Woodies v Teddington. August 16th 2015, by LP -Motty Italics


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.


Much like the Aussies, Teddington fielded an assortment of wizened old pros and insolent youths, including two ex-1st XI captains - Steve Munday and Simon Weale. Between the mid-80s and the late 90s these two club legends won everything going when TCC was the dominant force in English club cricket - five Middlesex League titles, four Middlesex Cups and both captaining a winning side in both the National KO at Lord’s (Steve twice) and the Evening Standard Trophy at The Oval. They’d also both brought along their 15 year old sons. I wasn’t very pleased to see any of them.


Alas, here the opening bowling was somewhat different.  Phil Eastland, Teddington’s captain, decided to bat and Olly Mott lost it completely, as he admitted, “that felt yip-ish,” he said.  They hadn’t covered the wicket so it was a touch damp underfoot, no sawdust could be found until it was their turn to bowl. He bowled five wides in his wayward spell of 4-1-17-0 and Chris “Tids” Palmer, with two wides, was well below his best with 4-0-27-0.  Their veteran opener Phil ‘Headless’ Eastland clouted 40 before Greg Palmer restored some sanity to the proceedings by bowling him at 59.  The all-Australian pairing – with Alex Jay taking over from Chris – swung the ball on a length and opener Jazzy Sanghera, 17, spooned a catch to Ed Tait at point (59-2) off AJ.


A good battle ensued with Greg almost reaching the pace he attained as a young thirty year old against determined right-hander Richard Bennett, who eventually batted through the innings, scoring an unbeaten 50.   Richard is only 18 and plays in the 2nd XI, he was a decent lad and enjoyed his ale so it’s good to see them still churning out the next generation of disgruntled, borderline alcoholic cricketers. Olly had calmed down somewhat when fifteen year old bespectacled Euan (son of Steve) Munday, who plays for Middlesex U15s, chipped one to him at mid-wicket for 8 (70-3).


The arrival of LP – 70 minutes late, qualifying for a fine but not imposed – changed things when he donned the white coat.  AJ soon produced a Broad, a late inswinger which knocked out the off stump of Simon Weale (89-4).  As well as his club exploits with TCC ‘Squealer’ (on account of his name, not shower noises) played 20 first-class matches for Oxford University and took 15 wickets at 97.26 with his left arm spin.  But his batting was much more effective in those days.


AJ’s tidy spell of 8-1-32-3 was followed by Ed Tait’s off-spin on a drying pitch which helped the ball not only turn but rise up thigh high.  Teddington really specialize in flat, choking off spin so the groundsman are hard-wired to produce Taiters ideal wickets really, I could hear the Club Chairman salivating in the clubhouse at the sight of a new prospect, I offered to broker any deal as Taiters’ agent – still waiting by the fax machine…. He might have flighted the ball more but Bennett started timing his hoicks out to deep mid wicket and didn’t want to be taken off.  Greg was the only bowler to have bowled two maidens in his 8-2-20-1 and should have taken more wickets after several lbws were rejected by their umpire and seeing a hard hit shot to Richard the Girdle’s at mid-off spilled.    


Windy, with no wind at all, bowled number six Bob ‘The Cat’ Fleming (he’s 72 and fielded like POB) 19, with a stunning yorker and quickly followed up with another wicket, a catch by Richard in the same spot.  The Girdle grasped it with a shout “this is my first catch for the Peckers.”  It would be unfair to add that he has dropped a few but he doesn’t shirk it.  If he doesn’t get hand to it he’ll put his body in the way and had recently invested in a pair of shin pads so he can continue throwing himself in the line of duty – what a mad hero!


Ed finally got among the wickets and the first one was quite remarkable.   Munday senior tried to sweep him and it wasn’t clear whether the ball came off glove but the agile Matt Coates flung himself in front of the batsman, caught the ball and appealed.  LP was saved making a decision as Munday walked off.  The match was played with lots of smiles and examples of good sportsmanship - this was one.  


Ed struck again, a brilliant caught and bowled off fifteen year old Jabez (son of Simon) Weale to finish with figures of 8-0-34-2.  The last wicket put on an irritating 34 before another veteran, Barney Crossley (who asked Motty afterwards if he could come and play for us next season – he’s a great lad and a born Pecker - he’s signed up for the dinner already), was superbly caught in the deep by Chris Tiddles P.  Teddington were all out 179 in 35.2 overs.  POB generously offered a 12th man to come in to bat to make it a better target.


Matt Coates might have been up against Tom Healy, son of Australia’s keeper Ian, earlier in the season because Tom kept wicket for Teddington’s first team and was then dropped.   He is currently playing for the Australian U19 against England.  An example of the overall decline of Australian cricket!


A well-known former Teddington player is Jamie Dalrymple, the 34 year old England, Oxford, Middlesex and Glamorgan off-spinner who played in 27 ODIs for England.  ,known as “Pest” he has married well and is reckoned to be a multi-millionaire.  


The forty year old pavilion needs to be given a facelift but one gathers that the club are thinking about building a two storey replacement which could cost more than £500,000. With his affinity with the club, he could sponsor it.  Just a thought.  This thriving and respected club pay a peppercorn rent to the Crown, who own the Park which was the hunting ground of Henry VIII and his cronies. It is a knockout ground and when they finish the new pavilion we might consider hosting Peckers v Peckers there, or even our very own 6–a-side competition, inviting our favourite teams to come along and have a day at ours for once. Teddington made it clear that we would be most welcome as they have a few free Sundays most years…

Our openers Immy and Cuddy were given a rough time by the home side’s opening bowlers Jazzy, an astute away swing bowler andthe quickish medium fast, six footer Jabez, son of Simon,  who movedthe ball both ways.  We noticed that he was wearing a green cap bearing the words “NHS v Devon” and thinking that he was sponsored by the NHS we thought we could get in touch with them.  Some of our players might need surgery.  One is Matt Coates.  He’s sticking it out with his rugby-damaged thigh. “NHS” turned out to be a school near the Kruger Park in South Africa when Jabez toured there with the Devon U15s. 


Immy survived what most commentators would call a “stonewall” lbw in the first over but our official gave it the benefit when Immy didn’t appear to try to hit the ball which thudded into the pad just outside the line. In the next over, he was caught by senior Weale for 3.   


Cuddy,  5,  misjudged the line of a ball which swing away and hit the off stumpand AJ’s had to show restraint to keep out the half (not quarter) Duke’s ball supplied by the home side.  A huge stag, with an immense amount of headgear, hove into view on the Heathrow side of the ground and AJ said “we’d better watch out, it’s rutting time for deer!  The animal sat down and gave no trouble.

A third wicket fell at 39 when Munday junior had Matt Coates, 8, caught with his mixture of off-breaks and seamers.  AJ was going along sensibly with 27 runs to his name until he fell short of the deep mid wicket boundary and the senior Weale claimed a catch suspiciously close to the ground as he ran in. Without technology it was impossible to judge whether the ball hit the ground first and our official was about to give the benefit to the batsman when the catcher insisted that it had been completed fairly.  AJ walked – he ought to be a medal, they’re aren’t many Australians have done that.  Simon Weale is the Headmaster of Shebbiar College, an independent school in North Devon and his son is a pupil. 

At 49-4 we were in dire straits.  The ball was getting lower and lower and Ed Tait, looking solid, startled the opposition by lifting a six between two vehicles 80 metres away on the square leg side. Greg P was playing straight and with our opponents having to use pretty average slowish bowling, the hundred was passed.

When Ed hits the ball, it goes a long way and we had the strange sight of him facing a field strung around the boundary (adding big hitting to his flat offies Taiters by now had the Club Chairman was having palpitations and had to be calmed down with some Claret from his private bin).

Meanwhile Greg was given a totally different one, stopping one!  Little did they know:  Greg was also a big hitter.  This time he was playing a proper innings for his side.  He was on 47, ready to raise the bat in salute when Ed properly sent him back for a risky run, fell over, and was run out (sawdust).

It is no coincidence that this bizarre touch of bad luck coincided with Windy, batting 11, deciding that we had it all sewn up and got in for an early shower. A curse? Maybe so…

Jabez was brought back and was bowling faster and POB had his off stump knocked by a swinging yorker for a duck.  The next ball was the same except that The Girdle had his left pad struck.   “Howzat!”  screamed all eleven opponents.  There was only one decision.  The Girdle seemed shocked.  “Come on mate!” he said.  Was that an invitation, one thought?  He had to go.  Afterwards, over a pint, he conceded that he was out – definitely stonewall.

Their fielders still thought a score of 162-7 with 9 overs was enough for them to win.  Ed, having hit three sixes and smashed a ferocious return shot into Jabez’s bowling arm, held firm.  Motty had to put his pint down and scramble around for some pads to come out to face a hat-trick ball against his old foe with the field all in, chirp-aplenty and the 15 year old bowler snorting like the rutting stag o’er next field.

Just about keeping out a straight one restored some of his confidence by playing some glorious shots in his unbeaten 12 leaving Ed with a match winning innings full of lusty drives of 65 not out.  A heroic effort. Seeing Chelsea’s 0-3 defeat at Manchester City, seen on Sky afterwards, increased our pleasure as another Sunday happily passed.    

Taters played the innings of the season for me; he was very decisive in his shot selection for singles and then going for the big one. He looked like he was playing on a different wicket to everyone else, and made the difference. We stayed for nearly three hours post match as much analysis was needed, nearly getting locked in with the stags and drinking the bar dry of the tasty Timothy Taylor Landlord. This was all the proof you need of the value of an early start and finish! 

I for one was (always am) very proud to take such a great bunch back to my childhood club and show them how cricket should be played.