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Chris Savory
Jangled nerves and champagne momentsPDFPrintE-mail
Monday, 14 September 2015 20:56
Written by Chris Savory

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altBeechwood have had their nerves tested on a number of occasions this season. I was dropped for the Plaxtol fixture and had the luxury of filming events as they unfolded there but found myself closer to the action than I'd like to have been for the second Velden game but somehow we scraped over the line on these occasions. Our old friends Broadway CC rocked up on a dry but chilly autumnal afternoon to test our mettle once more and it's always a pleasure to welcome them to Otford. Would they put us through a similarly tense afternoon? We would see...

Tony lost his tossing touch and Beechwood were duly inserted onto the far strip which meant the sheep field boundary was going to take some clearing, especially on the lush green outfield but the far side boundary equally would take some skilful defending. Fraser and Russell opened up for the hosts and found themselves faced with some disciplined bowling from Walsh and Langford junior and the introduction of Mant to the attack literally ground Beechwood to a halt. It was 55-3 when Hamish departed the scene and it would perhaps be fair to say that the top three had rather assisted in their own dismissals, especially in Fraser's case who having looked set but not being given much width couldn't resist chasing a wide one and I mean wide, the point fielder was almost in danger of being assaulted from the resultant shot! Bradley came in and picked up the scoring rate and Mark stayed with him for a while but Mr. Mant was bowling maiden after maiden and Walsh was still looked threatening from the top end so when these two departed leaving Beechwood on 66-5 there was some doubt as to whether Beechwood could reach three figures but fortunately those old reliables, Ian McCrae and the skipper were able to double Beechwood's score from here without further drama. Not a huge total by any means but pretty much the same as England could muster on the day so could Beechwood defend their total better than the National side did?

Broadway opened with Lloyd and Jaiswal and after a couple of calling issues Beechwood may have sensed a run-out could be on so both batsmen may feel aggrieved that they soon fell to being bowled around their pads or dabbing a rank full toss into Fraser's buckets. (We can guess the bowler here!) This left Broadway on 22-2 but the following partnership of MacNeill and Triggs repaired this start and went fairly deep into Broadway's innings. The DoC had replaced Fraser from the top end but Beechwood, despite not making the breakthrough were still keeping things fairly tight and even when these two batters put on a fifty stand the game was still in the balance with Broadway even perhaps slightly behind the rate but with plenty in the hutch. MacNeill decided to accelerate at this point and in an attempt to go aerial only succeeded in holing out to Ashley, one of only two times he successfully used his hands that afternoon! This brought about a mini middle-order collapse for Broadway, due in no small part for it to be gloomy enough for Ashley to fancy a trundle from the top end which accounted for a couple of batsmen. 72-2 had become 83-7 but Triggs was still there however and now joined by Walsh, Broadway became a lot more purposeful in their efforts to get home.

Walsh in particular was looking very assertive and with the overs counting down yours truly finally got a blow with Fraser re-installed to the attack and Ian Mac introduced to bowl the last four overs between them. For Ian it meant instead of a couple of overs to bed in it was a couple of overs to save the game which was a little unrealistic and rather unfair and it would be fair to say his two overs didn't quite go to plan. With seven balls remaining Walsh had swung his way to a rapid 30 runs and victory looked a certainty for Broadway now and when Ian bowled his twelfth and final ball which was hit into the outfield to shouts of 'two' from the batsmen, I can think of a couple of bowlers I've played with down the years who'd be looking to snatch their cap from the umpire immediately with thoughts to maybe throwing it to the ground and kicking the turf etc. but Ian isn't one these. He stayed on the ball and when incredibly, Ashley succeeded in fielding the ball before it clattered into his shins, he was alert to the throw and effected the run-out of Triggs. With hindsight Broadway may feel that settling for a single may have been a wiser option as it meant a new bat would now be facing the first ball of Fraser's last over but we all know that hindsights's a wonderful thing... More drama was to follow when non-striker Walsh was keen to get down the other end and was short of his ground when Tony swooped to throw to Keith and effect a run-out of what was an optimistic call for a single but despite a huge Beechwood sigh of relief at his departure, skipper Langford looked more than capable of muscling Broadway over the line. With two balls left and only two runs required to win in the Otford gloom, Langford appeared to connect with Fraser's delivery right out of the screws and it appeared to be clearing mid-on and propelling Broadway to victory until the Hamster chose this moment to morph into a bat and in the fading light leapt skywards to pluck the ball as though it were an unsuspecting moth from the air and clung on safely following his crash-landing. Spectacular stuff! Whoops of delight followed from the fielding side but not for too long as we were quick to commiserate with Broadway in just failing in their heroic chase. Phew! That was rather close!

Beechwood's winning margin a mere single run, a fantastic game to play in and as always a pleasure to host our fantastically sporting and friendly opponents Broadway, who once again out-drank us in the pub afterwards! We look forward to seeing them back here next season.

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Last Updated on Wednesday, 16 September 2015 18:08
 
 

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