|Venue||Plumpton Agricultural College|
The sudden proliferation in readers of these reports may be down to fascination with obscure information rather than a worldwide surge in the desire to follow the exploits of our beloved club. For instance, if one desired to find out who the ‘oldest swinger in Southwick’ was, Google’s first column of reference is happy to send you to these pages. Strangely, some of the other regular terms appear absent from the eyes of the search engine spiders. So perhaps we have found the reason at last. A surge of newly cricketing pensioners desperate for a playing inspiration.
As the players trooped off at close of play this Sunday inspiration was not what an eager sexagenarian would have found here. A match that had began in warm pleasant sunshine had finished, a little later than necessary, in poor light and grisly, though moderate precipitation. Wanderers had finished another match on top but unable, despite initial promise, to bowl the advantage home. As has been a familiar pattern of recent times, individual rather than collective performances held the Wanderers back. A kind of karmic reflection of our recent batting performances- perhaps.
Another timed match saw Wanderers win the toss (Lukey obviously standing down this week) and choosing to bat. The wicket is still in wistful awe of spring, being a little soft in places. The outfield appeared shorter, although the more regular boundaries strikes this week were mainly to do with the pitch being on the furthest eastern side of the square. Hunting the thickets was once again a Sunday sideshow.
Due to the late arrival of Wil Barber, Jordan and Noakesy opened the batting. Master Wilson, having retired so unobviously hurt last week, decided to continue from where he left the crusts. Two unfettered boundaries in the first over set the tone of his continuing approach. Initially Noaksey had little of the strike but soon found his naturally rhythm with the blade. His low trajectory yielding a blaze of stroke play through the offside and the customary cat on sparrow pulls to leg. The often-errant early bowling was found plundered unopposed and the 50 came up in only the seventh over.
Chocolate Thunder, a friendly bunch from the Haywards Heath area, are a newly formed team. Such news is as welcome as a summer breeze with the decline in the Sunday game locally. Most of the side have not played regularly for some time and this was perhaps, in competitive terms, a good time to play them. Any rustiness of joint or doubting flex of muscle that forced an errant line or length was punished unashamedly. In the opening exchanges all looked a little miss-matched. But chickens were best left uncounted.
As the openers were withdrawn, and bowler Osbourne was introduced into the attack, Noaksey continued to bat most unperturbed. However, both Jordan and Mr Barber fell victim his thrust of arm with both seeing their stumps rattled during a five over spell from the Racecourse End. The opening stand had been worth 71 and with Wanderers 92-2 after 13 overs one could have been forgiven for thinking that they had turned up to a twenty over affair.
Despite having capable middle order batsman Wanderers found themselves reliant on our David to continue keep the scoreboard ticking. This was most evident where Baker Joe and The Big Bear only mustered three runs between them yet shared a combined stand of 53 with the rampant Noaksey. A supporting role is not something usually associated with Gwyllim. When Noaksey fell in the 19th over for 84, and the overall total on 145-5, it was like the end of the first scene in a play with an all too hurried plot. As the author strode to the wicket there was still an hour or so to run.
Thunder were determined to make use of their bowlers and give folk a chance. Osbourne was the pick off the crop- although thankfully he failed to cut through the tail end resilience in the way one would have expected. The worst shot of the day, though, has to be awarded to Johno- who has accepted in advance. He was bowled by the gentle flight of Digney whilst appearing to slowly turn, bat rigid in hand, as if to politely greet a friend he had identified through the gentle rustling of the front gate. This, of course, left the main gate wide open, and the inoffensive bowling of Mr Digney found its third wicket.
Wanderers last four wickets this week made use of the time available and aided by a generous portions of extras added 50 in significantly more time than the top order. But consolation was all that was requested and Wanderers aim of 200 fell only just short at 196-9. The time had been effectively used with 35 overs bowled. In generous spirit, Chocolate Thunder had used nine bowlers in this process.
|Total||(9 Wickets)||(35 Overs)||196|
|Fall Of Wickets||71,92,121,123,145,145,166,187,187|
As much as our opponents had suggested there was a lack of recent match play amongst themselves there was a feeling that a victory would be no walk in the park. The clouds had rolled in. Cool and darkening at the start, it would later start to rain in an indecisive way. The top order malfunctioned with two wickets falling to our much googled senior statesman, DJ Dave, and one to the impressive and pacey Prashant. At 17-3 it appeared victory was the most likely result in the offing, but resistance was soon to follow.
Young batsman Kerr, at number three, was clearly not a newcomer to the game. Such an initial and surname will bring a smile to the countenance of many a seasoned Wanderers veteran. Jim Kerr, and equally able plyer of the blade, was a legendry name from the Ian Mcleod years. The modern Wanderers trend to have a tinnie both before, during, and after a match would certainly have met with much approval….
As young Kerr offered a stabling, and at times free scoring, influence to the innings so others dug in too. Wickets became harder to extract. Wanderers hopes of taking the full quota became dented as we reached the last twenty overs. A timed match had produced more attritional cricket.
Mr Slaymaker’s introduction to the attack had accounted for the middle order 5-7, although batsman Firs and Brosler had picked off 36 runs between them to hold off the onslaught. Peter’s length wasn’t quite as pinpoint as last week but his wickets contained two LBW’s and one which disturbed the pegs. Baker Wil had struggled again with his direction, although the lower Racecourse End may prove more profitable in time. Still flashes of talent brimmed to the surface with one flowing delivery that beat the bat being amongst the best of the afternoon. It was a low full toss from Peter that threatened to do the most damage though, Kerr top edging it into his mouth. He was forced to retire hurt thus weakening the late orders resistance. Not the sort of victory a fair-minded individual would seek, but then victory wasn’t forthcoming.
As the last few overs arrived, and the sweeping yet light rain kept engulfing the field, the ninth wicket fell to a direct hit from Jordan at cover. Batsman Kerr returned. Having realised that the forty odd runs required were best jettisoned in favour of an admirable draw the shutters were brought down. Baker Joe, The Big Bear, Master Wilson and even Mr Barber had been used to freshen up the attack. Any remnants of pace had been sidelined by the dark and wet conditions. Chocolate Thunder’s rearguard saw the team to safety with one wicket remaining.
So, another pleasant afternoon at the field of dreams- or thwarted expectations. Soured only by the belated rain. The last two matches have produced competitive cricket with Wanderers on the winning side of draws. Like the England team currently at the European Championships, Wanderers have struggled with the final ball that will penetrate the defences of a team with a large group of players committed to staying behind it.
But that’s cricket. And so it should remain.
|Chandegra||c||Slaymaker (P)||b||Field (D)||1|
|Hazell||c||Noakes (D)||b||Field (D)||0|
|Total||(9 Wickets)||(40 Overs)||152|
Chocolate Thunder- team picture.