Chris Savory
Beechwood blown off coursePDFPrintE-mail
Wednesday, 01 June 2016 08:35
Written by Chris Savory


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Another few days spent trying to cobble a team together resulted in just ten men being available for the visit of Chelsfield to Otford. Our opponents were in a similar boat fortunately, and once again we were grateful to Messrs Leadon & Lockey to even get us up to that number. Otford wasn't its normal pretty self, thanks to the development of the new net facilities, and the short boundary was even shorter this week as a result. Beechwood won the toss and elected to bat and with so many big guns at the top of the order missing, and Brad still hot-wheeling it from Watford, we elected for an expedient batting order rather than an experimental one this week with Rob promoted to open up with Hamish on a pleasant but persistently gusty afternoon.

Just four balls into our innings and Hamish, attempting his usually profitable cut-stroke, found his off pole cartwheeling after getting one that jagged sharply and barely got above shin height. Not ideal to put it mildly (and out before his missus got to see him bat) and the only crumb of comfort would be that the skipper would get the opportunity of a decent knock at the top of the order. His first ball faced when through at a similar height but fortunately Tony survived this, but it was fair to say that such a puddingy deck would need close watching, especially as opening bowler Ranawaka looked more than useful as well. Tony and Rob hung around and staved off pretty decent spells from both ends until Rob's painful innings came to an end. It wasn't uneasy on the eye I hasten to add but literally a sore affair, having been struck twice flush on the big toe. The first of these early on had him howling like a coyote before Tony called him to skip through for a leg bye; the second having felled him, rendered him given out lbw just to add insult to injury!

Tony was not to last for too much longer and with Beechwood now stuck on 35-3 and still no Brad it was left to Ian and Mark to rebuild in the middle order. This was achieved with just shy of a fifty stand and a similar one between Mark and (a finally arrived) Bradley after Ian's departure at least started to give Beechwood something to bowl at (a nameless prophet of doom predicted we wouldn't reach 100), especially as the bowling of Walker and Rathnayaka was pretty tight. These partnerships buoyed our mood somewhat, as did the welcome visits of Stuart and Kieran Boss and The McLachlan clan, and when Mark was eventually out for a well compiled 40, there was still time for Dave to have some brief fun and for Keith to ever so slightly improve his strike-rate. Beechwood eventually closing on 156-6 with Bradley undefeated on 35. All things considered a pretty solid effort, especially after that first over!

With Larry's unexpected absence and our back-up seamers nursing injuries preventing their being pressed into action, a limping Rob had to fight a lone hand in the seam department, and yours truly took the second over and despite struggling to get the thing down the other end in the ever increasing gusts, I somehow managed to get a half-tracked wrong'un to pass through the strokeless batsman's legs to bowl him - odd!

Rob was gamely plugging away on one leg however and although Chelsfield scored at an impressive rate, wickets were falling fairly regularly from his end, and having struggled enough with the prevailing wind, I decided to throw darts for the duration of my spell - with varying success! By the time Beechwood had sent down eleven overs they already had their opponents six down, but more tellingly were going at six an over so although their position was slightly precarious - only ten men don't forget - there was still plenty of time left if a partnership could develop. Unfortunately for Beechwood this proved to be the case, and in Rathnayaka and skipper Carrett, they had the men for the job. If yours truly could have pouched a return catch rather than clasp at thin air, it could have been different, as indeed had a couple of other half-chances been taken. Steve and Ian were introduced and stemmed the run flow slightly but not enough to hope we could defend our total, and the prompt break of this partnership looked to be Beechwood's only chance of victory. As the partnership developed, our general fielding disciplines became more and more ragged, unaided by the left/right hand partnership, being a man short, incapacitated fielders, and by the multi-captaincy syndrome which came to the fore again, and it's fair to say that although it rained at The Monaco Grand Prix that afternoon, most lap times there would have been set a far sight quicker than we were able to set a field for certain deliveries, to say nothing of hindering a bowlers rhythm.

Anyway, left-handed Rathnayaka was making particularly good use of the even shorter short boundary by now and with eighteen runs required and plenty of overs in order to do so, I was recalled from the unfamiliar far end to try and prise one of them out and remarkably, Rathnayaka duly holed out to long-on first ball, Tony nicely judging the catch in the swirling wind, but sadly the batsmen crossed and yours truly couldn't stop set batsman Carrett from plundering another boundary, although the easily taken single off the last ball of the over was rather galling, to put it mildly. Another short boundary six was struck the following over, and by the time I bowled the next one, Chelsfield were just one boundary away from their target, which I duly served up first attempt. Top marks have to go to the two seventh wicket batsmen, both of whom scored 59 in their successful run chase with Carrett playing a particularly impressive captains' knock (drinks on him when we're next in One In The Wood I reckon), and although it was agonisingly close in terms of wickets fallen, it was rather alarming to learn that they reached their target in the 28th over (they were only due to receive 35!) although the man short probably played its part there as well.

It was still an enjoyable game of cricket however, of which Chelsfield played sportingly and in great spirit throughout. We look forward to their next visit and to having a full complement of players to face them... and next week, hopefully...

Last Updated on Wednesday, 01 June 2016 08:47

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