We arrived at Chertsey to be welcomed by a packed clubhouse due to a training session being held for various ages of the club. It was good to see the club thriving, especially as it is one of the oldest clubs in the land (founded in 1737) and even boasts inventing the middle stump 39 years after its inception .
After the season opener at Sanderstead, where our abject batting performance being put down to 11 Peckers arriving without hangovers, this week, we decided to revert back to default hoping we could match Jos Buttler’s exploits from the day before.
We had Pugs of two generations, el Colleens younger brother Alex (and fiancee) supporting, Swampy Marsh over from Singapore who was to keep the stumps and Spinach’s mate Macca. Macca and Alex were on debut .
The pitch was unlike many had seen before, extremely green, fairly soft, and looked like it would cause all sorts of issues for the batsmen. In fact, some on closer inspection we were confused as to which strip was to be played on, save for the stumps (all 6) which had been drilled in.
On to the match, the Woodpeckers fielded first and faced a youthful side which included two brothers who squabbled throughout (more on that later) and one of which was the captain. We opened up with yours truly (Spinach) and SP. Unfortunately, I failed to hold up my end and went to all parts of the ground, with a fielding change after only the 3rd ball of the innings by POBsy to remove the 2nd slip and provide damage limitation on the leg side.( I should have stuck a couple in the Wendy House) Safe to say, I was more than happy that this was not being filmed like at Sanderstead CC. After the batsmen lapped up the plethora of full tosses, I was removed after 4 overs with Chertsey on 73-0 off 8 overs. Pugsy and SP made the breakthrough in the 10th and 11th over to stem the onslaught. However, the worst was to come with their in-form batsman coming to the crease, and he was unfortunate not to score a century, before being caught, bowled by Fish.
Other notable highlights included PUG junior’s bowling. Despite only turning into double figures of age very recently, his tight lines restricted the batsmen who struggled to get anything but singles. Fantastic spell by Chuggy . POBsy took an excellent one-handed catch on the boundary despite Henner’s best efforts to also catch it. Fish and Henners both took excellent catches too.
Spinach ended up being involved in one of the more controversial events of the match whilst returning with his second spell. Latham, one of the more senior members of the Chertsey team, turned down a single whilst at the non-strikers end. However, unfortunately for him hadn’t quite realised he hadn’t returned to his crease and Spinach took this opportunity to run him out. There were parallels of the infamous ‘Mankad’ incident, especially as after a brief discussion about calling him back, we awaited the new batsman.
After the 40 overs Chertsey ended on a decent 230, considering the outfield was incredibly slow this was quite impressive.Bowling stats –PUGsy 24-2, SP 36- 2, Henners 48-1 and Fish 7-1.
Even with 230 the target, we thought with a good start, we could give ourselves a very good chance. We opened up with el Colleen and his younger brother Alex who started well with a couple of nicely timed boundaries. However, a classic Woodpecker collapse left the team 5 down with only 50 runs on the board. Both openers were caught, El Collleen not shaking off the Woodpecker of the year Curse in game one and Fish suffered a golden duck after being given lbw, plum in front, triggered by Spinach. Henners got off to a nice start with a maximum and another boundary but was also caught and Marsh scored 2 runs and suffered the same fate. Their opening pair had all 5 wickets with Mukund achieving impressive figures of 3-15 at the end of his spell
Worryingly, a score below the season opener at Sanderstead (89) looked a real possibility and we needed to stop the rot fast. With bated breath, PUGsy joined POBsy out in the middle, and the two managed to survive a few overs. With this, confidence grew and with some good stroke play and some large 6s from PUGsy both batsmen reached their half century’s with little trouble (51 and 72 respectively). It was Pug’s 1st ever 50 for the Peckers and indeed as an adult, and contained 5 6s mixed with sensible defence. It was a new Pug with his son on debut and he coached me between overs on how we could achieve a victory. This partnership did nothing for the relationship between the two brothers who seemed to enjoy it when each other got hit for boundaries but it was all positive for the Peckers!
However, once both were caught, the run rate started to rise dramatically with 8 an over needed off the last 10. SP needed a runner, so Spinach provided this after being caught out. Safe to say SP has never before recorded so many 3s playing for the Peckers!
With just under two overs remaining and over 40 needed, PUGsy Jnr came out at 11 to join Macca and got his first run for the Peckers with a lovely on-drive for a single. The innings came to a close with the Peckers reaching 188 off 40 overs.
Batting stats – PUGsy 72, POBsy 51, Macca 12*, Henners 11
Chertsey CC 230-7 beat Woodpeckers 188-9 by 42 runs