Woodpeckers v Tadworth, Sunday September 8th 2019
As Summer starts to give way to Autumn and the cricket season comes to a close, the fixture list brings us to Tadworth. There seems to be something about this ground that produces exciting cricket, and this was a real thriller with the game going to the last ball.
We were sporting two debutantes as Spinach recruited two Uni Mates, James ’Mitchy’ Mitchell and his house mate James ’Ritchie’ . It was also great to have Tadworth specialists Pet Shop and Huggy back after a few years on the sidelines. Captain Patrick wisely decided to bowl first as we weren’t sure about the strength of the opposition, which hinted at a strong batting lineup. Their openers were certainly an eclectic pair, with one barely able to get it off the square at all, and the other seemingly in a rush to catch an early train.
On a good pitch, young Baker hit through the line of everything and quickly amassed 38 off just 28 balls, in an opening stand of 40. He was undone by the wily Chris ‘Tiddles’ Palmer (2-37), who held one back and yorked him as he tried another big shot. Sander picked up the pace and put on 55 for the second wicket, before he was caught off Henry ‘Henners’ Walpole (1-43) at mid on by the skipper, making up for an earlier miss. 95-2 off 17.
Patrick tried different bowling combinations to keep the batsmen guessing, but we tended to offer one boundary ball per over, and the score kept climbing. The Robinsons didn’t always look secure, but they punished the bad ball for a 3rd wicket partnership of 87 in 13 overs. 182-3 with 5 to go.
Our fielding did appear to be sponsored by Saga at times, but we stuck to it. The fact that we were chasing only 216 was partly due to a fight back in the last 5 overs as Chris ‘Spinach’ Wilton returned for another spell and picked up 4 important late wickets to finish with 4-43. The 6 foot 4 Ritchie also bowled tidily down the hill on debut . The asking rate was therefore just over 6 per over.
Over an excellent tea, and as the Old Trafford test moved towards an exciting finish with the England rearguard action. This was a definite podium finish for tea of the season -A great sandwich platter backed by fresh Fruits, Cheese Board and a stunning array of freshly made cakes including Carrot and Lemon Drizzle -very pleased we’d fielded first.
Captain POB had the innovative idea to ask Spinach to open up in a ‘pinch hitter’ role (promoted from 11 to 1) in combination with Shaun ‘SP’ Paterson, who was playing in front of his parents and they thrilled the crowd with some aggressive batting in an opening stand of 63 in 10 overs. Spinach hit 2 big maximums in his 28 (38 balls), while SP was all along the floor with 4 fours in his 30 (32 balls). They fell in consecutive overs, which brought Henners and Hugo ‘Huggy’ Petshop together.
Henners is top of the 2019 Pecker batting averages and it showed here. His 55 came off just 32 balls, and it gave us excellent momentum. Huggy was having his first proper bat of the season, but it didn’t show as he gave the strike to Henners and then played the anchor role to last to the final over. Their 3rd wicket partnership of 87 left 66 off the last 10 overs. Karl (with a K) Knight fell quickly, so Captain POB joined Huggy. They hustled and ran well in a 50 partnership for the 5th wicket in 7 overs.
Patrick (26) was undone by a slower ball (or ‘pie’, depending on your perspective) to his obvious frustration. 18 needed off the last 3 overs.
Huggy reached his 50 off 65 balls and he clearly enjoys batting at Tadworth, where he also scored 50 a few years ago. James ‘Mitchie’ Mitchell had earlier kept wicket for the first time this season commendably well, but with the bat he was ‘run out’ when, from a distance it seemed that 1) no one had bothered to appeal and 2) he wasn’t out.
However he had to go for 3, which left Huggy with Tiddles, now needing 8 off the last over. Alas Huggy perished first ball for 58, bringing Old Man Mark Petshop to the crease. An arthritic run 2 was followed by a noble swipe to deep mid wicket - a yard either side and the game was won, but it went straight down 72 year old Williams’ throat, who managed to spot it looking directly into the low sunlight for a remarkable catch. 6 required with 2 balls to go, but Tiddles and James ‘Ritchie’ couldn’t find the boundary required for the victory. So we ended just 3 runs short in a gripping chase.
A cracking game and thanks to all who came to support, including the Walpole parents, the Paterson parents, the LP Brian himself, Zoe and the terriers, and to Jim for umpiring. A special mention to Spinach who recruited two great lads, drove us there and recorded his best ever batting and bowling figures for the Peckers