Chris Savory
Beechwood dig for victoryPDFPrintE-mail
Wednesday, 04 May 2016 18:05
Written by Chris Savory


They often say this game is a great leveller, so after last weekend's defeat on The South Pole, where we played fairly well first up, it's unsurprising that we should follow that up with a below par performance which ends victorious.

Penshurst Park were Sunday's visitors and having won the toss, Tony elected to bat, no doubt buoyed by our previous weekend's performance, but there was certainly some 'wise after the event' chain of thinking that this was perhaps an errant call... At 1-1 and 54-5 this certainly looked to be the case and only some lower-middle order resistance and counter-attacking propelled Beechwood to an eventual total of 126, ten or so minutes before the intended tea interval; way too short one would think, but at least a target to bowl at. There was plenty of debate as to whether we'd been fed some of those later runs but a glance at the scorecard would reveal that Penshurst's seven bowlers would bat from five downwards so the jury will probably remain out on that point. Pretty much every batsman would be disappointed with their mode of dismissal which ranged from poor to freakish.

Rob, after a diligent four from 44 balls could feel aggrieved at being caught at slip via the keeper's gauntlets and Tony, having played a solid f-d, similarly so, having to watch the ball roll gently back into the stumps. Ian and The DoC could also consider themselves unfortunate to be rather stuffed by their batting partners but these were poor dismissals all the same and the rest of us seemed to either miss straight balls or chip them straight up into the air, although the slow nature of the pitch and indeed, the bowling certainly played its part in some of these. Oh, and was that the opening bowler brought back to clean up yours truly at number eleven? I do believe it was... (Yeah, okay, he WAS slow left arm but still...).

Russ's 23 was key to our initial recovery after Fraser and Ade's early demise but after he and Bradley departed, it befell the lower middle order to try and use up some time - we were no slouches with our scoring rate early on, in spite of the tumbling wickets - and some handy runs and occupation were provided by Rob, (grittily) - Tony, (doggedly) - Ashley, (shovellingly) and The Doc (heartily) with Keith sweepingly top-scoring before being stranded on 26. Keith certainly played well but he would do well to remember that there's less chance of running out of partners if you don't actually run them out yourself! In a low scoring affair it'll come as no surprise that there were some miserly bowling figures to be observed and change-bowlers Mylod, Berry and Jones were particularly parsimonious in those middle overs. Beechwood would need to bowl and field well after tea to defend their total.

There was talk amongst us that perhaps Penshurst may jiggle their batting order somewhat, and although, like their bowling order, we have no categoric proof of this, such talk was enough for Ashley to put his hand open for the opening bowler's spot and entertain us for a few overs... His first ball may have swung, I can't actually say myself as standing at point, I lost it in the sun, but after the bye that was run off the following waist high full-toss, he then castled the unfortunate batsman with an unplayable swinging yorker! It was like watching a Scotty Garnett tribute act! More amusement was to be had a few balls later when a full-bunger was drilled straight back towards his nether regions but luckily Ashers got his sizeable mitts around it JUST in time to pull off an impressive caught and bowled while treating us to a few Frankie Howerd-type noises in the process...multi-talented that boy! Fraser weighed in with the other opener soon after, courtesy of Russ's safe hands and Penshurst were reeling at 2-3!

A rebuilding job was then undertaken by Nicholls and Jones but after the former snicked Fraser to Keith and the dangerous Jones was cleaned up by a hobbling Ian Mac half-tracker(!), Penshurst rather gave up the ghost a little. Woody (again, but this time with juggling accompanying the soundtrack thrown in for good measure) and Steve held onto a couple of smart catches and Fraser produced a yorker to rival that of Woody's, and a precarious but not disastrous 54-6 would eventually hobble along to 63 all out, and while batsman Berry showed some incredible self-restraint in playing out an undefeated scoreless and stroke-less thirty deliveries (giving me some flatteringly economical figures in the process), it was all in vain as The DoC cleaned up from the other end.

A good victory was pulled off for sure but the circumstances that brought about it are perhaps harder to be sure of. Anyway, for the moment, Beechwood are clinging onto their catches and proving that it's not always the best deliveries that take the wickets!! You have to take your hat off to Penshurst at the end of the day though, as they play the game the way Sunday village cricket was always played back in the day...until us metropolitan types came along and muddied the waters...just a touch. We look forward to hosting them again at Otford very soon, no doubt before the showers are working...


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