|Venue||Plumpton Agricultural College|
After an evening of celebration at the Wanderers first wedding in a while, one may have been concerned at the state of some of the Plumpton incumbents for this week’s fixture. As it happens, the early rain was cause for most concern. Perhaps we are not growing older quite so disgracefully..
With the local Downs covered in eerie mist, after a damp morning, one felt for our Lukey as he bought the French sticks and other munchies for the afternoon tea. We shouldn’t have worried. Dry weather seemed to freeze itself over the hallowed turf for the duration. Only after the match did rain threaten to set in. Even then, seeing as proceedings had finished, it gave up the ghost and saved its worst for another time. Lukey lost the toss (cut and paste) and Wanderers were sent in to bat as players belatedly found their way to the ground. A timed match, the true Sunday format, was agreed upon, and another splendid Plumpton afternoon made its way from the traps.
Lord Sponge joined Master Wilson at the crease to open the account, Luke making 6 before falling to a miss-timed pull back to bowler Thompson with the score on 17. Yet Wanderers had once again started with cause to be confident in the line up of batting. It was merely a question if as many as possible could fire this week. What ensued meant that, beyond number three, there need have been no great concern.
Wil Barber joined Jordan at the crease for an early, and match defining, stand. In a period lasting just under twenty overs, and a scoring rate that befitted a shortened form of the game, the two ran up 139 (the scorebook was actually recording stands this week), and rarely looked in trouble. The stand was the first century of this year, and the second highest in the last two (Wil being involved in the 153 at Hammerwood on the same weekend last year). In a partnership of contrasts, Wil took twenty scoring strokes to bring up his first boundary, a six; Jordan took two to bring up his- a similar maximum. The anchor role suited Wil fine as Jordan, on the back of a series of Sunday batting fluffs, took charge. Wil eventually departed for 37 with the score on 156. Wanderers had moved in to pretty safe territory.
Talk of Jordan retiring at his ton was put on hold, memories of St Peter’s chasing down a large total at the cycle track perhaps still fresh. Such conservatism proved justified as the remaining batting folded with a relative whimper, as Jordan continued to wield the club. With the score having crossed the 200 mark Jordan safely retired, protecting his average with talk of cramp. Certainly the haste which he made his way to the tea table suggests that the cause of his departure may have been a grumbling stomach, certainly enough to hurt him, but having tucked into the opposition bowling for most of the afternoon it may well have been gormandised. His innings contained six maximums and fourteen fours.
The opposition used an array of bowlers, as is the Sunday tradition- the pick of which was opener Thompson with 3-52 over a couple of spells. A feature of the afternoon, with the wicket being nearer to the woods, was the constant despatch from the blade into the undergrowth. Wanderers had only just forked out for a new batch of balls at a tenner apiece and regular forays went to find the hapless cork. As the innings finished on 213-8 many a stinging hand made its way to the tea table.
|Total||(8 Wickets)||(40 Overs)||213|
|Fall Of Wickets||17,156,163,179,180,207,209,213,213|
Wil Baker opened up from the Downs End and seemed to struggle with his length again. This is most frustrating for an old bowler as the author is- the frustration amplified when one notices what clear ability and talent Wil has. As I stood in a relatively quiet fielding position I sensed that Wil’s pace might not be his greatest asset, but that his strongest arrow, though not currently showing, is his ability to put the ball on a length. A shortened run up and a focus on a steady and fluent action (which is more apparent in Wil than any other Wanderers bowler I’ve seen in a while) may take some pace of his delivery but supplement his accuracy. A major wicket haul is not far off once things fall into place.
Talking of such happenings, once DJ Dave had removed batsman O’Brien to Wanderers first catch at the stumps this year, Mr Slaymaker was introduced to the attack. Peter had bowled a tidy spell in the disappointing affair at St Peter’s, and I had pondered as to his omission from the attack since. Peter is someone who has clearly bowled many an over in his cricketing life. He is an old fashioned English donkey (not the pejorative term, but one that describes a bowler of burden able to carry attacks without spectacular return). Coming in off a few paces he thudded the ball on to a generally tidy length. Plumpton is made for such an old campaigner. It always looked as though wickets would come. From Point I sensed a five wicket haul, if our Pete had the energy to twist and turn at the stumps for long enough, was definitely on. I wasn’t disappointed, although it would have been six had I not been analysing the game too much and taken a straightforward catch…
Yes, Peter took the first Wanderers five wicket haul this year (there were none last) as he made his way through the Umpires mid order. Only opener Pearce, with a seasoned innings full of strong punches through the offside and safe pulls, offered resistance with an innings of 24 that would have been more on a shorter outfield. Hackney hadn’t reached 100 and a fight for survival had set in. Great Sunday stuff.
Wanderers introduced other options as the twenty overs were arriving. Jo Baker came in from the Racecourse End. His flighted spin was a tad expensive but nonetheless produced a sense that a wicket was always coming. Joe can turn a ball nicely and could easily become a steady Wanderers spinning option for some time to come. More Barry Hawkins than Nathan Smith, with a hasty flight, Jo will always run the risk of a tonking- but equally he could be more than a partnership breaker and most likely a match winner on more than a few occasions.
Time ran out in this fixture though. A steady 25 from Hackney’s player of the match, Thompson at seven, and 18 from the evergreen number nine Langridge, held up Wanderers drive to the finishing line. On completion of the last over the Umpires were 124-8. They had batted out an attritional draw. Wil Barber tried a few donkey drops and Luke bowled a couple of tidy overs. Jordan picked up a wicket near the close.
Oh, and talking of our man…..
The Baker brothers, who seem to have monopolised catches this year with their most capable hands, took three of the four taken on the day. As the match slowly concluded, Batsman Thompson was seen to pull a short pitch from Mr Slaymaker in the direction of deepish mid-wicket. Converging on the ball was both Joe and Jordan. Joe called and took a fine catch when a collision looked like the bookies favourite. This ended the top scorers resistance. In celebration the ball was thrown into the air. As Jordan looked around himself, suggesting someone may have yelled that there were sandwiches left over, the ball dropped squarely on his bonce. Appearing injured there was concern for the big man’s welfare. This turned to relief at him rising- then much jollity and mirth at his expense.
The speeches at the annual dinner are already getting longer…
|Vearl||c||Baker (J)||b||Slaymaker (P)||8|
|Thompson||c||Baker (J)||b||Slaymaker (P)||25|