In the absence of ‘David Hughes (Club Secretary) and author of humorous match reports’ (as quoted from page 46 of David Levison’s Book ‘Remarkable Cricket Grounds’), it lies to me to fill you in with the basic match facts & stats. So if its humour you are looking for, look away now.
As we rocked up in the Cotswolds with a strong side to see 3 (very) youngsters in whites and others seemingly passed their best before date, thoughts of a humiliating one sided affair took shape. This was further emphasised after hearing stories of the oppo staying up all night in the clubhouse to celebrate their league side’s promotion and somehow swallowing keys along the way. With an early wicket falling to Bethel, we all wondered why we had bothered with concern over whether they would score enough to allow many of us to wield a bat.
We needn’t have worried.
Six followed four followed six as a century stand ran us ragged and only came to an end after 25 overs of hard leather chasing and long grass rummaging. Last week’s heros Walker and Weedon along with JVF collectively took one for the team during this passage of play during which we also witnessed a scene that might have been played out on the South Lawn itself. An overseas tourist-cum-spectator situated behind the bowlers arm and paying scant attention to the game, took, on the chest, the full force of a(nother) powerful lofted drive. It was the closest we had got to catching him out all afternoon. We all wish Sarah a speedy recovery and thank our lucky stars the turn of events didn’t turn out worse. Bruised ribs aside we can (hopefully) laugh about it now but at the time …
After yet another maximum off the Rhino which saw the retirement of the (by now) centurion it was left to Rhino & Cox (Snr) to clear up the mess and remarkably Cox took a 3-fer (‘three-for …’) – cleverly changing pace & flight to out-wit the pre-teenage batters at the other end. Rhino would have joined or even trumped him on a 3-fer had it not been for Jibber Bethel shelling two sitters at mid-off. For any Sheepscombe players reading this – it wasn’t a thinly veiled scheme to avoid the centurion coming back in – he just really is that rubbish at catching.
We can laugh about it now but at the time …
Catches were taken by both Spearmans, and JVF with an Angol run out ensuring the total remained below 200, but by posting 184 off 35 the hosts had given us every opportunity to show off our own batting skills.
However, we also suffered an early wicket – with Bethel turned victim rather than victor. At 20-2 with Boardman also in the shed we were rapidly becoming second favourites but Burgess and Wes Spearman repaired the damage with their own array of boundaries until Burgess (39) expertly picked out the boundary fielder who was possibly the only one who would have caught it. West similarly found the lone boundary fielder whilst Cox & Vaughan-Fowler both appeared to be auditioning for the new series of Strictly – JVF performing a lovely pirouette in front of his stumps while Cox (23) unusually left his crease before executing his best Bambi-on-Ice impression and being stumped.
So, 127 -6 with 15 overs remaining it was still anyone’s game. Wes was still there and he shepherded the tail – apart from Walker whom he ran out – but a 32 run partnership from Wes ‘n’ Weedon got us tantalisingly close.
With 20 still required Angol joined Spearman with only Spearman-the-elder and 7 overs still to come. We needn’t have worried as Wes picked out a fielder who couldn’t catch to bring up his 50 and Stan larruped one square for four and we were home and dry with fully four overs to spare.
A cracking game, in a cracking location, in cracking weather. But, we hope, no cracked ribs.