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Sat 7 June - 2nd XI v Withyham

Posted on 9th June in 2008, 2nds Match Reports

It was every schoolboy’s dream. (No not that one). Like turning up at the Arms Park with your boots, just in case, and being tapped on the shoulder as you go through the turnstile and hearing the Welsh coach say ‘Gareth’s not fit. We’d like you to take his place.’ On the morning of the match against mighty Withyham, the second team’s injury troubles increased. As well as the long term absentees such as Graham (chipped nail varnish), the ever-present superstar David Fletcher was laid low (tangled nasal hairs). And so I got the call. Imagine the sense of wonder I felt as I took the field alongside such legends as Trick (R), Brown (C), Styles (P) and Montgomerie (A). I shall try not to let that affect the objectivity of this report too much.

Beautiful day, beautiful ground. Considering the previous days of rain the wicket was remarkably good. There are however no easy boundaries at Withyham: to one side of the wicket the ground rises quite steeply and there are long boundaries everywhere else.

This week we had a plan of stunning sophistication, which was to score as many runs as possible and then to bowl the opposition out for less. So, batting first, we sent in Paul and Ray to lay a solid foundation to the innings. Scoring proved difficult, partly because of the conditions, partly because of some tight bowling, and partly because of the relative speeds over the ground of the mature batsmen of Shoreham and the youthful fielders of Withyham. (The average age of the Shoreham side was around 47 – remember this number, it was important on the day – whilst Withyham had probably seven players under 16).

One straight drive from Ray, that he maintains was destined for the boundary, struck our umpire’s foot, prompting some amusing discussion on the balcony as to whether Pat represented an obstruction under the laws.

With 20 overs gone the score was only … 47, for the loss of Ray’s wicket. After the break Alex Hoffman and Paul began to play more aggressively and Alex had contributed a valuable 20 out of 98 when he was stumped in the 28th over. Had Jack connected with more of the strokes that he played the match could quickly have been put beyond Withyham’s reach, but he departed after just one over, and this brought Rupert Harris to the crease. Paul went for 30 in the next over and so Montie joined Rupert and they kept the pressure on the field with a lot of good placement and running.

By now, Withyham were trying to find a fifth bowler and the three players that were tried conceded 52 runs in 7 overs, many of these in extras. With the luxury of wickets in hand, we continued to press. Chris, run-a-ball John Beard, and James Asplin all did their bit, and we picked up our second batting point in the final over, finishing on 165 for 8 with Rupert undefeated on 34 – second only to extras, which contributed a massive … 47.

When it came to plotting our bowling strategy and field placements it seemed that all Chris, Ray and Paul lacked was a cauldron to settle comfortably around between overs. Certainly they summoned some magic from Alex, who straight away had Withyham’s opener lbw and then bowled their number 3 in his first over. After a brief recovery by the batsmen Alex also removed the number 4 to leave the score at 24 for 3. Meanwhile, at the other end, Brad bowled an excellent spell conceding just 15 runs from his 9 overs. Despite all this Withyham were always around the required run rate of a fraction over 4.

Montie followed Alex but was withdrawn from the attack after a single over, on the grounds of public safety. At the halfway stage in their innings Withyham were on 94, exactly twice …47, but, crucially they had lost 5 wickets at this stage: 3 to Alex and 2 to Ray. After this they didn’t have the firepower to maintain their challenge and the tail subsided relatively quietly under the pressure of accurate bowling from Ray and Jack, who each picked up 2 of the last 5 wickets. James contributed a more varied spell, but produced enough good stuff to finish with 1 for 21 from 4.

James, Rupert and John all deserve mention for their efforts in the field, even though in John’s case the rewards were not commensurate with the effort or with the personal cost.

Withyham were finally dismissed in the 37th over for a total of 118, which fell short of our score by ….47.

My new sponsors, red stripe, will probably be disappointed that I neither batted nor bowled, but I had a great afternoon and was very touched by the concern shown for me in the field. I wonder how long I shall be able to justify having everyone else do the running to cover me?

After an excellent pint of Harveys we returned to the George to celebrate the second double of the season with the first team. I left at the point where Nick was beginning to move in on one of the prettier tables. Nice legs, but …..

- Wyn

One Response

  1. Psycho says:
    June 12th, 2008 at 7:44 pm

    Great report Wyn but too many Nicks to be so unspecific!!!!!!!