As much as some cricket seasons, especially those that run deep into September, are less likely to end with a big bang and more a silent fart, Wanderers batting renaissance continued today to the point that some might be asking whether the resulting demands for a continued programme of cricket will mean that we have breakfast between innings as the tired watery sun of autumn is asked to wearily preside over the extended season. Certainly, a match in the first week of October is not beyond the remit of reason- if only to restore justice to the historic AGM’s of that month which produced sun lit afternoons of wistful memory and yearnings for those extra runs or wickets that would have bridged the gap between average and genius-and secured that coveted award…
On the subject of awards and accolades, some folk are very protective of their averages. As a bowler The Author was little bothered by this, but batsman are rather prickly creatures-, as this journal will reveal.
Wanderers lost the toss, as predictable as the seasons. I was wondering if someone could write a line for this statement each week Luke is captain as I am getting rather bored of it. Apparently he won the toss at Preston Nomads although my eyes of doubt were passed over the scorebook that afternoon. I arrived late and was not there to witness this miracle. One wonders if we were playing at Lourdes. That wasn’t that funny, no, but if any of you have been subject to DJ Dave’s jokes in recent time it will have felt that way. Rudgwick asked us to bat.
What ensued was not so much a day of apple indulgence, for those who read last year’s report, more flashing blades blowing raspberries at a tame attack. The much-feared youngster who troubled Wanderers previously was absent from the line up and little was forced upon any tired late season technique. In fact, ‘tired’ is not a fitting description of Wanderers top order at this time. Something of a renaissance has occurred and it is pondered that the first five these days would be a decent consideration when compared to any other of the last quarter century. Perhaps Yogi Whitehead, Martin Malpass, Barry Hawkins and Pappy Preston could contest any claims to the crown, but certainly no top order has accumulated heavy runs as such a rapid rate as this one. Today was no different.
Wanderers once again passed the 200 mark with ease. At present, until the long winter nights are completed, there is no official records, or collated references to official records, that can show if the first four wickets producing 50 partnerships is a modern record. I suspect it is. We saw this today and a joyful sight it was. The Big Bear continued from whence he finished last week with a fluent 59. Will Barber, the most concentrated and technically correct of the crop, made 51. David Noakes, for whom slower and lower wickets are made with his low centre of gravity when striking from the middle, made 52. Master Wilson, overcoming his fear of perennial opposition guest, Keith Barrs, made 50 in his own inimitable style (or is imitable at Wanderers these days). Some well-worn colloquials have disappeared in recent times when describing a Wanderers knock. The score ended at 241-3, although with Mr Higgs and Naidu having been dismissed during this period one might ask how this was possible. Well…
The magnanimous gesture of retiring by Mr Barber and Mr Noakes had allowed others a hit. A debate was had about whether such sacrifice should constitute a ‘not out’. The rules are clear…
MCC Rule 2:
(b) If a batsman retires for any reason other than as in (a) above (EDIT: Unavoidable cause), he may resume his innings only with the consent of the opposing captain. If for any reason he does not resume his innings it is to be recorded as ‘Retired – out’.
Attempts to allow not outs have led to the secretary over ruling the captain here but no one is going to fall out over this. What is most important is that Wanderers players have been willing to selflessly give others a chance, as is expected, and secondly that we have actually found ourselves in this strange position in the first place. How times have changed…..
|4||Noakes (D)||Retired Out||52|
|5||Wilson (J)||Not Out||50|
|7||Johnson (M)||Not Out||10|
|Fall Of Wickets||50, 102, 157, 213, 220|
Declaring fifteen minutes early, Wanderers gave themselves a bounty of time to chip away at a 10-man opposition. But Rudgwick’s batting provided a far sterner test than their bowling. Well, that statement isn’t entirely true. The opening batsman provided most of the test.
On a cool and cloudy evening, Wanderers huffed and puffed for eighteen overs against and established pair of Page and Ross, a left hand and right hand combination of evergreen villager and young and well-coached aspirer. Apart from one spill neither looked in any discomfort. Only the occasional vagaries of a springy and over used pitch might cause any danger. Both batsman steadily accumulated runs, the younger Ross playing some cracking drives and Page proving particularly accomplished off the legs. An hour and a quarter in, and almost on the stroke of twenty overs, Johno held Page off Raunak. Too late, perhaps, but a calamitous middle order, a throwback to Wanderers of the near past, did their best to keep things interesting.
Baker Will and The Slaymaker had made way to Raunak and Jordan. The pitch, although suited to a bowler such as Peter in form, had not been used as well as we would like. Jordan, although essentially a part time bowler, has years of the line and length principle hammered into his cricketing soul. To Raunak such a concept comes naturally also. For a few overs things went tame but, whether through frustration or not, the middle order then lost the plot against this measured attack. Seven wickets were to fall in a period of just seven overs. Even Wanderers in the troubled years of the blade, would have baulked at such an event. A glance at the home scorebook suggested that it was hurried, but not unique. With Raunak and Jordy both on four wickets there were seven overs and one batsman to despatch.
Batsman Driver, an appropriate name, at number nine, decided to attack the bowling but also employ frustrating defence. Batsman Callaghan simply employed frustrating defence. Lord Sponge, correctly, decided that a change in attack might bring new and dangerous initiatives to the batsman’s mindset. Despite some close calls against the newly employed Gywillim and Sponge, the batsmen held out for the draw. At close of play Wanderers had cause to be disappointed, but the position they found themselves in was not one of their own creating. At times the team have been further away from victory and more deserving.
So as the ripe old apples sat in the huge crate again and local rogues hid in the bushes in an attempt to scrump in fading light and avoid the hangman’s noose, the season came nearer to its close. Talk of AGM’s, dinners, Christmas and next year’s nets filled the cooling dusk. Each then went unto his, or hers, home and prepared for the falling leaves. There is another week to go though, or is it two ? Who knows ? The season never really ends does it ?
|1||Page (D)||c||Johnson (M)||b||Naidu (R)||39|
|2||Ross (J)||lbw||Naidu (R)||58|
|3||Page (J)||c||Slaymaker (P)||b||Wilson (J)||2|
|4||Faithful (M)||c||Baker||b||Wilson (J)||0|
|5||Hutchins (D)||c||Wilson (J)||b||Naidu (R)||8|
|6||Brogan (T)||b||Wilson (J)||0|
|7||Caygill (T)||b||Naidu (R)||1|
|8||Barrs (K)||c||Johnson (M)||b||Wilson (J)||0|
|9||Driver (J)||Not Out||28|
|10||Callaghan (J)||Not Out||3|
|Fall Of Wickets||83 103 103 111 112 112 114 118|