Report Below. Photos courtesy of Clive Hawthorn
|Venue||St James Montefoire|
|Result||Southwick Wanderers won by 1 wicket|
Has something happened in the last week ? Folk do seem a bit tetchy. Neighbour arguing with neighbour, doom and gloom, the beginning of the end. We can’t have that in the middle of June. This calls for a game of Cricket me thinks. The perfect unifier for the disparate tribes among us.
And so we did.
As it happens, the wallowing in political consequences was all that seemed available to the Wanderers at the back end of last week. The original fixture with Rustington had been called off due to the opposition’s shortage of numbers. As Lukey scratched his head, and the SWCC faithful pondered their lack of excuses for not giving attention to pending housework, an invitation appeared from our close friends and allies, Brunswick Village, to join their annual Charity match in aid of the splendid Macmillan Cancer Support. Even The Author set aside his festering reserve about the twenty over format and pledged to join the fun- albeit from a safe distance.
The rolling ground of St James Montefiore is the regular venue for this annual jolly. Set beneath the Downs just west of Ditchling, it is a place of serenity tucked away from the sprawling metropolis beyond the hills. The ground has two pitches (formerly three- the third now an allotment which now cars park on almost lost in the undergrowth). The Pavilion is a large and traditional affair and the main pitch is well tended with a crisp and nearly carpet like outfield. Unlike Plumpton, a firmly struck straight drive will save your legs the strain. Something Wanderers batsman must have found most alien. The wicket is firm and plays well too.
So such a pleasant scene would demand a most pleasing event. There was to be no disappointment. An earlier match had been played between a team from Boots and the Brunswick crew. In the grounds of the Pavilion stalls had been set up to sell various goods and bespoke foods. The smell of barbecued food nestled deliciously upon everyone’s noses as some of ladies present worked hard to feed the ample gathering. Many a raffle prize also laid enticingly for the ticket sellers to bring tales of potential good fortune and, failing that, the endorsement of good cause. A splendid English affair. And so was the cricket.
A strong Wanderers line up won the toss thanks to captain Gwyllim. Once again, the opening statement of match affairs tells you that Lukey has taken the afternoon off. Brunswick Village were then sent in to bat. Given Wanderers strength on the afternoon, a cheeky attempt was made to suggest that the match should double up for the, as yet unplayed, annual Chris Neal Memorial Trophy. Mr Funnell was not having it. Fairly so for a match of short notice, but it would be a shame if it misses out this year.
What ensued was as clinical a display from the Wanderers as we have seen all year. At no stage did Brunswick look like getting to far ahead from the blocks. Able and focussed fielding was the order of the day. The first wicket fell on 7, predictably to a Baker brother combo, spinner Joe opening up from the northern end. The Baker’s have now taken ten catches between them already this season. Prashant came to party early too with a couple of wickets in his three over spell. Whilst the scoring rate had seemed fairly steady wickets were going to be an issue. At the end of the sixth over Brunswick found themselves 39-4. The promising Waqas having been thwarted in his free flowing stroke play by a catch from Johno in the deep.
Old stalwart Jez Stevens and batsman Green steadied the ship. During the period these two were together Brunswick were picking off singles and two’s on a fairly regular basis, but the boundaries had dried up. Only one was to be scored from the remaining 14 overs, a maximum from Asanga later on. It was felt that 120 would be a good score, but with Jez falling at 68, and Jamie Funnell being uncharacteristically contained at his crease, and then lbw to the accurate arm of The Slaymaker, shortly afterwards, 68-6 after 13 overs meant potential trouble.
Failing to se up the overs was to eventually prove Brunswick’s downfall. Apart from a brief and promising Cameo from Asanga that ended in a needless run out, the bottom order struggled to fire. The Wanderers outfielders had taken seven catches. The old adage that ‘catches win matches’ being certainly true of this clash.
|Blackman (D)||c||Baker||b||Baker (J)||1|
|Blackman (M)||b||Meshran (P)||7|
|Waqas||c||Johnson (M)||b||Meshran (P)||11|
|Hyde (J)||c||Wheatley (M)||b||Baker (J)||9|
|Stevens (J)||c||Meshran (P)||b||Slaymaker (P)||13|
|Green (D)||c||Wilson (J)||b||Wheatley (M)||16|
|Funnell (J)||lbw||b||Slaymaker (P)||0|
|Penney (N)||c||Meshran (P)||b||Wheatley (M)||2|
|Burton (C)||c||Johnson (M)||b||Wilson (J)||0|
|Total||All Out||(18.2 Overs)||93|
|Fall Of Wickets||7,22,34,39,68,68,75,84,90,93|
Jordan and debutant, Max Wheatley, strode to the crease after a quick turnaround. Max had been brought to the fray by Jordan as a new Wanderers recruit. And without talent he is not. A steady spell of his accurate medium pace, off a short run up, had yielded two wickets for eight runs. Added to that was a fine and nonchalant catch. Max’s bowling had suggested that he was actually playing within himself, however his batting didn’t.
The opening pair took the Brunswick bowling to the sword. Max, particularly powerful through the offside, caused a rare overshadowing of Jordan. The target of 94 looking like a comfortable breeze for a ten over affair, let alone one of twenty. Thirty runs came from the first three overs and Wanderers were cruising home. This was, however, to be a quickly interrupted stroll as house rules intervened.
Quite fairly in these matches, to ensure that as many folk get a game as possible, a batsman retires once reaching 25- able to return later. This happened rather quickly in Max’s case. Wanderers had a strong batting line up as said, but a calamity was to ensue, as a simplified target became an intense job of work. 38-0 in the fourth over became 45-2 after six. Jordan fell to a catch off bowler Barnes and Adrian Butcher to a first ball lbw off fellow opener Burton. Suddenly things seemed a bit less straightforward. Noaksey, totally destructive last week, fell for 4 (naturally a boundary) and Johno, equally as destructive in his prime, barely troubled the scoring table. When Anthony Higgs, who appeared to be the ships anchor at this point, fell to a rare straight delivery from an unusually errant Jamie Funnell, Wanderers found themselves waning at 52-5 in the eleventh over. The all too frequent batting calamities of the past, clearly miffed by the parade of boundaries from our opening pair, had returned to ply their trade.
What had become equally as calamitous, and to Wanderers advantage, had been the parade of extras that had been added to the total. Most through wides. Wanderers themselves had been no angels, offering 25 free runs to the Brunswick line up in the first innings. But the nineteen wides in the second innings were to prove pivotal. The late order huffed and puffed as the boundaries once again dried up. Yet a stand of 29 for the sixth wicket between Baker Joe and Gwyllim (twelve off the bat between them) had moved us closer. Both fell within a run of each other though, to the steady bowling of Penney and the (not so quick these days but very accurate) bowling of Jez Stevens. At 82-7, with two overs remaining, everything held in the balance for an exciting finish.
Seven crucial runs were added in penultimate over off Jez, with Peter Slaymaker being bowled in the process. 89-8. The last over made the call, five runs needed to win with Prash facing and only the returning Wheatley left. Prash fell to the first ball, his gate broken by a straight delivery from Bowler Penney. It doesn’t get closer than this. Max came back to the crease and another helpful wide eased the tension. A quickly run two and a single meant that Baker Wil found himself at the strikers end with three balls remaining and one run needed. This was not forthcoming for the first two as he was pinned back in his crease. The field came in with one run needed off the last delivery. It was like a Lords cup final of yesteryear. Memories of Derbyshire v Northamptonshire in the Nat West Final of 1981 came flooding back to me. But mostly to me, as a lot of players on show are not old enough to remember….
Wil struck out at Penney’s last delivery, a seemingly miss-timed pull, or perhaps a hopeful slog. Didn’t matter, he needed to get through the field and get down the other end. Comfortably he did so as the ball swept out into a vacant area of the offside field. So Wanderers had scored a victory in a tight and memorable match, played in splendid spirit befitting the occasion.
As folk gathered back in the pavilion in the dimming light and sprinkling summer rain it was agreed that this event had proved to be yet another success. Wanderers have often turned up to show their support after previous nearby matches that had run on the same day. A lot of credit should go to the able organisers who had given up their time to raise money for a much needed cause. The cricket was a most suitable sideshow to the greater good. The raffle was drawn and Wanderers players must have thought that the charitable gods had turned the tide on the match as a number of tickets seemed to miss out by a single number. But it didn’t matter.
A big thank you to Brunswick Village for coming to our rescue with this kind invitation.
|Wilson (J)||c||Blackman (M)||b||Barnes (G)||12|
|Butcher (A)||lbw||b||Burton (C)||0|
|Noakes (D)||c||Waqas||b||Burton (C)||4|
|Higgs (A)||b||Funnell (J)||7|
|Baker (J)||c||Hyde (J)||b||Penney (N)||5|
|Jones (G)||b||Stevens (J)||7|
|Meshran (P)||b||Penney (N)||4|
|Slaymaker (P)||b||Stevens (J)||2|
|Fall Of Wickets||38,38,47,51,52,81,82,85,89|