Chris Savory
Beechwood rearguard staves off the developersPDFPrintE-mail
Friday, 25 August 2017 19:00
Written by Chris Savory
Fraser Morris dominated with both bat and ball
(stock photo)
Full scorecard

Sunday 20 August 2017

Orchard Field, Otford

Merstham 200 for 7 (40 overs)

Beechwood 132 for 4 (38 overs)

Match drawn

So, a return to Otford after what seems a while in order to play host to Merstham CC Development XI. Don't want to be too pedantic and quibble over a name but let's be rightly understood, pretty much all of these guys are far more developed cricket-wise than most of us ever have been. Even their most likely player to be classed as a 'Colt' was able to walk down the track and turn every ball into a full-toss and then bowl as fast or faster than our guys, albeit mostly off the strip. Still, according to the score book, only two or three have returned from last season's fixture so we must assume that those absent guys are now fully developed, not sure we were the sternest of tests however.

Anyway, getting a little ahead of things here, Beechwood won the toss and inserted their visitors on a fairly central pitch on a deck, which in spite of plenty of earlier rainfall, certainly looked in good order if unsurprisingly a little spongy. Fraser and Ashley opened the bowling for the hosts and both bowled very tidily and in pretty much no time at all Fraser, who'd been particularly impressive, had sent three batsmen back into the hutch.

Merstham, struggling on 33-3 had Sharp and Clarke together at the crease now and Sharp continued in a long line of opposition batsmen who after four balls look like they've never played before but were merely teasing you into a bowling change. Ashley and Fraser's (7-1-17-3) impressive spells ended, and in light of later events their reintroduction was perhaps a little odd to say the least, but the Merstham pair started to milk the change bowlers a little thereafter.

Sharpe had a thunderously stomping initial trigger movement, likely to trigger an avalanche in some parts of the world, but appeared in little trouble, especially when he swung yours truly for a maximum over mid-wicket, but it was Clarke who looked to be the more assertive, running well with his partner and finding gaps in the fielding ring, and these two pushed Merstham up to 111 before Sharp (42) ran past one and KHM, who's had his stumping gloves on for most of the season to be fair, did the rest.

The Doc then chipped in with a wicket before smartly gathering at cover and effecting the run out of Clarke (69) to leave the visitors 152-6, but new batsmen Hill and aforementioned 'Colt' Maplesden pressed the accelerator and heaved the visitors up to 200 before Hill perished off the final ball of the innings. This dismissal, a Hamish delivery which Dave smartly ran round and clasped at mid-wicket would prove disastrous for the catcher as he split the webbing between two fingers in the process resulting in us probably being without our gun-dog for the near future...hope Joe Boss has been on the treadmill this week!

Beechwood fielded fairly well and it's always fun watching Ashley and now Joe warm Keith's gloves with their returns! Merstham closed their innings on 200-7 from 40 overs which again seemed slow on our part. There wasn't exactly a glut of boundaries, hardly any extras, and the lost ball had an immediate replacement sent out, but Beechwood's fielders appear to be masters of the nine-minute over.

While Dave was getting bound up by Lyn before Stuart assumed the role of his ambulance driver, the rest of us tucked into tea. The visitors were genuinely highly complementary towards Keith's salmon sandwiches; his team-mates perhaps less so towards his banana ones. Our ailing skipper paid us a visit during the interval and we all hope it's not too long before he's fit to resume his duties - don't fret Russ, we've not won in your absence!!

Fraser and Tony opened the batting for the hosts and were greeted by the nippy and parsimonious Rees-Davies who would eventually entice Tony to snick off to slip. The visitors offside field looked more like they were defending a direct free-kick rather than 200 runs with an almost wall-like four-man shield between mid-off and extra cover.

Beechwood seldom breached this but Fraser was fluently wristy through point and cover and a few extras also helped Beechwood's total along and he and Hamish negotiated things safely up to the drinks interval.

After drinks though, new bowler Clarke was into the attack and quickly accounted for both Kiwis, Fraser having compiled a neat 44 on his way to a man-of-the-match performance. Bradley made an entertaining 14 before getting cleaned up by Clarke, and with Beechwood pegged back at 110-4 it was down to Mark (16) and Keith (9) to stonewall their way to the game's end.

Not pretty to watch, especially once the murky skies closed in which would eventually deposit their contents upon us, but necessary nonetheless, and the awaiting batsmen in the hutch were especially grateful for their efforts.

Beechwood closed their innings on 132-4, a workmanlike performance from the hosts in general, but steely once again all the same - never once looked like winners though.

Still, at least Dave Lockey returned from casualty with some of the colour having returned to his cheeks... a few of us watching of late have had theirs turn pretty sallow.
Last Updated on Saturday, 26 August 2017 08:18

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