Ah, flaming June. The month when love blossoms, wedding bells ring, summer flowers arrive in full splendour, and most Wanderers fixtures are rained off.
When Worthing’s Gents and the Wanderers crew gathered at the hallowed meadow yesterday it was apparent that June would be offering one fixture at a minimum this year. The sun shone resplendently throughout a long and most pleasant afternoon. A healthy crowd too, made up of wives, girlfriends, little ones and, naturally, the odd canine. The most recent of our four footed mascots, Junior, seemed rather miffed at being displaced by the returning Darwin in the mascot stakes, but when both realised how they cared bugger all for on field matters, and more for running the fields in happy abandon, they had soon made up. A perfect scene was therefore set. Lukey, in fine tradition, lost the toss and Wanderers were sent into the outfield forest to field first.
A game of two halves was an innings of two halves today. Well, an innings of eight ninths and one ninth. Wanderers opened up with two bowlers of a similar combined delineation of age. Young Master Wadey, a mere master before official husband status befalls him, (that is to be another report), and Mr Field snr commenced proceedings in short sleeve warmth. Dan struggled with his length, something he would hope to correct before next weekend’s nuptials, and the Old Master found his better early on. Two early wickets fell, the openers to our Dave- caught one each by the ever-creditable Baker brothers. Then after a solid third wicket stand it was then they who combined to dismiss Mac at number three for 16. Slow and low as usual, the wicket seemed to be indicating a low scoring and industrious affair for both sides.
A pattern was set from the third wicket brotherly combo. Squires, at four, had made 40 from just ten scoring shorts before falling to our recent newcomer Dev Bolwani. The ball being pitched from a fluent and high left arm that married the stumps from the moment it left the hand. As much as batsman made a start the partnerships couldn’t bring profitable finish. With three wickets falling to the looping, and as deceptive as tasty, turners from Rob Black, the last man came to the wicket with 120 looking like a good score and a fair run chase given the vagaries of the Plumpton pitch. Mr Crathern, the initial ‘L’ variety, had come to the crease with other ideas.
The largest last man stand against Wanderers is not recorded in the annals of history. But today would have run pretty close. Our Lloyd, or their Lloyd on this occasion, smote the ball to all parts of this happy setting. His 76 not out included a lot of runs invited but not taken in an attempt to protect his colleague from potential danger. It reminded one a little of the famous Big Daddy tag team specials on World of Sport back in the 70s. One dominant and over bearing colossus bullying the bowling, like H.G Wells’ alien machines smiting every cannon ball the local constabulary of Woking could muster, the other appearing to be opportunity for optimism and hope until his straight bat at the final crucial moment hands the tag to the large looming destroyer. “It’s the bat” claimed Lloyd when various strokes were grudgingly admired. Many a Wanderer will take to Ebay to see if other proto-types are available.
The ninth wicket carnage ended when Lloyd’s loyal partner was cornered and surrendered to Wil Barber’s occasional spin in the last over. His job had been thoroughly accomplished though and no consolation was felt. The Gents had closed on 210-9 and the horse had bolted- for a while anyway.
|Marshall||c||Baker (J)||b||Field (D)||3|
|Crathern (E)||st||Johnson (M)||b||Black (R)||26|
|Oxley||c||Jones (G)||b||Black (R)||1|
|Total||(9 Wickets)||(40 Overs)||210|
|Fall Of Wickets|
As tea was eagerly consumed the expected air of despondency in these situations failed to manifest itself. Perhaps the clotted cream and scones were far too much a distraction for the mind’s pontifications on missed catches and other such soul searching in an innings that didn’t so much get away as fired itself in the ninth wicket’s rocket launcher. All ate and had their fill, the sun continued to shine, and half an hour or so later Jo Baker and Wil Barber, looking very much alike, made their way to the middle.
A run rate of five an over plus was always going to prove a heavy workload –but early progress was made with a first wicket stand of 44 between Jo Baker (is he the oldest or the youngest of the two ?) and Wil Barber (who is sometimes Anthony Higgs in these reports). The first two wickets to fall, being the openers, were within ten runs of each other- an admirable stat for Wanderers of late, as it seems the first and last wickets have often fallen within ten runs of each other. However as The Big Bear strode to the wicket, and began to wield the bat like a scythe cutting through corn, Wanderers were still up with the run rate. Losing Rob Black, who’s stumps were troubled as he looked fair set on 14, and then Wil Baker without troubling the scorers, meant that, at 89-4, for as much as runs were still in free flow against a varied attack impetus was being lost.
Still, the point of fact is that Wanderers had forgotten that batting was essentially avoiding embarrassment and played to potential. When Gwyllim was Oxley’s second victim at 126-5 the match was out of reach in normal circumstance, though such a total could have been a winning score in many a recent time.
In the finest of Sunday traditions, The Gents gave most of their bowlers a run- using nine in total. Johno, who seems to have a love for scoring 40s found himself another opportunity and took it. His keeping had been tidy today and his onslaught against the eclectic attack was brought to a halt by a stumping as swift as the one he had taken for himself earlier. To push the Wanderers as close as possible to the ask Young Wadey swished his blade like a nine iron and in doing so collected his first six for the club. As the 40 overs drew to a close Wanderers had made 190-9, and most unremarkably, Dave Field finished with a ‘not out’. His gentle, single scoring, dab around the corner was a sight to behold.
|Bolwani (D)||b||Crathern (E)||2|
|Fall Of Wickets||44,54,89,91,126,138,162,177,182|
So there it is- a summer afternoon of… sunshine….splendid company, happy canines (eventually) a few tinnies and a cream tea. Club exiles must be booking their flights home. As scorebooks were copied, fences raised, and the pavilion hut tidied, talk was of a day with 400 runs, how we wouldn’t mention Gwyllim’s dropped catch till the annual dinner, upcoming newly weds- and how on earth young Wadey could expect to comfortably fulfil his playing duties next Sunday after his day of matrimony.
Come to think of it, there may be a few others who need to consider the same question…
|Venue||Plumpton Agricultural College|
|Result||Worthing Gents won by 20 runs|