25TH OF MAY, 2015
Report by LP, Pob in italics
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.”
Alex Jay, son of Mike, also a doctor living in Adelaide, had plenty experience of travelling rough Down Under and relished the UK version. Match manager Windy brought two new talents, the Elliott brothers, Olly and Joe who excelled in the field.
I had sent an email pleading with the team not to be too drunk for strong team Hatch and this was a red rag to the Windy Bull. He encouraged all to drink as much as possible, and we also enjoyed an incredible picnic that Windy and the new Mrs Windy had prepared –Marinated bonless chicken thighs, a spicy potato salad , pigs in blankets chicken avocado and smoked salmon dill cream cheese sanis, and Adrienne Elliott had prepared a delicious Pesto Pasts salad. After all that the team begged me to bat first and after I won and consented, the Hatch captain Kevin’s favourite quote was Windy loudly announcing.. ‘great I can open the 2nd bottle of Rose now –he’d already had 4 ciders , 2 pimms and most of the first bottle.
Kevin Francis is an accurate medium fast bowler with good control (he had two regulations catches dropped by keeper Rog in the first 4 overs)but two wickets fell to the elderly slow bowler Bob Young whose six overs cost 71 runs. Both openers were well caught by Anderson. Matt Coates was the first to go for 5 and Imran, having punched 6 x 4s in his 26, pulled straight and hard into the fielder’s midriff.
The next hour was mayhem. TOB started started blazing away and two of his six sixes went over high trees and landed in the grounds of the massive house in the rear. “It’s owned by our President who isn’t a cricketer but it’s a good way to keep onside with him,” said one of their fielders.” Our undamaged shiny ball, so far, was each time retrieved. Alex, tall and upright, has a commendable pick up and most of his powerful shots were played with a straight bat. He soon piled up a host of fours and the third wicket stand passed fifty, then a hundred. Francis took himself off to retire to the boundaries and the chatty fifteen year old Lex Wills from the first team of Worth School near Crawley was summoned as a sacrificial offering.
The slaughter continued relentlessly and a group of hikers needed to be alert to avoid injury
TOB ‘s explosive innings ended on 75 by giving a caught and bowled to their veteran opening batsman Steve Pollard who has scored 128 centuries. Ed Tate soon began scoring quicker than Alex as the rate reached IPL standards, almost ten an over. Unconcerned, Lex accepted his punishment calmly. He was eventually taken off with figures of 11-0-92-0. The poor lad did have 4 easy catches dropped -2 each at long on and long off
Ed struck four sixes while another Alex boundary brought up his first ever century.
POB sportingly declared 15 minutes early on 296-3 , AJ was 103* with Ed on 61.
“Cousin” opened the bowling with vigour and was unable to ruffle the confidence of the left handed Lex whose strokeplay was impressive. “Windy” Miller partnered him and the highlight of his five overs, conceding 35 runs, were his two spectacular pieces of fielding. He flung himself stomach downwards and shot out a right hand to stifle the ball and in the same over he repeated it and was given another ovation. POB exclaimed “they won’t need the heavy roller after that.”
Lex and Pollard edged past 50 and Alex, bowling accurately with an admirable high arm action, had Pollard, 18, superbly caught by Olly Elliott. Alex held a return catch to dismiss Cowling, 4, and POB, 0-36 in 9 overs, improved on his recent performances without taking a wicket. I was seen to do one of my orang-utan impersonations when Coatesy put down a regulation edge.
The total built up and Hatch kept up with the rate with some lusty hitting taking advantage of Peckers inconsistent bowling and fielding. The picnic seemed to have got to some of our lads, and when I said to Toby to bowl the next over, he sprinted off the field at the start of what would have been his spell, desperate for the loo. He then mysteriously brought himself on 4 overs later…I replaced him after one over with Tatey’s offers. Hatch were smashing it to all parts and suddenly needed 60 off 6, with wickets in hand –We were staring at defeat and the Skipper was beginning to panic
The game was changed with the return of the ‘cousin’.” After Ed, 1-40, held a return catch off his bowling one of their waiting batsmen said “that man in the white boater is the man to go for because he bowls a lot of bad ones.”
True, the “Cousin” sprays it sometimes but he is always capable of taking wickets. The key moment was when Lex, on 95 and ready to copy Alex to record his first century, swung a delivery from him over Alex at mid wicket. Our newly appointed team doctor ran in and held a scintillating catch Aussie Rules style. Not many 15 year olds score 95 after giving away 92 runs with the ball! Cousin having removed the son for 95 then got the father who’d been batting at the other end for 49…real jug killers
Simon Elliott made a safe catch at square leg to end the innings of Francis and with five overs of the last 20, the “Cousin” shot away two more batsmen with a third incredibly run out by one of POB’s rocket-like throws.
Cousin bowled the last man Mickey and it was all over –we had pulled off a miraculous win, taking the last 6 wickets in about 6 overs.
The after party was one of the best in Peckers History –As it’s a bank holiday and Cousin ‘Grapeshot’ David was driving 10 of us we really went for the jugs of ale in the Gallipot with many of the Hatch players, Coatesy and there was a great live band playing in the pub.. Pukey Joe showed off some splendid dance moves. On the way back Toby joined us to make it the Perfect Pecker Packer -11 on board, an entire team and it was amazing. We sang along to Sweet Caroline (for Rossi), Don’t stop me now, American pie for the beautiful American ladies, Mrs Windy and Mrs Pukey who were aboard and their supporting us for the entire day.
We had a nightcap at Isla Bonita and drew stumps at about Midnight
Woodies 296-3 beat Coleman’s Hatch 253 by 43 run