Chris Savory
Badgers edge past codgersPDFPrintE-mail
Saturday, 06 May 2017 00:00
Written by Chris Savory
Dean Kelly rolled back the years to dig Beechwood out of trouble

Full scorecard

Sunday 30 April 2017

Orchard Field, Otford

Beechwood 159 all out (47 overs)

Badgers 160 for 8 (38.5 overs)

So! Beechwood are back and so am I, as far as these pages are concerned anyway. A warm welcome back to all eight of you. Twelve months ago I wrote of a two wicket opening day defeat at the hands of Badgers CC on a chilly afternoon with Beechwood's innings being rebuilt by a player making a comeback following some parsimonious opening bowling. Twelve months on and I've a similar tale to tell following an exciting game at Otford on Sunday. Sadly, Beechwood's skeletons are now twelve months older...

Otford was looking rather dapper on the day, especially after hosting a tournament that morning and all of its new fixtures and fittings have survived the winter intact which was relieving to see. Beechwood has a new man at the helm and it was a warm welcome we all bestowed upon Russ Cartwright, especially after early signs of him being a handy tosser. Having won said toss Russ had no doubts in electing to bat, especially after casting an eye on a somewhat top-heavy batting line up and plumped for Fraser opening up alongside Adrian. First person to get the ball in his hand was one Bill Jenkins, he of last year's miserly spell, only this year he got the wickets to round things off. Beechwood started okay to be fair, although Jenkins especially was proving hard to get away and Fraser survived a nick off V. Cibardo which keeper Steve Pitts palmed around the post when it appeared to be headed into first slip's bread-basket but otherwise all seemed in hand. Things changed when Adrian (8) unfortunately chopped onto his stumps, and in what seemed the blink of an eye, 29-0 was suddenly 43-4! Fraser (25) holed out to mid-off, Hamish, the form-horse at last season's end, was uncharacteristically cleaned up first ball and Bradley (6) followed shortly after. This meant some repair work was needed to be performed by the skipper and this season's comeback king. Last season the returning Sean Guerin dug us out of a hole and this year it was to be a certain Dean Kelly's turn. Nine years away from the game and his first ball back finds himself facing a pressure! Dean duly survived this and went on to top score for Beechwood and although his numbers weren't close to Sean's previous year's effort, their value was identical. Jenkins was eventually seen off; well, that's if you can call finishing a spell of 10-7-7-4 as being seen off, and it certainly had been an incredible spell of opening bowling, but Dean and Russ at least got Beechwood up towards a healthier total before Russ fell shortly after drinks. With the old guard of Tony, Ian, Keith and Steve's aid Beechwood managed to scramble up to 159 before The DoC was stumped in the final (47th) over. A par score at best, but one Beechwood would have bitten the proverbial hand off for from 43-3.

The DoC threw down the gauntlet by supplying a fantastic tea first up and I hope everyone presented with this task in future took note. If anybody wondered if Tony would have trouble fitting back into the ranks, the sight of him still nattering away to spectators with ten Beechwoodians stood in their fielding positions before the restart brushed those fears aside somewhat. Fraser and Hamish opened up for Beechwood and despite having no nets (Badgers, according to one of their fielders had 12 weeks of them!) were able to be right on the money from the off. An early chance off Fraser managed to penetrate the force-field between keeper and slip and an early confident shout was declined by umpire Johnson and although Beechwood were able to prize wickets out fairly regularly, opening bat R. Cibardo held firm and following partnerships with two or three others in the middle-order, got Badgers up to 150-6 and looking likely victors if time permitted. Two quick wickets and a tight returning spell from Fraser meant the games last two or three overs ebbed and flowed regarding the outcome but Badgers were able to scramble home with two balls to spare, S. Pitts spooning the winning runs. Heartbreakingly close then, and a few aching Beechwood bodies had to trudge off the field in defeat, but well played Badgers who didn't panic once Beechwood looked to have wrestled some momentum back. Could the hosts have snatched it beforehand? Possibly; four half-chances were spilled and while none of which were easy, simply clinging onto one could have made all the difference and a couple of shots were also spooned straight to where fielders had just moved from. (Welcome to the world of skippering Beechwood Russ!) The ground-fielding is what it is though, and although once some of our bones warm up alongside the weather we may show a bit more mobility, the fact remains it's a team consisting of several 50 pluses, (some with 40 plus waists) and a fair few more creeping towards that landmark and the ground seems further away from some of us with each passing season, but that's what we're faced with and we have to accept this. Messrs Lockey and Leadon are going to be godsend fill-ins! It's not all doom and gloom though; The Hamster still looks fairly supple, Ade still has a solid barrier and Ian Mac defied his years and what his body is putting him through to brilliantly effect the run-out of the aforementioned Cibardo towards the end plus Bradley safely snaffled two in the gloom and the spinners also bowled tidily enough but it was remarked that there appears to be NO throwing arms anymore. As I say, maybe we'll warm up with the weather but until then, relay throws look to be the way to go. Fraser's innings and his three wickets were probably deserving of a few more MOTM votes but I don't think he'd begrudge Dean receiving so many after his earlier heroics and it was good to see that Dean hadn't forgotten Beechwood's affinity with eccentricity by wearing a cravat down the pub! Good to see you back mate!

A word of thanks to our sporting opponents for serving up an exciting epic for the second season running and we hope to see them again next year where hopefully we can turn the tables for once and we wish them the best for the season's remainder. A big word of thanks to Tim and his folks for paying us a visit and for braving the cold and carrying out umpiring duties for the entire second innings. It was great to see him and we look forward to accommodating him in a couple of weeks’ time. Finally, it was great to see Ron and Lyn at the ground and looking so well after all they've been through of late and we hope to see them as regularly as possible through the season. I'll have to sign off now as the nurses are about to take me out of traction....

Last Updated on Saturday, 06 May 2017 09:40

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