Report by LP, POB in Italics


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.

But at 10 am, three hours before the start of play, Dave Hawkins, their secretary, rang to say “We’ve only six players and I’m afraid we have to cancel.”  POB got back to Dave and said we were giving them two of our best players and we can’t cancel.  The party of fifty or so players, partners, companions, nannies, children, including three year old twins and Isabella celebrating her 8th birthday were on their way through gridlocked motorways. 

Sam Coote, one of Marlow’s young all-rounders, called up a number of colts and one of the club’s veterans who was out gardening when the call came.  He answered it and he had a bruising time in the field.

When I sent out an email, announcing that Gav was going to play for Marlow, I got just one response…from the Girdle ‘Strongly veto Gavin playing for oppo Awful idea’ Gav volunteered as he knew he would get more of a game for Marlow, and he trapped the vetoing Girdle 1st ball lbw.

James Cudd and TOB had to work hard against accurate nibbling bowling from Gav and his partner the talkative Jazzy Chalal, born in Mumbai and brought up in Australia.  TOB clipped three boundaries backward of square and then pulled a tremendous Gayle-like six over the trees into a tennis court off Gav who was withdrawn (5-1-26-1) to make way for Hamish, a right hand medium pace bowler who hadn’t played for many months. He claimed Toby in his 1st over caught behind for 27. Hamish was actually sub fielding for them but was pressed into bowling

Cuddy was nurdling the ball backward of point and he and Greg P put on 60.   Hamish is reckoned by his boss to be one of the leading cameraman in televised international cricket, a nomadic individual who doesn’t have a permanent home.  He has an almost classic action and bowled straight and fast and troubled most of our middle order batsmen. 
Having dismissed Toby, he had Greg caught (by sub fielder Ben P) for 11 and then surprised Alex Jay, 18, by bowling him at 122-5. Not used to bowling in 75 degree heat in the UK, Hamish retired to the pavilion with figures of 8-2-29-3 to recharge (he had to pad up for the team he was actually playing for). Next to go was the patient Cuddy, bowled by Coote, another quickish bowler, for 40.  POB struck out with his usual verve for his 18, disturbing an elderly couple sitting beyond point with some savage square cuts.  Coote bowled him and he had Tids Palmer lbw for 3 and with Ben caught by Gav for 9 with the score at 165-8 a 200 seemed unreachable.

Two Antipodeans made sure it was. With so many sub fielders coming and going the home players may have had doubts about our number 9 coming out in borrowed footwear. He looked rather like Hamish.  They were right:  the first Kiwi all rounder to bowl against the Woodies and then come in to bat for the Woodies.  

Along with Dickie Parker, 14*, Mel’s partner and yachting supremo, his 33* put on an unbeaten 49 with some hefty blows with prolonged cheering from the bleachers. When the 40 overs was completed and with the assistance of 40 extras, our total was 214-8 with Neil Runkel sitting agitated at being padded up for so long and not able to get to the crease.

The friendly lady who provided a hurried tea after the original one was cancelled, thought it was wonderful that so many children and ladies were enjoying themselves and a marble chocolate cake with candles celebrated Isabella’s birthday, accompanied with the lusty rendering of “Happy Birthday…..”   

Gav’s opening batting partner was a tall, thin young man wearing a baggy green Oz cap but he turned out not to be a budding Steven Smith.  The onus was on Gav to make a big total and after he clumped a four past cover off a delivery from Greg P that would have been a wide had he not hit it, he played a tame defensive poke at another delivery and was caught by TOB for 5. Wild celebrations ensued as it was a classic and important dismissal

Controversy reared when LP turned down a loud appeal from Greg who thought Jazzy had edged the ball to TOB.  “No way,” Greg said.  Our umpire took that to mean “no way it was struck” but the bowler took it the opposite view.  Greg was really fired up now and generating extra pace he bowled Jazzy two balls later. Greg finished his spell with a fantastic slower ball to bowl one of the late recruits. POB took him off (4-0-14-3) to save energy for the nightly feeds for eight week old Piper

Two other highlights were two possible A@E incidents. Fielding at mid off, Richard The Girdle bravely positioned himself under a massive steepler and was hit painfully on his right shoulder and had to go off for an application of ice. He actually failed to get a hand to the ball before it landed on the bone.  Not the man to quit, he went back out there again and two balls later trying to stop a powerful shot his hand was bruised. This ball was hit with immense force...  Once more he retired:  more ice and a strapping on his sore hand. We were trying to contain our hysterical laughter, shades of Meakers at Headley.  He returned for action and a possible hat trick of injuries was thankfully avoided.  We are now thinking of him being called The Iron Man after his two previous potentially fatal blows to the head.  “My ear sometimes still rings” he said.

Ben took another wicket (4-1-12-1) and Runky, eager to snare a few bunnies, nipped in with 5-0-16-3. The highlight of the innings was TOB’s startling one handed catch running round the mid wicket boundary close to where he hit his six.  His family, and others, rose to clap.  What a catch!
 Dickie completed an excellent Pecker comeback as his medium pacers had two victims, 12 year old Ben Hoggin, grandson of their umpire Chris and Waqar (no, it was Younis) Shebir who sliced the last ball of the day to a running skipper at square leg to complete a faultless fielding display.  It was all over in 20.2 overs with 64-9 (no other itinerant possible batters were talked into coming in at 11).  Victory by 150 runs. Five more wins we will beat the previous record of thirteen wins in a season.

As the chairs were pulled in outside the pavilion for chats with a drink or two it was a lovely, relaxing evening. Another wonderful Pecker occasion for players and spectators. Thanks to everyone who came and made it so special.