Chris Savory
No Lockey Horror Show in Hadlow humbling PDFPrintE-mail
Wednesday, 10 August 2016 10:00
Written by Chris Savory
Dave Lockey on his way to a quickfire and entertaining 20 runs

Full scorecard | Photos

Sunday, 7th August 2016
Hadlow, Kent
40 over match

Hadlow 206 all out (33.2 overs)

Beechwood 138 for 9 (40 overs)

So! Back down into the South Downs again this week for a new fixture at the picturesque venue that is Hadlow Cricket Club. Beechwood were greeted with a ground completely adorned in bunting...I somehow doubt similar decor will greet us the next time we visit.... Hadlow won the toss and elected to bat first on a good deck in a 40-over match. I used to enjoy an overs match back in the day; played them with a few people who nigh on insisted upon this format and it's fair to say that an overs match between closely matched teams can produce an enthralling game of cricket. If the teams aren't closely matched or one plays below par however, it's also fair to say that they can quickly become a non-event and it would be fair to say that Beechwood didn't bring their 'A' game this week...some also didn't bring their A-Zs...

Hadlow batsmen Batchelor and Lusher started like the proverbial train, launching Fraser and Larry to the boundary with barely a thought of playing a defensive stroke, all from perfectly respectable deliveries, and just as Fraser looked to have becalmed these two, Lusher brutally flat-batted one back towards him like a tracer bullet which he somehow got his hand to. For those of us with slower reflexes it would almost certainly have meant a trip to casualty or perhaps even worse, but our own F-Unit simply effed rather loudly and trudged off for some ice treatment. Might've made a mess of a wedding ring though...

Rob had some navigational issues en route but arrived just in time to effectively sub for our stricken spearhead and to watch Mark undertake the somewhat unenviable task of completing Fraser's over and continuing his spell. Batchelor survived a confident bat-pad appeal and our dear old friend, the dropped catch in the deep, paid us another few visits although it should be pointed out that it wasn't easy to pick up the path of the ball with such a leafy wooded backdrop.

Hadlow were initially going at ten and over and this had barely abated when Slippery Mark got one through Lusher's defences shortly before yours truly enticed half-centurion Batchelor to slap his fourth ball, an absolute pie, into the safe hands of Russ at deep mid-wicket. 121-2 then (off 14!!) and it would be fair to say that the departing pair possessed a good eye. The same couldn't actually be said of next man in, skipper MacDonald, who batted three quarters of his innings without his full quota of contact lenses!

It appeared to matter little though, as he dinked myself and Mark over long-on for maximums on more than one occasion on his way to a half-century. Rob's introduction at Mark's end was a key point in Beechwood clawing their way back into the game, and if his first wicket was a little fortuitous when trapping the dangerous looking Millen, few would begrudge his upturn of fortunes with his further three, one of which was smartly clasped by Larry at point, which pegged Hadlow back to 171-7, when MacDonald, now with clear vision, holed out to Mark in the deep. The Doc had a brief twirl replacing me for a few overs and Fraser, with hand and fingers reverted to something nearing their former sizes, bravely returned to the fold to bag one from Rob's end, and only the fact that Hadlow had ten men in their ranks saved a reintroduced me the ignominy of a number eleven launching him over long-off for a maximum, but last man in King managed this anyway! This ninth and final wicket pair of Jones and King eked out a few handy runs before Tony smartly snaffled King at slip, to leave Hadlow ending their innings on 206-9 from just 33.2 overs. It could've been sooooo much worse!

Hadlow catered for us with a spiffing tea and a stunning selection of cakes which seemed to say "leave us on this table if you dare!" to us all, and if I'm honest I do wonder if Beechwood might have over-indulged in these tempting treats as it was a pretty stodgy effort from Beechwood in their efforts in chasing down a total which was by no means beyond them.

Gluten-free Russ and Fraser, in spite of his earlier prang, were entrusted with opening up for the visitors but within barely of few minutes of the match's resumption, the game was pretty much killed by an opening salvo from King. The rot started when Fraser pulled Millen straight into square-leg's clutches from one he would freely admit to that he could've put anywhere else, but maybe that hand was nagging away at him so it was an understandable lapse in the circumstances. Then the aforementioned King removed the unfortunate Larry and Brad with two absolute snorters, and when he somehow got one to deviate enough to bowl Russ around his pads, Beechwood, and indeed the match itself were looking rather forlorn at 10-4!!

Mark set about trying to salvage something and at least attempt to take the game deep into the afternoon, and when joined by Keith, they, with the aid of the removal of King (3-11) from the attack, successfully if unspectacularly ushered Beechwood past the fifty mark. There was some levity midway through this partnership when Keith, attempting to make his ground on a tight single, contrived to clatter into the fielder attempting an underarm run out, resulting in batsman and fielder ending up on their backsides, Keith in a particularly undignified manner, and Keith's bat, cap and specs, plus the ball spraying in different directions, with the ball clearing the ropes for buzzers earning Mark five runs (something he's been attempting to run all season)!

Mark, attempting to still be proactive, suggested to KHM that a quick single was possible from a nudge onto the offside but Keith however, interpreted this as any nudge fitting the bill, and duly steered straight to the fielder and called Mark through for an impossible single and duly stuffed his partner. Congratulations Mark, you're just one iffy lbw decision away from being a fully-fledged Beechwoodian!! Rob's upturn in fortunes was rather short-lived after he was caught first ball (59-6) but at least there was a crumb of comfort for the beleaguered visitors in the shape of one D. Lockey striding out to the middle...

Dave, himself no stranger to a first-baller, thoroughly enjoyed himself out there and entertained us regally with his shot selections, some Gayle-esque, some straight out of the Bobby Robbo manual, accompanied by some similar celebrations when he cleared long-on for a mighty six!

His whole innings was played with a beaming smile, and there were similar expressions from spectators and umpires alike, and I suspect the opposition weren't too slow on the uptake either and would've been appreciative of what was going on before their eyes. Dave (20) would eventually overtake Keith in the scorebook and there was an audible groan when Lusher clung on to a skier to send him back to the pavilion.

Still, Beechwood were at least edging towards three figures and after Dave's cavalier heroics, Tony joined Keith in the middle and apparently it was time for these two to play some proper cricket. This pair pottered along with some textbook shouldering arms and forward defences with the occasional steer to fielders in the ring with the only occasional blot on the landscape for the purists being Keith's one-handed air-shots attempting sweeps.

As I say, it was proper cricket, and boy, it was bloody hard-viewing, especially after Dave's knock... a bit like watching The Foo Fighters set at a festival and learning that James Blunt is now the replacement headline act. There was obviously a bit of understandable rustiness on Tony's part and this wasn't helped by him being hit flush on the boot early on but honestly, I'll need more caffeine inside me if I have to sit through the likes of that that too often. Sorry fellas!

Anyway, Tony uncharacteristically chipped one up in the air and top-scorer Keith (27) somehow managed to dislodge a bail sometime between playing his stroke and setting off for a single. This was spotted by none of the fielding side nor the umpires (and well done Mark and Rob for two stints due to the circumstances) but Keith always sticks to the laws and although nobody appealed he still declared his innings over. Well done Keith. These two unfortunate dismissals at least allowed the final couple of overs to be occupied by myself and The DoC, a rare occurrence these days but one we both enjoy together, primarily as Ron - amongst others - struggles to tell us apart in the middle and no amount of facial hair assists this.

It was good to be at the other end again to watch The DoC produce his trademark flamingo strokes and to see him pay homage to his SE8 days by breaking a bail in half attempting to mark his guard! The pair of us at least held on until the bitter end in a game that was beyond salvation long before the pair of us had any thoughts of getting out there. And for yours truly getting a rare trip to the middle? Well, I'll just say it's pleasing to learn that the last surviving 'Magnum' on the planet can still find a boundary in these days of nuclear powered paddles which they appear to carve out these days....

Anyway, a 68 run defeat for the visitors but still an enjoyable afternoon of cricket for most of us with plenty of amusing diversions throughout the day and needless to say, we all hope Fraser's hand continues to heal quickly. Hadlow proved to be great sporting hosts and what they lacked in sight screens they more than made up for in comfortable furniture, with only a scoreboard that behaved like the cash register in 'Open All Hours" to deduct them half a mark.

Now, do I see that we're back at Otford next week? Thank gawd for that! There's no place like home... and we've some smart new stumps to aim at as well!

Last Updated on Wednesday, 10 August 2016 10:35

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