Chris Savory
Tons of runs as Young has fun in the sunPDFPrintE-mail
Thursday, 15 June 2017 20:00
Written by Chris Savory
Fraser on his way to an unbeaten 132

Full scorecard

Sunday 11 June 2017

Orchard Field, Otford

Brasted Invicta 264 for 3 (32.5 overs)

Beechwood 210 for 4 (44 overs)

Match drawn

So, ultimately I HAD to write about the match. Wasn't sure what I was going to write about at one stage of the afternoon but it certainly wasn't going to have been cricket, not until Beechwood eventually managed to eke out a modicum of respectability, mainly due to a well-compiled undefeated century from Fraser aided by Mark Leadon's gritty rear-guard 43, in an undefeated 150 run partnership. Brasted, or more particularly Stuart Young, had earlier put Beechwood to the sword with a rapid-fire daddy-hundred of his own as Beechwood toiled away in the heat in a match that although ending as a draw, the hosts were always coming off second best. But hey, second appears to be the new first these days so on reflection, perhaps celebrations were due after all.

The formalities: central pitch, typical Otford deck, warm day, blah blah blah, and Brasted having won the toss elected to bat first. Our opponents only had ten men but with Bradley, initially delayed and eventually becoming an FTA, the teams would be equal...well, sort of. Fraser and Mark opened up the bowling for the hosts with the aforementioned Young and Lea taking guard for their opponents.  An ailing Russ decided that it may be best for him to hide at gully but after three chases to the third man boundary in the first over he decided things would be more sedate back at his usual mid-on!

Initially there was little sign of the mayhem that would soon follow with nothing more than a positive start from the batsmen which didn't particularly raise any alarm bells. Russ either isn't that fond of Mark or, in light of how things unfolded, he's rather overly fond of him, but an opening burst of 0-14 in four overs didn't seem the kind of figures that would mean his work done for the match's first half. He didn't exactly get to graze however and spent the next hour and a half tearing up and down the boundary. Fraser also bowled tidily but without breakthrough and I suppose that in light of what followed, perhaps it seemed best to preserve our all-rounders for our own innings, but whatever the case, these two rather got off lightly OR perhaps they could have altered the course of the match, we'll never know.

Onkar replaced Mark and after initially looking threatening and that it could perhaps have been his day, he didn't quite settle into his usual rhythm, and it was at this stage that Young started to launch his counter-attack. The genie was out the bottle now and when yours truly replaced Fraser, it was positively running amok. My first over went for sixteen but I could hold my head high for clawing it back to eleven and a half per over come spell's end!  As I was deposited into gun-toting Farmer Palmer's sheep field I actually volunteered to go and retrieve it myself, the thought of being shot at seemed quite merciful at the time!

Young had been given a couple of lives at this stage and survived another chance on - I dunno - 70 or 80 when Young gave me the charge and Keith put in a Corporal Jones type effort to effect a stumping. Eye-witness accounts tended to differ; some said there'd been a dropped nick, some said the wicket was broken so the stumping couldn't have stood anyway but I missed all of this as once I saw the batsmen advancing I was already looking towards the sheep field.

The DoC had the unenviable task of replacing Onkar and as I found myself in the unfamiliar territory of sweeping the square-leg boundary and watched a succession of balls headed towards the equestrian school I actually lost it in the field, giggling uncontrollably as the 200 stand was applauded and I almost yanked out one of the white boundary flags to wave.

Beechwood fielders stood like chess pieces as Young continually pierced the field off the spinners but finally, at 224(!) the DoC broke through when he dismissed Lea, no mug himself, for 50. A rather stiff Ashley, having played the previous day, spent most of the afternoon in a bolt upright fashion, jogging after but never quite catching up with cricket balls; occasionally looking like he may bend down but never quite managing it, but with Young now on 188 he figured that he may have a chance against a tiring batsman and sure enough, Young finally missed a straight one and his brutal innings was over.

Ashley's next ball was called wide but no matter, he'd done his job and when Ian, with his bowling mojo back, broke through the new batsman's defences, Brasted closed their innings on 264-3. The half-chances are still going down but Beechwood, for the most part anyway, stuck at it in the heat. His stumping apart, KHM did actually keep wicket pretty tidily but countered this with his constant gesticulations between balls in an effort to alter the field. In fact, with all his arm-waving and his quirky choice of headwear, it often looked as though one of The Village People was keeping wicket for us...."Are You Listening To Me indeed, Young Man?!"

At one point, as the ball was drilled past a baked static infield, we were suddenly greeted with a blurring grey image hurtling along the boundary line. It was a certain Joe Boss, moving at speeds not normally associated with that surname, subbing for Bradders he did himself proud, stopping all that came his way and possessing Lockey-like energy levels. It's a shame that I'll have long been put out to pasture by the time he (should he even) decides he'd like to play for us regularly, but Beechwood were greatly indebted to him on Sunday (he has manners from a bygone age too).

Brasted's declaration total? Most were of the opinion that it was probably thirty or forty too many, although Brasted had some personal and club milestones in their sights (unsurprisingly!) which they were understandably keen to achieve, and following four centurions in four games with a fifth imminent, not to mention some retiring half-centurions along the way, it probably wasn't too negative on reflection.

Ashley was on catering duties and the fact that he was running slightly late is always a good sign and he didn't disappoint, top marks sir! You would never believe how an innings starting fifteen minutes late and a declaration coming fifteen minutes early could befuddle a changing-room so much as to the state of play which would follow. Some assumed there'd be an extended tea interval, some thought we were due back out before we actually came in and some assumed we could play on under the stars. Teachers and bank-managers alike scratched their heads and obviously the practice of moving the clock back (which I've always found unfathomable) confused things slightly but still.... Eggheads it certainly wasn't!

Once we finally worked out playing conditions we were ready for our defence; I won't say chase. Fraser, initially somewhat disinterested, got into his stride and struck the ball well but Keith triggered Tony and Russ in quick succession. For Russ his finger went up like a spitting cobra, and I'm sure Keith is giving them as he sees them and nobody should be having it any other way, but it doesn't help his case when the bowler runs up and offers a commiserating "unlucky bat!" as the batsman trudges off!

Onkar nicked one behind and Ian got a good 'un and Beechwood were stuttering at 53-4 with Copley claiming all four scalps. Enter our own Brigadier Block in Mark Leadon, never short of enthusiasm let alone energy, he was just the ideal foil for Fraser as he headed towards his ton...except when he called him through for threes that is! The lower middle order got pad rash but nobody seemed to mind as these two steered us through to the game's end.

For the record Fraser finished undefeated on 132, some welcome runs for him, and Beechwood's total of 212-4 wasn't too shabby in their unrealistic run chase. Beechwood received 44 overs in their defence, by comparison, we had only sent down 33 in their direction although to be fair, a lot of time was spent searching for stray balls...33 overs with probably eleven different balls!

Brasted enjoyed a good beer with us after the match and we wish them well for the season's remainder and look forward to hosting then next season, and it'd be absolutely great to see The Don open up for them again when they return...I used to enjoy conceding runs to him! It appears I've been stood down to perform scoring duties next week, probably my last ever meaningful contribution to the scorebook, but it does mean I've got to actually sit through an entire Beechwood innings in the process; hope Fraser stays in.

Oh well, at least I won't have to bloody bowl on it!

Enjoy your break Ron & Lyn!

Last Updated on Saturday, 17 June 2017 09:33

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