There are four pubs within 250ms of Ripley’s ground and not one Woodie was seen in any of them before the 1 pm start for a pre match totty. The bars of the oldest, the Talbot founded in 1453, The Anchor (1570), The Jolly Sailor and The Half Moon were almost empty.
Forty five minutes before the start, most of our players were either practicing in the nets or standing out on the pitch examining it. Itshowed that they were determined not to repeat last year’s humiliating defeat by 63 runs ‘ we was robbed Guv the wicket fell apart after tea’ and establishrecords of fourteen wins and only one defeat.
Woodies – Tadworth 2015 by Life President and Patrick Owen Browne (in italics)
Autumn had arrived and in the days leading up to the game we were switching on our central heating but as the large entourage of grandmothers, mothers, fathers, tiny tots and supporters turned up the drifting white clouds finally departed leaving one Tadworth tea lady saying “you’ve brought the nicest weather of the summer, not too hot and not too cold.”
Woodies – Withyham 2015
Report by LP, Pob in italics
Having seen last week’s match cancelled at Dunsfold when the sun came out early in the afternoon, we were lucky this week that the forecast changed and we had a dry day
The start was brought forward to 1pm and eight players arrived well before the start. Cousin Dave Holme’s Land Rover drove up a short time later bearing a new recruit, his great Colchesterfloppy haired mate Archie –nicknamed ‘Colly’ ,who works for a company which manufactures large tiles which produces electricity,
One player was missing but still believed to be alive - Neil Runkel.
The conditions at Teddington’s ground in Bushy Park were similar to the day Alastair Cook sent in the Aussies at Trent Bridge and snatched the Ashes back ten days earlier. The flat pitch had a bit of moisture, there was plenty of cloud cover and you might remember that Michael Clarke’s shattered batters were bowled out for 60.
SIR HENRY NEWBOLT MEETS DELIVERANCE
‘THERE'S a breathless hush in the Close to-night –
Ten to make and the match to win –
But his Captain's hand on his shoulder smote "Play up! Play up! and play the game!"
‘15 to win and one over to bowl
‘Come on, Windy, help us reach our goal.’
Great to see so many regulars had managed to skive off work for this prestigious Thursday fixture. All but the ever-late Runky arrived at the Bat & Ball pub for a pre-game lunch on a warm overcast afternoon on Broadpennyhalf Down. Famously known as the Cradle of Cricket, there was even a professional film crew to capture our exploits.
The rather picturesque setting of Blackheath Cricket Club is not to be mistaken with its namesake located near Greenwich. For Blackheath CC is to be found in the area of outstanding beauty in the Surrey Hills.
Their head groundsman Terry, was out preparing the wicket upon our arrival and understandably they have previously won the accolade of “Best Kept Village Cricket Ground”. It was with this in mind, that he scorned POB niece Zoe riding her bike across the middle whilst POB was sending “Peppa” (while he housesits and dog watches for Potty) to all corners of the large ground chasing the ball.
A challenging day for the Gs
Two of our antipodean players Dr Alex Jay of Australia and Hamish Roberts of New Zealand thought Marlow Park’s ground was fabulous. “Never seen anything like it,” they agreed. Right on one of the most beautiful parts of the Thames and surrounded with a variety of picturesque trees next to a children’s fair ground and filled with families having picnics it encompassed the best features of Sunday friendly cricket.
The 19th July marked the inaugural Woodpeckers International. Teams from Pakistan, Australia, India and Niger were unable to find the ground so it was left to Woodpeckers UK and Woodpeckers Singapore to slug out the final at Ashtead Park. 38 overs each of IPL quality cricket to determine the trophy holders.
With a dashing cut of a blazer and degree of confident swagger the Singaporeans strolled onto the paddock looking absolutely resplendent. I came in from my Potty/Peppa housesit feeling a bit shady after a spicy curry and ashes nerves had given me a restless night, we found Motty. Cousin and cousin Simon eating foot long breakfast baps, luckily there was a smidgen left for us. We then got a bit lost following a death sat nav idea, 15 minutes later than planned and looking at the entire Aussie team inspecting the wicket resplendent in their beige/off-white bone or ivory blazers –(apparently a tribute to Richie Benaud)...and their beautiful wives and children playing in front of the pavilion I felt much like the England team 20-3 The Brits watched on in silence sizing up their opposition. The tension could be cut with a knife…..until Cousin Dave rounded the corner with the makings of a cracking bar and jugs of homebrew! Hooray Dave!
East Horsley appears in Domesday Book of 1086 , Its assets were: 3 hides and 1½ virgates; 8½ ploughs, woodland worth 50 hogs. It rendered £5 per year to its overlords.The village is the site of Horsley Park, a gothic mansion bought by. William Currie, a distiller and banker in 1784 (you’d have loved him Windy!)
It is similarly well heeled these day as we drive down Pennymead Drive past the multi- million pound mansions, into this rich heart of the stockbroker belt. Horsley is an excellent tennis club too, and the annual championships were being played. The car parks were busting and and there were a large crowd of well heeled Horsleyians assembled, including some lovely ladies catching the eye of single peckers.
Old Paulines v Peckers 14t June 2015
A rather tired POB (from a 3 day 3 night session of all sorts- triggered by his good friend - the chief organiser of the Oval’s best hospitality suite) led half the peckers to somewhere near Heathrow. A brace of emergency ubers shortly arrived at Feltham train station to take us the 8 miles to where we were meant to have got the train to - Thames Ditton - the 'collets sports centre' home ground of girdles beloved Old Pauline’s. oh dear sorry lads A 70 something year old man in budgy smugglers exiting the leisure pool on arrival...
It was magnificent weather for the Woodpeckers 50th anniversary game at Tilford, possible the most scenic ground in the South of England. A large crowd had gathered on the green and outside the Barley Mow pub as we arrived in the Cyoungy-mobile. Charlie was feeling fragile after a skinful and a late night altercation with the bouncers at the Lost Angel. An Octet of peckers gathered in the garden of the Barley Mow for the pre game shandy. (Cyoungy wolfed down the roast pork) It was great to see Cuddy playing his 1st game of the year with his badly damaged knee.
We feared the worst as we woke up to rain on Sunday, but Headley’s chairman Andy Pickering said “we now have covers and it will dry up. “ So we set off to the beauty spot overlooking overlooking Box Hill.
From 1 the rain came and went and the covers were on and off like a whore’s drawers for the next 90 minutes. James Midner, their skipper just back from honeymoon from California, said there were muddy patches next to the covered pitch, possibly presenting a health and safety issue.
The birds were twittering away in beautiful Ashdown Forest when “Cousin” Dave Holme’s Land Rover arrived with most of the team. With a wine-fortified picnic, our big hitters soon hit the top notes, almost emulating the feat of Ben Stokes who scored the fastest Test 100 at Lord’s around the same time.
Our Pecker Packer appears to have solved many of our travel worries. It holds nine and it is exempt from the congestion charge. Said “Cousin” “It’s about twenty years old and some time ago it found itself in the sea at Mersea, in Essex and I claimed on my insurance for a new engine. It now has a reconditioned engine which will last another 100,000 miles. Land Rovers are in demand these days.”
Last season one of their Hoggets struck a monumental six on the East side of this stunning ground and it landed on the back of the neck of an Aberdeen Angus cow. The batsman named Watson Briggs apologized and said “Apparently it seems to be unaffected.” Play was duly resumed.
Cow corner- the area of the field (roughly) between deep mid-wicket and wide long-on. So called because few 'legitimate' shots are aimed to this part of the field, so fielders are rarely placed there – leading to the concept that cows could happily graze in that area. The phrase is rumoured to have been created on the fields of Dulwich College.
The proprietor of the famous coaching alehouse the Dog and Pheasant put up bunting alongside the south side of the cricket ground to celebrate VE Day and we were delighted to be at one of the most picturesque grounds in the country
Dan Wren, Brook’s captain inserted us and their bowlers, a mix of young and old, including a Zimbabian and two Pakistanis, struggled manfully against our new opening pair AOB and Immy Arbee, who previously played for both Marlow Park, whom we play, and Marlow CC. Immy lives in Maida Vale and plays a lot of T20 Big Bash cricket and he soon showed his ABV style strokeplay, mainly high and straight. He was caught in the deep for 46 at 76-1.
A barrage of abuse from the heavens the previous evening, Sanderstead covers had stood to attention nobly. Protecting a green and lively wicket, a perhaps questionable game was to go ahead, with MOST peckers thrilled to be a part of the opening 2015 fixture. A butterfly, or a woodpecker on honeymoon in the Caribbean must have been guffing, as it was windier than a ... It was bloody blowy!
A gentlemen's agreement put the peckers into bat, though controversial with some of the Owen Browne clan as the feeling was the wicket was to be avoided...We are often stronger than Sanderstead and I wanted to ensure everyone got a bat. The team had 3 Holmes and 3 OBs, and a distinctly youthful look with me and Al the senior Pros by a good decade.