that on a slow and low wicket, the Plumpton hallmark, 100 may well have proved enough. It did- and some.
|Total||All Out||(40 Overs)||172|
|Fall Of Wickets||3,7,7,7,44,81,144,147,168,172|
The Noakes family provided tea most ample. This included personalised cakes with team initials. All ate and had their fill. The chocolate doughnuts proving too much of a temptation for the authors faltering diet…
I’ve often said that, as bizarre as it seems, forcing a weak batting line up to take the first innings is a way to improve players focus and concentration. As much as this wasn’t an option yesterday, it should certainly be a consideration. A large chasing total can result in a sub consciously resigned approach. A target that is no longer achievable can do little to improve a batsman’s approach. A bit like a mid-table football team with nothing to play for. As has become all too predictable this pattern of thought was soon realised by the tenth over. In the same way as the opposition has faltered so had the Wanderers. At 10-4 there was no way back.
Batsman Khan was equally destructive as a bowler. Master Wilson had his leg stump disturbed in the first over to an in swinging Yorker. Will Barber equally struggled to offer resistance. In fairness, though, this was an exceptionally talented bowler with a high and powerful arm. The man Higgs had hung around in a promising show of resistance, Noaksey was somewhat frustrated out as a collection of high elbow drives had farted there way across the Plumpton outfield rather than sweetly gliding to the boundary as they would have done elsewhere. Anthony was the only top order batsman to reach double figures and as 10-4 became 24-6 the opposition relented and tamed the attack.
Fortunately for Wanderers, the last few overs had much humour and were played in beer match spirit. Some of the new bowlers were having trouble completing their overs- the author even avoiding some wide calls in one over as it took an embarrassing stay. Mr Slaymaker struck a few lusty blows, and Luke, in at a too low ten, top scored with 17. Dave Field was the not out batsman (that’s a cut and paste these days…). Thanks to opposition generosity the score petered out at 71.
Not good, but what is good ? Wanderers have a bowling attack with much potential. But Sunday is about giving everyone a go. The batting is a little overwhelmed at times, but that will change. A comment was made about not enjoying such one-sided affairs, but I called it to question. During 1997 the Wanderers second eleven went until the final match without winning. But we loved our cricket. As much as Wanderers need some ability, and this will come as people are given the right coaching and encouragement, they also need to see the Sunday affair for what it is. And they do. That’s why when so many other clubs have folded Wanderers have continued when they should have gone. I said it two years ago, and I’ll say it again, Wanderers special spirit and welcoming attitude is the heart of the club- and long may it remain….
|Fall Of Wickets||0,3,4,9,22,24,30,30,37,71|
Now what was ‘the best seat in the house’ ?
Here it is:
A splendid effort by Johnno, and worthy of much acclaim. Most comfortable too. A good reason for no-one to feel the need to avoid scoring duties. The old Gun & Moore Autograph has a sixties look about it. Perhaps it was the very bat DJ Dave opened that day, or even played his legendary 26 not out from in the late 70s. The downside is that we may have carved up an Ebay bounty there….
|Venue||Plumpton Agricultural College|
|Result||Preston Park won by 101 runs|