3RD OF MAY 2015

report by Cousin David , POB in italics.

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.

Critics of the toss decision were promptly put into the top order, Alistair and Imraan opening with a sturdy 32 partnership before Imran was bowled. Though he will be happy he was alive after the mini trampoline that had developed somewhere in the wicket and sent a couple of rocketing bouncers past.
Coatsy added to the opening fixtures acceptable start to an innings, making 10 tidy runs before being caught behind. The score being a respectable  51-2... 

Out went Charlie Young, and in came Charlie Young for a golden duck . Out went Toby Owen Browne, and in came Toby Owen Browne, for a silver duck this time, both ct the bowler Pettifor a triple wicket maiden. There was a flurry of activity in the Pecker changing room as Pecker middle order batsmen hastily donned pads, gloves and any other padding they could locate.  .  Score 51-4....To be fair to the OTs, AOB said that both were very good balls With only one Alistair Owen Browne looking at all like a cricketer - the newer Holme clan had developed some interesting facial hair in the hope to intimidate the incoming bowlers. But before the ginger Mexicans could inflict any damage, a man from down under with some months on his visa to soak up made a stroll to the wicket. Meet Alex Jay.

Most people who haven't played any cricket for 12 months let alone 12 years might be found letting the whole team, the milkman, the bank manager and the lady in the post office know that they haven't played for a long length of time and not to have any expectations... But in true un-Australian fashion, A-J was to keep quiet and get on with the task in hand.
A-J opened with 2 cracking boundaries. And all went hush on the boundary... The hush turned into quintessential applause and cheering as A-J hit another 7 boundaries to help him reach 50. Like a 1 armed builder from Baghdad, A-J rescued the innings with careful shot selection and a level head.

Unfortunately the builder had lost his Forman - Alistair who left the crease with a respectable 36 after being bowled by Mr Rushforth.
Ginger Mexican Henry 'Duggie' Holme swiped a few through the covers, and hit a boundary before the curse of being stuck on 13 found the carefully waxed moustache sporting skier wanting, by a man who must be a cousin of the Holme family, a bowler by the name of Sherlock.Simon Benedict Blaker Holme contributed a quick 7, all the while A-J tip toeing into the 70's.

Skipper POB announced his arrival with a brace of boundaries. The pair getting the peckers close to the 200 mark with a couple of overs in hand before tea.
POB bowled off his pads for 18 by his old pal Aesh who then frustrated Cousin David with some excellent leg spin. 

Unfortunately CD couldn't get enough strike to A-J for his returning ton, and so a respectable 85 not out would leave the peckers munching on sandwiches in the sun with a total of 209 to defend. Not before A-J closed the innings with a 6 wedged into the cow corner hedge.

After a wait for the match ball, a search for the match ball and a different match ball being produced - the game continued with the wind helping keep Cousin's leg byes stay relatively straight, also contributing to bowling the opener on the third ball.

Youngy started with a brace of 'safe beamers' (so safe no warning was needed)- before a grasp from CD at short extra cover sent Sandersteads no2 back for a pint of "Quencher" - a fine, floral, local pale ale.

Youngy and CD kept the pressure on, both being rewarded with maidens and another wicket each - Youngy being denied more wickets because of a snake eyed TOB (ironically never looking dangerous...(if you are up to date with the new 'wilder mind' album by Mumford and sons- you'll know what I mean))

Youngy got level with Pettifor (the chap who claimed him earlier) by nearly knocking out middle stump.The single hand catch craze continued with Coatsy preventing Mr Elleray passing the 15 mark off CD.A-J showed he was not a 1 trick pony with a steady performance coming down the hill, earning a wicket, with an edge held by Imran at gully.

Meanwhile Blaker started his pecker bowling career with a total of 5 overs, unlucky not to be rewarded with a wicket.

TOB with the help of the Aussie star A-J at mid off, started with a  knee high full toss and a wicket. Then proceeded to grind out his fatigue left over from the 'greatest boxing match of all time'...

POB came on,  and bowled leg spin in an attempt to race through the overs so we could head to the Panahar, for what would turn out to be one of the finer curries to be had in London. POB grabbed a two wickets in the process, including his old sparring partner ‘Aesch’ A-J unlucky to be denied what could have been the catch of the afternoon a full out running dive which would have been the 3rd one arm catch of the day. However, an over later A-J secured the catch of the afternoon with a full pelt run, into a hard hit pull shot to deep mid wicket. The man proving that form is temporary and class is permanent. Perhaps I should not play for 12 years as well...

Alistair gave the younger peckers a masterclass in bowling on the spot - only giving away 4 runs in 4 overs (2 maidens).

Mexican Douggie claimed he couldn't bowl, before opening with a maiden. And Imran tossing up some tempting grenades to bring to an end a windy but highly enjoyable fixture away from the crumbling Croydon and tucked in a dry slice of seductive Sanderstead. 
All the peckers got a bat and a bowl (bar Coatesy –may have been tricky in keeping gloves)

Peckers 209 - 9
Sanderstead 157-9  Peckers win by 52 runs

Cousin D 6-2-24-2
Youngy 8-0-31-2
Alex Jay 5-0-19-1
Cousin Simon 5-0-29-0
TOB 4-0-12-1
POB 5-1-25-2
AOB 4-2-4-0
Mexican Douggie 2-1-3-0
Imran 1-0-2-0

A few "quenchers" whilst reminiscing Rossi with Aesh and some of the oppo, over a large stack of poppadoms and a delightful curry, and the time was 11pm.

Sunday was a truly wonderful way to start a season, but do let's keep the availabilities strong so we can have a full 11 for the rest of the fixtures. POB simply does not have time to heard cats all week...
Thanks to all the lads who played and to Cousin D for a great report and helping me to get a decent Pecker team on the pitch

David Holme