Chris Savory
Victory at last I do declarePDFPrintE-mail
Thursday, 31 August 2017 19:00
Written by Chris Savory
Adrian Warner smashing his way to 87
Full scorecard

Sunday 20 August 2017

Orchard Field, Otford

Beechwood 183 for 3 dec (37.4 overs)

St Mary's 119 all out (30.2 overs)

Beechwood won by 64 runs

A glorious Bank Holiday afternoon at Otford was the scene for Beechwood's first domestic victory of the season. Local rivals St Mary’s CC were the unfortunate souls on the end of this monumental achievement although it should be pointed out they played with nine men (until a headcount was taken midway through our innings we were all under the impression they had ten) and it wasn't achieved without plenty of conflict and stupefaction within the home camp. Time, we are told, is a great healer, but how much of it you use up as a batting side can open up lots of old wounds and indeed create a few new ones. Beechwood memories when it comes to declarations appear to be longer than time itself...

Anyway, Beechwood had yet another acting skipper in Keith and he duly won the toss and chose to bat on a firmly baked deck and a pitch that had crept back towards the sheep field. The hosts opened up with Sean and Adrian and despite the odd scare these two appeared fairly comfortable, until Sean failed to keep out leggie McMenamin's wrong'un and Beechwood were held at 31-1. Dean joined Adrian in the middle and these two kicked on nicely. Adrian was the more aggressive with the bat, often taking an aerial route, but Dean matched him with some aggressive calling and running between the wickets, before finding his timing and the occasional boundary for himself.

140-1 is pretty much unchartered waters for England's cricketers these days let alone Beechwood's but there they prettily sat until Adrian was out lbw to Garrard having compiled a splendid 87. Bradley followed him back next ball after one snuck under his bat but Mark was able to stave off the hat-trick and allow things to simmer down again.

Keith by now was well into his declaration thoughts and sent the message out to the batsmen that he was looking to declare possibly at 160 or with around 20-25 minutes remaining, and this was not well-received in the hutch by some, especially those unaware the message had been sent out. Keith was adamant that this would be the case however despite plenty of protestations and meanwhile, there's still actually a match taking place would you believe, with Dean and Mark running together nicely and this pair accelerated Beechwood towards 180.

180 was now definitely going to be Keith's cut-off despite the odd irate parent among our number stating that their lad wasn't going to get a fair go if the innings was closing early; although to be fair Dean actually had scored 43 when Keith waved them in (only joking Ron!)

Beechwood closed their innings on 183-3 with Mark 16* from 37.4 overs allowing an extra twenty minutes bowling before the scheduled hour and twenty. Some saw the declaration's timing as odd, some saw a declaration as pointless, fatuous even, some who thought it was a positive move however kept their heads down and shuffled into tea in an effort to not have crosses painted on them. As we queued up for Adrian and Brad's tasty tea the bees still buzzed loudly in people's bonnets but eventually the drone would quieten down...

With the absence of so many of Beechwood's spearheads it would befall Bradley and Mark to open the bowling and Brad in particular, in spite of his sparing use of late, settled into a nice groove. Mark had just a quick burst before yours truly was introduced and I have to thank my fielders in assisting me to some half-decent figures (well, before my reintroduction saw them savaged somewhat), and a flurry of wickets saw St Mary’s, who'd been handily placed on 53-1, reduced to 56-6.

The skipper effected two stumpings and also held a catch behind and The DoC and Adrian smartly clung on to theirs and Bradley cleaned one up for himself. Joe shelled the odd swirler but more than made up for these by his impressive speed across the outfield.

The same could not be said for Dean however who produced some painful to watch 'Steve Austin' style slo-mo chases out towards the equestrian school - any watching vets may have been tempted to reach for their rifle… even Stuart winced...and laughed aloud, not for the first time that afternoon!

Ian had a brief twirl but it was The DoC who bagged the final two wickets, courtesy of Sean's safe buckets and St Mary’s were all out for 119 in the 31st over in spite of an impressive counter-attack from McMenamin, who showed little kindred regard for leg-spin as he shuffled across the stumps and golf-swung his way to an undefeated 30.

It was a brave showing from St. Mary’s and a full quota of players would certainly have helped their cause you'd suggest, but you certainly couldn't fault their support which numbered almost as many as their playing staff. At this stage it's not clear as to whether our visitors will continue next year due to availability issues which would be a great shame for such a decent bunch of guys and it's a cruel irony that some of the less desirable opposition we face seem able to field three or four Sunday XIs - still, there's a team just up the road I know of who'd happily accommodate those at a loose end next season.

We wish them well for the future, whatever happens. Well done Lyn for accommodating the extra necessary drinks breaks and coping with the early declaration admirably and big thanks to Stuart for his umpiring stints and for allowing Joe to turn for out us these last few weeks, and we wish him well for the football season ahead.

I should also point out that Ashley played this fixture too but I'm not sure as to why he was selected as he wasn't on tea duty!! Anyway he was among those who were among a stellar cast who latterly adjourned back to The Brickie for a Bank Holiday bevy and bite - perhaps Keith's intentions for an early finish had an agenda after all, who knows?

Anyway, brave declarations; what's all the fuss about, for the life of me I can't see anything wrong with them, can you?!

Last Updated on Friday, 01 September 2017 08:47

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