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Chris Savory
Sunshine and showersPDFPrintE-mail
Thursday, 10 May 2018 00:00
Written by Chris Savory
Russ Cartwright
Sunday 6 May 2018

Orchard Field, Otford

Penshurst Park 185 for 7 (40 overs)

Beechwood 168 for 8 (37 overs)

Match drawn | Full scorecard


Well, we're back... well, some of us were anyway. Typically, after a full quota had made themselves available for the previous weekend before the monsoons wiped out the Badgers' fixture it was back to the familiar struggles of assembling a side now that the sun was guaranteed to shine. It was a baptism of fire for the new 'Availability Dream Team' of CoCk & his DiC but fortunately Russ was able to use his Dartford connections in securing Ryan Carter for a welcome return and recruiting Paul Gregory, to whom Beechwood extended its warmest welcome. The ever-ready Dave Lockey answered our call as well so somehow Beechwood cobbled a team together to face our opponents Penshurst Park at Otford on a glorious Spring Bank Holiday afternoon.

There was much anticipation of a more welcoming pavilion this season, with the showers in particular finally (apparently) having the necessary work done to make them serviceable, but the early arrivals among us were greeted with a newly padlocked door to the cupboard which houses the heating switches! Surely a sane soul would make the combination the same as the one used to gain access to the ground you'd think but no, Bradley had attempted these numbers but to no avail and the heating would remain inaccessible. Great! After booting away a pair of grey boxer-shorts abandoned in front of my changing peg I don't think I was alone in feeling rather let down after the assurances made over the winter. Still, best not be too judgemental too soon eh?! Anyway, there was at least a smart new scoreboard for Ron to get to grips with!

A few lines on the cricket then I suppose... PPCC won the toss and invited their hosts to bowl at them on a slowish deck fairly close to the gun-toting farmer's sheep field. Ryan and Mark bowled their opening spells very economically but the f&g spinners found the slow nature of the pitch not particularly to their taste, and their attempts to bowl quicker meant that their control wasn't all they'd have liked it to have been but despite a few full-bungers getting the deserved treatment PP didn't exactly pull away too far ahead.

Fortunately, the conditions suited Ian's quicker arm and an early season bonus was that Macca hit the ground running and was rewarded with a deserved wicket during his second spell, only the fact that the shorter boundary was impossible to effectively defend meant that his figures didn't reflect his quality. Mark and Ryan shared five wickets with two of Ryan's coming courtesy of Keith's smart glovework, effecting two stumpings (!!) both of which Ryan appeared to be a pleased with but I know a few opening bowlers who perhaps wouldn't have been keen to over-celebrate such an achievement!

Ian Mac smartly effected a run out and indeed, the fielding in general was pretty impressive first time out... Ian & The DoC pulled off some heroic stops, Mark showed us that anything within reach still wouldn't get past him no matter how hard it was travelling and Dave showed us again that no chase was beyond him but the star was Russ, a bundle of energy all afternoon he truly led by example, capping his display with a smart catch. Having watched Beechwood captains for fifteen years only move their arms during overs this was a breath of fresh air indeed. Not even Bradley's back, which forced him into a state of incapacitation, nor a couple of spills could smear the hosts' efforts in the field on a hot if by no means harsh afternoon. PPCC closed on a challenging 185-7 from 40 overs with a 90-run second-wicket partnership between Jones (43) and Cheeseman (80) and a late 23 from Nicholls being the most productive.

After tea, Beechwood attempted to chase down their testing target with Adrian being partnered by Paul first up. Reports varied as to how long it had been since Paul had last played, ranging between 5-10 years but whatever the length of absence, he certainly didn't look out of sorts and although his contribution was a mere single it was within a handy opening partnership which at least got Beechwood on the board and up to 30. Unfortunately, both openers fell on this score but Russ with some gritty and sometimes teasing help from Ian put on a further 50. Russ and Ryan added a further 50 themselves and this pair were making things look fairly straightforward if by no means easy and it was a huge blow when Russ was adjudged trapped in front for a well-made 56 leaving Beechwood tantalisingly poised on 131-4.

Dave was next in and actually applied himself pretty well to the situation and with the aid of Ryan's nous, these two propelled us ever closer before Dave's dismissal left the hosts on 152-5 requiring roughly one a ball. Enter Bradley, christened Pte Godfrey in the field by the DoC, he was always going to struggle with the running side of things and perhaps the inevitable happened just three runs later when he was unable to complete the called for second run and had to send back his partner who alas, was short of his ground. It was a well-made 38 that Ryan had contributed but his dismissal probably realistically made only two results possible by now unless Bradley could tee us off towards the finish line... Mark joined him but Bradley unfortunately couldn't swing us home and yours truly found himself elevated to attempt a do-or-die final push for the runs. My eyes lit up when faced with one slightly back of a length, hence die rather than do was the inevitable result and while the shot played may have been somewhat typical of a 55-year old village bowler (or Bobby Robbo in his pomp), it wasn't one I'd exactly favoured up until this day! Luckily Keith joined Mark for the necessary rearguard in order to salvage a draw, Beechwood closing on 167-8, so close and yet.....

An exciting opening fixture then, far more so than initially could have been imagined and hats off to Penshurst for their sporting effort, skilful cricket and sociable manner. We wish them well for the summer. Thanks again to Ryan and Paul who came to our aid and hopefully they both enjoyed their day in spite of their mixed fortunes. It was also great to see Sean Cowell plus Stu and the boys along with Colin W. pop along to support us (Almost as many former players on parade as members!)

Thanks also to Lyn, who managed to make tea provided by three of Beechwood's least domesticated souls look almost presentable. As the day wound to a close the only real things of note were Adrian realising he was in fact missing a pair of grey boxer-shorts (I did ask!) and a curious Ian discovering that the padlock combination was indeed the VERY SAME as the ground entry one - just AFTER everyone had cold showered!! (Thanks Brad!)

Stay loose for Loose...

Last Updated on Thursday, 10 May 2018 19:55
 
 

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