Report by POB, LP in Italics
Sunday morning proved to be more emotional than the average Woodpecker outing: details of the horrific terrorist attack in London Bridge the previous evening were still filtering through, and I was preparing to unveil a bench dedicated to my dear parents at Headley. My dad loved playing cricket at Headley with his Nomads, and now the Woodpeckers love the annual trip to Box Hill; some of my happiest memories have come from games there.
There was a strong Antipodean contingent to the Peckers side, maybe for our time growing up in Perth, with bro-in-law Dickie Parker, Tiddles now father of two , Hamish the Kiwi Cameraman and ‘Cracker’ a Singapore Pecker on debut. This meant we had to find three lots of kit . Hamish eventually settled into Cousin le David’s size 14 Golf Shoes. Pug, Runky , AOB, Motty, Cous, POB and Cannon made up a heavy bowling artillery with questionable batting ..
But we were all there on time (except Runky –standard) so I decided to insert a strong Headley side looking for five wins on the bounce so we could socialise well after tea and our barrage of medium pacers could enjoy the new ball. Doby ‘kindly’ sub fielded for the Runk, and it was lovely to see Maz and their lovely Winnie making her Peckers Debut aged 6months.
I restored Motty to opening bowler and he bowled beautifully downwind with great rhythm (starting with three maidens) frequently beating the bat, and Pug returning for his first game of the year and was also decent.
We didn’t get any joy from the umpires on LBWs, and I had an underarm laser runout denied.
Tiddles spell matured like a full-bodied claret, shaping it nicely but couldn’t get the break through and Hamish the Kiwi steaming downhill also luckless; Crackers spilling a difficult chance and Tiddles also, before Hamo injured himself in his last over.
Headley had slowly built the score to 79-0 off 22 when I got the twirlymen on. The Beeearon suffered a few early blows but was rewarded in his 3rd over for his flight and guile, bowling Calvert for 67. You could hear the drums he repeated the feat next over clean bowling Fernando
Ali had other opener Pickering well caught by Motty for 48 and then trapped Dickinson LBW also for a duck….130-4, we were back in the game.
Steve Barton came in and began to take the long handle to both the spinners, hitting 5 6’s in his quick-fire 47. .if Pug had been back on the boundary we may have had a chance (though he claims it stopped him dropping it) and cousin le David took a fabulous catch overhead off Al and then stepped onto the fence….Doh
I turned to my brother in law Dickie who hadn’t played for 2 years but in his last two games had worked magic with his gentle medium taking 8 wickets. The magic was still there as 1st ball Tiddles redeemed himself pouching a catch at mid-wicket and it could have been 2 for Dickie in one over as other bro-in law Ali dropped a sitter at Long On (very rare for him)
Dickie continued to bowl well (3 overs 1-8) and Cousin le David gambolled in for one before Headley declared at 201-5. Not a bad effort by the Peckers but could have been better with some luck and pouched chances
We had a magnificent and lovely crowd of supportersassembled with OBs/Coxes -POB, Mel, Dinkie, Bella (Seymour), Zozzy (Orson), Doby, Maz, Winnie-Twiglet, Boss, Queen Kindly, Uncle Toad and Auntie Jayne, Scovells LP, Borgav, Lou, Sebby, Lourdes and Gabi
Pugs-Pug, Mans, Elpie, Chuggy, Sampy and Lady Pugetta (not allowed G and T), Jessie Gowars- The Old Horse, Freddie Boom-Boom , Jack, Mikey, Hazza and Sophie plus great Peckers of yesteryear John Peters the leg spinning slogger, Nigel ‘put the Dibbly in Dobbly’ Phethean with Jeannette, Jim ‘Gloves’ Baker, Immers and Paul and Ruth Richardson –hope I haven’t missed anyone?
Congratulations to Pob for laying on a splendid unveiling of a Teak Bench dedicated to “Colin and Barbara Owen-Browne” which will be placed near to the pavilion. He made a nice, loving speech about his wonderful parents and Sir Michael Pickard, the Headley President and former chairman of Sears and London Docklands, spoke about the twins Colin and Kim, who was present with his wife Joan, and their long throwing prowess sixty years ago when he was playing against them.
Pinch Hitter Cannon didn’t last the 1st over and Cousin Le David joined Ali and resplendent in Charles Tyrwhitt started striking it cleanly. He quickly moved to 34 before he holed out. Dickie Parker (former top-class baseballer) was elevated to 4 and also struck some early blows including a magnificent 6.
We were 70 for 2 and looking strong when our nemesis struck…the Peckers collapse. Ali was caught behind for a hard fought 19 and then Crackers joined Dickie and some comedy running ensued (one speaks Tasmanian and the other New South Welsh). There was much confusion before Crackers departed for 8 .Pug didn’t lurk long for 1, Dickie was given LBW for an excellent 25 then I missed a straight one for a duck before Tiddles joined the duck club 2 balls later.
105-8 and it was total chaos. I hurried the pads (we only had 3 sets) onto Hamish and eventually found Cous’s golf shoes which he was wearing while supping a Doom Bar Cous’s golf shoes with the lovely Taramasata-Tamsin his new GF ,, only to see that Beearon had promoted himself to 10 and was striding out to the middle…Motty assumed he was in his usual place 11, and went for it striking some beautiful 4s and 6s, before he was bowled for 30, but he stayed to run for the injured Hamish.
So 120-9 chasing 202 with 17 overs left, an injured Kiwi and a specialist no 11 at the crease –game over right??
Well the Beearon used to be an opener and simply loves the opportunity to bat out for a draw and show the benefits of his beloved declaration cricket. He played a glorious straight bat to balls on the stumps and thrust his pad to get outside the line for balls spearing in. Meanwhile at the other End the stricken Hamish was missing belligerent defence with some wonderful drives on both sides of the ground and the scoreboard began to tick, and the number of overs remaining diminished.
The assembled crowd began to realise that miraculously these two heroes were keeping us in the game, and with six overs to go and 50 required Cannon asked me for odds on a Peckers Victory and had a fiver at 12-1. The beearon had no thoughts of a win except when he got an overpitched ball outside the off stump and played some glorious cover drives.
Incredibly they saw the majority of the overs out with little alarm and us to within 30 of the required total until the final ball when there was a massive appeal for lbw. The Headley Umpire……..gave it not out
A glorious glorious draw and Runky and Hamish who put on 53 for the 10th wicket (the 2nd best in Pecker History)and lasting 17 overs was surely a record.
We stayed for Ale, Sausages and even stopped for one at the Alma, where I signed up an Aussie, Kiwi and Sri Lankan for future matches.
A wonderful end to an incredible day. Thank you to all the spectators and players who came along and made it so.
An amazing thing happened afterwards. Louise was driving us home through Burgh Heath when a massive, double rainbow appeared and stayed with us for more than twenty minutes on the journey. She said “That’s Barbara - her favourite DH Lawrence book was “The Rainbow.” Coming into Croydon a car was coming the other way with a registration starting “Aud” - that’s my late wife who was one of Barbara’s best friend. They were beautiful, much loved ladies who was always laughing.
10th wicket heroes and their able runner Passe-Partout
I think my folks enjoyed it too.
Hamish collecting MOM award…the last sausage