5TH OF JULY 2015

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.

The Peckers support crew where in good attendance with Girdle umpiring throughout the game, Pugh senior, TOB senior, POB’s mother (Barbara) sister and family, Borgav and family, The Colin’s girlfiend Kirstie and my own family there. Immers’ lovely mother Anna And Sisters Shirin and Sharaya. Plus  Puglets too.

Following a scorching week of sun and the joys of a wonderful British summer of sport ahead of us, the troops arrived tardily for the 12:30 advertised picnic. With many a pork pie, sausage roll and the odd vegetable samosa still to be consumed, POB won the toss and elected us to bat in a 40 over game. There have been a lot of draws at Blackheath this year and we wanted to bat first (picnic)so  I suggested overs to guarantee a result
This caused me some initial trepidation as I was rather heavy headed from a day at Wimbledon and a “Party to Dawn” 40th on a friend’s vineyard. Swampy on the other hand was raring to go, despite having replaced hit jet-lag with London-lag. He does like to hit it hard when he’s here

Blackheath opened up with the captain McRea, a pacey Aussie and a left hander at the other end. I opened with our international hung over batsman keeper combo, aussie swamp and Irish South African Indian Immers.   At 38 - 0 and having set a good opening foundation Swampy who’d struck 2 great straight drives holed one to a fielder,  

To the crease came the big hitting Colin, who faced the legspin of a 16 year old lad from Charterhouse (Melhuish), who generated some genuine spin and rip off the pitch. Colin had an almighty swing and was stumped (0) Umpire Girdle had no hesitation

55 – 2 and in strode Cuddy for his second bat of the year.  I got my 50n and a sudden rush of blood to my dehydrated head. A swing and another stumping, as Girdle lifted his ominous finger at square leg, A fantastic innings and 2nd 50 in a row for Immers, showing his dislike of running with 11 fours in his 50  Melhuish had has second wicket via stumping for the day at 96 – 3.

Cuddy drove several balls as hard as I have seen them hit, his weight loss and keenness for the game shining through. Meanwhile AJ, who showed that moving one’s feet is an advantage started to take apart their attack. 

Blackheath brought on their secret weapon, Brown who ended up with 4 – 55. You may be thinking he was a pace bowler or a spinner but he was neither. Rarely have we seen such grenades thrown with such little pace. They had significant loft and often failed to pitch but as we all know they can be the very hardest to hit and so it proved. Catches where given but either due to strategic placement of a little luck, fell short of fielders or where spilled.

The runs raced on and Cuddy scored a wonderful 55 while AJ came up just short of his 50 at 48, caught off their captain McRea who had changed down a gear to try offspin. 

Tatey came in and eyed up the houses with his huge drives, ,  Partnered by TOB who was in fine hitting form also, they continued the big hitting boundary fest.
Tatey got himself to 49 and was victim to one of the grenades from Brown. (although I hear he was dropped six times ) 
190 – 6 and Meakers managed to fall to another from Brown for 0. He sportingly walked

The tail had some wag left in it and Toby O-B hit 17, Pugh was out LBW for 3 , POB hit a quick 18 before being caught and Runkie stroked a glorious boundary leaving us with what we thought was a rather respectable 277.

278 to win and at 7 an over we where sitting pretty.

We celebrated Sebby Scovell’s 10th birthday with a delicious chocolate cake at tea time.

Pugh and Meaker’s opened up well but failed to get a breakthrough despite a couple of half chances, including one off Pugh which I should have taken to my right at 1st slip. 58 – 0  and a change was needed.

AJ and Taters where brought on as first change. Good line and length as we have become accustomed to by AJ but a few boundaries off his first and still no break through. In stepped Taters as Melhuish -   shouldered arms to a sharp Taters turner. 66 -1.In came their captain McRea at 3 and another strong partnership was formed as they raced past the 100 mark.

Runky came on and   dismissed their opener with an edge behind to Swampy , a great catch, Swampy not being an orthodox keeper was wandering somewhere between 1st and 2nd slip when the batsman edged the ball and a he took a beauty 

The Big Aussie McRea began seeing it very well and hit 3 sixes including a monster into the grey house that left a big Cherry below the roof line,  
 Taters then got one to keep low and bowl Mcrae with the 4th wicket at 154 – 4. 

It was all getting a bit close, time to batten down the hatches and stem the runs. Runkle who was efficient as ever had two very poor pieces of fielding. I proved that a long barrier in the covers with a foot wide gap is pointless as I let one though the covers. Sorry Runks. (at least 5  nominations for the Peckers long barrier colander award…)

But the highlight would have been when Cuddy   launched one in from the boundary.. Somehow Toby   managed to avoid being hit at the last minute, Swampy missed it behind the stumps, Meaks missed it backing up and POB (had his back turned and was shouting at the dog Pepper to get off the pitch  ) was oblivious as the ball travelled the length of the pitch for 5!!!!!! . Later The Colin tried valiantly to make a diving catch which he ended head butting over the boundary for 4. Brown and Poic had moved the score on quickly and we were in big trouble as they only needed 60 off 8 overs with 6 wickets in hand…  Swamp suggested Meaker’s full straight stuff. , Brown drove Meakers 2nd ball to Long off and the safe hands of Doby…a crucial wicket
AJ put his back into it and bowled Poic, managing to  break middle stump. 36 needed off the last 6 balls. Runkle back into the attack, 1st ball cleanly hit to Cuddy on the boundary, who caught it and tippled over the line with cramp signaling 6.  3rd ball hit big but Taters tipped over the crossbar on the boundary

A great win and a great game. Well done Skip and one and all. 

Peckers 277 all out defeated Blackheath 254 for 6 by 23 runs
Great batting Immers, Cuddy, AJ and Taters , catching TOB and a lovely spell  by Meakers, the Brook/Blackheath/Tilford Specialist  (anything Posh near Guildford) . And an excellent match report thanks Immers

7 wins and a draw in 9 matches super effort Peckers-1/2 way to a record season