Chris Savory
Penshurst put in place by stately HamishPDFPrintE-mail
Thursday, 01 September 2016 09:00
Written by Chris Savory
Hamish McLachlan (56 not out) led from the front

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Sunday 28th August 2016
Penshurst Place, Kent

Penshurst Park 102 all out (41.5 overs)

Beechwood 106 for 2 (22.1 overs)

After being asked if I'd like some cheese to go with my whine last week, I'll make an extra special effort to stay on the purely cricketing events this week and fortunately there would have been very little to derail me anyway. For such a landmark that Penshurst Place is, the adjacent Penshurst Park cricket ground was pretty hard to locate (for most of us anyway), with several cars taking at least two wrong turns into various parts of the grounds.

With so many Beechwoodians also delayed or arriving just before the nick of time, the proposed 13.30 start was put back ten or so minutes to accommodate us. A quick glance at the deck revealed a surface that was 'interesting' to put it mildly, and a fenced boundary that had a camber effect sloping towards it that would mean some teasing chases for the fielders if the ring got pierced. The outfield itself also had an interesting array of knolls and mounds (only Wadhurst could rival the one at the far end) which gave it something of a mini-golf course feel about it but hey, when you have a backdrop like the one that Penshurst Place provides, accompanied by several hundred sheep which circumnavigated the outfield all afternoon you kind of forgot about all these quibbles and were able to truly appreciate a stunning setting for a game of Sunday village cricket.

Penshurst Park won the toss and elected to bat on an unfortunately gloomy afternoon which would produce a fair bit of drizzle, accompanied by some gusty winds as well, and on three occasions early on there were rain breaks taken which obviously didn't help the flow of the game. Not that Beechwood were complaining as either side of these breaks Beechwood's opening pair of Larry and Fraser had five batsmen back in the pavilion with just 25 on the board; Fraser breaching their defences on three occasions and Larry once also who then induced a smart catch from Tony at slip despite the batsman in question appearing to be guiding it behind square.

The introduction of a girl colt (albeit an England schoolgirl one) meant that perhaps wisely, Rob didn't get the first-change spot he would have deserved but she looked more than capable as she set about a mini-recovery in tandem with her partner and kept the spinners at bay until The DoC eventually trapped her in front but not before a partnership of 40 runs and displaying a technique that enabled her to hit a ball much further off the square than some of our lower middle have been able to of late. (Have you seen some of their strike-rates?!)

Anyway, the spinners wrapped up the lower-middle order and Rob, who'd been sharpening his claws and hoofs for most of the afternoon, pounced to mop up the tail in the blink of an eye. Beechwood's ground fielding was better than usual, the likelihood of a forlorn chase probably helping things there somewhat and held most of their catches although a couple went wayward as indeed did Adrian's footing when a vain chase towards the fence resulted in the kind of tumble usually reserved for the penalty box, but at least it brought a bit of light relief on such a gloomy day, as indeed did Keith getting hit flush on the boot behind the timbers; nice to see a few smiling faces on the field for a change.

For the record, PPCC were bowled out for exactly 100 (last weeks losing margin interestingly enough) but it looked to be a testing total on a deck that had plenty of bounce and carry with the odd spitting-cobra from the spinners, particularly Ian, although it has to be said that at least nothing appeared to grub along the deck.... We were honoured by the presence of Claire, Andrea & Eloise plus the rare sight of The Burgerman paying us a belated visit and with Issy in tow as well for good measure... great to see them all.

Talking of grub, tea was a very tasty affair and well done to our hosts for providing it... I'm not sure what was on Fraser's plate but there was one very determined wasp keen to share it; only one winner there though... Beechwood had a slightly modified top order with Rob and Hamish opening up for the visitors with our hosts opening up with a couple of quickies. The policy for Beechwood's batsman appeared to be that if it was threatening the stumps, respect it, otherwise throw your arms through it! This was highlighted perfectly by Hamish reaching 36 by way of boundaries alone!

This was not before Rob's demise, getting cleaned up with successive balls, the first into his navel, the next into the stumps but not before he'd done his job wearing down the openers. Mark continued in the same vein; watchful before attacking, before he got a shocker, apparently, and Adrian also wasn't about to stand on ceremony with the possibility of one with his name on it either.

Hamish, having been given the odd life, completed his half-century and such was the manner of his innings, and indeed his partners', that the whole thing was done inside 23 overs ensuring that the earlier various delays didn't bring about a finish in the gloom. An eight wicket victory then with just an incredible six runs not scored from boundaries. A professional performance and for the most part cheery faces to go with can be done. Oh, and no sheep were frightened during the making of the day's entertainment although they certainly left their mark...

Last Updated on Thursday, 01 September 2016 09:17

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