Chris Savory
Beechwood just missing that little extra...PDFPrintE-mail
Wednesday, 28 September 2016 21:45
Written by Chris Savory
Hamish signed off 2016 in fine style with a season-best 89

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Sunday 25th September 2016
Fordcombe, Kent

Beechwood 204 for 8 (41 overs)

Fordcombe 185 for 9 (39 overs)

Our biennial visit to Fordcombe would bring down the curtain on Beechwood's 2016 campaign. Aside from the absent fun-running Goose, it was pretty much a core XI that made themselves available, and in spite of various road-races and triathlons and suchlike taking place locally, all were present and correct in time for a prompt early start. Our hosts won the toss (overseen by legendary referee Len Ganley so it seems) and elected to field on a bright but occasionally chilly autumnal afternoon.

Beechwood would open up with Fraser and Adrian on a somewhat used looking deck which produced some variable bounce to say the least. I've played this fixture for a number of seasons now, but this would be the furthest pitch up the hill to be used for the occasion and it certainly made things challenging for batsmen and bowlers alike. The all-round talent of O'Collins opening up for Fordcombe certainly had some revs on him and produced a succession of deliveries, some knee-high, some around the ears but all pitching in roughly the same area which meant our openers would have to be extra watchful from the off.

After the initial storm was weathered, Fraser holed out for 21 (32-1) which brought Russ out to the middle. Russ wasn't at his most fluent, unsurprising given the surface, and after a brief cameo, having survived an absolute rip-snorter, he offered a return catch the next ball to leave Beechwood 62-2 and bring Hamish to the crease. Adrian had dug in by now so Hamish assumed the role of aggressor, and these two propelled Beechwood along to 131 before Adrian's defences were breached, narrowly missing out on what would have been a well-deserved gritty half-century.

Hamish was in full flow though, which was just as well as although the middle order occasionally hung around with him, the runs rather dried up at the other end, and he pretty much fought a lone battle as he got Beechwood up to 194-8 before perishing, opening his shoulders looking for a century as the clock counted down. Hamish departed for beautifully compiled 89 and Tony sportingly fell on his sword to allow his two spinning book-ends to scamper the last few runs of our season and Beechwood eventually closed their innings on 204-8....or was it 214??... There appears to be some discrepancies over our final score regarding the extras total... I asked Len for his official interpretation, but he couldn't fathom how we scored more than 147, so a fat lot of good his officiating was but anyway, whatever the score actually was, Beechwood had to defend 204 when the time would's been a long season!

After a very tasty tea which included an impressive selection of cakes, Beechwood set about defending their total and as often is the case when an impressive selection of cakes is on offer, yours truly was pressed into opening the bowling alongside the F-Unit. Neither of us settled to be honest, the pronounced incline and slope sending plenty of deliveries skew-wiff and it was only my variation that prized out the two openers...that's the kind of variation defined by bowling both sides of the wicket, and deceiving the batsman by somehow managing to bowl two consecutive balls in the same place! Anyway, change bowlers Mark and Ian (who both bowled beautifully) seemed to have few issues with geography and suchlike, which was just as well as the dangerous O'Collins was settled at the crease by now and accompanied by Byrne, was looking to chase down our score without fuss, but fortunately our guys put the brakes on this counter-attack somewhat and successfully deprived O'Collins the strike for lengthy periods of time, and eventually MaC broke through, Byrne clean bowled by a bit of a grubber.

87-3 became 104-4 when both MaCs combined to effect the run-out of Hazam but the champagne moment went to the DoC who produced a pearler to clean up O'Collins with his first delivery. 128-5 then and with the overs counting down it would mean that Fordcombe's lower middle-order would need to start opening their shoulders, but fortunately Mark was keeping his head and used his variations (proper types) to keep the total in check and bagged a couple of wickets along the way, and was unlucky to see a couple more shelled for his efforts. Yours truly was surprisingly given another go from the pavilion end and after a couple of Harmison-esque overs (directional not pace-like obviously) which somehow prized out another wicket, and a couple more close shouts from Mark, it was left to The Skipper to bowl his traditional final over of the season.

Fordcombe only required 25 to win but had their last pair together but Tony was unable to repeat his heroics from the previous year (which resulted in him topping the bowling averages!) but still came agonisingly close to winning the game when a mis-timed shot sailed agonisingly over Bradley's head!

A draw was probably a fair result and a satisfactory way to finish the season; for the record Fordcombe finished up 185-9 off 39 overs and the match was played in a great spirit as we've come to expect from this fixture. We look forward to welcoming them to Otford next year.

A few reflections on the season: obviously thanks to all the non-members who've helped us out at different stages through the season, and let's hope we see a few of these make the step up to full membership next year. Also big thanks to Ron and Lyn for all their efforts throughout the year and we hope to see them still on board next season. Also congratulations to Christine and Fraser on their recent big day and thanks for allowing so many of us to share it.

End of season report grade? Probably a 'B' would be a fair reflection. I think a B+ would be just a tad generous and a B- probably too close to a 'C' and it's more than my life is worth to be awarding anybody a 'C' on these pages!! See you at The Xmas Breakfast....

A massive thank you to Savers as well for taking the time each week to thoroughly entertain us with his accounts of our successes, and failures - all done in the best possible taste!
The DoC

Last Updated on Monday, 27 February 2017 09:11

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Sun Sep 29, 2019 @12:30
Fordcombe (H) - Cancelled (rain)