Woodies – Withyham 2015

Report by LP, Pob in italics

Having seen last week’s match cancelled at Dunsfold when the sun came out early in the afternoon, we were lucky this week that the forecast changed and we had a dry day

 The start was brought forward to 1pm and eight players arrived well before the start.  Cousin Dave Holme’s Land Rover drove up a short time later bearing a new recruit, his great Colchesterfloppy haired mate Archie –nicknamed ‘Colly’  ,who works for a company which manufactures large tiles which produces electricity, 

One player was missing but still believed to be alive -  Neil Runkel.

The toss was watched by around twenty people out in the middle, almost as many in Test matches.  POB won the toss and put opposition in.  “The pitch was slightly wet but it had been rolled reasonably flat,” said Charles.   The Pet Shop gang were there, ready to try and repeat their havoc of Withyham a year ago when Toby Pettman, now six feet six, bowled the first two batsmen in the first over for a duck only to be no balled on both occasions.  His figures of 9-2-27-1 then didn’t reflect the hostility he engendered.   Once again Toby caused panic. In his first over he bowled their Sunday captain Mark Buckle for a duck and after several lbws were turned down our umpire raised the finger to JJ Lom (6) andToby then shattered the stumps ofVenter (0).  Alec Jay, at the other end, didn’t quite hit the same notes and came off (5-1-17-0) replaced by Huggy who removed the obdurateHenry Smith (15) and the heavyweight Matt Johnson (8).  Big Matt was struck on the foot on the off stump and the chatty Matt Coates flung himself forward to catch the rebound, appealing for a catch.  Even the other batsman acknowledged that the lbw was plumb.

So Withyham had withered to 60-6 and it was looking as though some of our batters wouldn’t need to perform.  POB brought on Archie, who was protesting that he wasn’t really a bowler but a fielder.(he also let one through his legs and ducked out of a catch at deep mid wicket so not sure that’s true. He has a great giggle though and Taters thought he had a ‘nice smile’  His four overs helped Withyham’s recovery with a profusion of wides, a no ball and several other deliveries which might have been penalized as well.  One or two were straight and one was driven back and wascaught by the bowler offBowen (7).  Much hilarity ensued.  Richard Morris (32) took advantage of Ed Tate’s overuse of the short ballto take the total at 104 when The Baron finally drove into the penned in car park at the top of the ground and announced he was ready to bowl at thecountry mansion end.

Seeing the ball on a good length and line from the Baron, Morris lofted a shot and was superbly caught by Huggy.  The Baron couldn’t improve on his 8-0-19-1.  By this time Ed was pitching closer to the stumps, turning occasional deliveries by three or more feet and defeating the efforts of Coatesy to stop a succession of byes. There were a lot chatting among our players, led by the excited keeper and Charles Tankard could be heard shouting “Shut up!” 

Ed (8-0-34-1) finally struck, having Nell (20) being adjudged lbw by our tiring and deafened official.  On a number of occasions Ed’s deliveries bounced chest high and George Smith, their 18 year old number 9, was struck on the shoulder.  Nell held his hand across his waist, indicating that the ball hit him above the stumps and ought not to be given out.  Told that the ball struck him on the back leg and would have hit leg stump he then said “it hit me in the chest.”  Never mind! 

A score of 104-8 was still a mediocre score in the circumstances and Mark, father of the Petters, came on to boost it. I was delighted to bring on the 3rd leg spin bowler of the day  However he surprised not only himself but Smith and the veteran Steve Peerless, the 9th wicket pair, with three googlies out of the Alfridi mould in his two overs which cost 10 runs but no wickets.

Withyham had pulled a flanker:  young George turned out to be their best batsman, scoring more than 1,000 runs last season.  He stood up to Toby’s best efforts and played some graceful shots while thebulky Peerless huffed and puffed and started to hit out.  The volume of noise increased as the players were urged to greater efforts to break the stand.  Toby finally did it by bowling Peerless (31) in the final over (his splendid figures of 11.4-3-28-4).  Rising from 34-5 and ending on 173-9 in 45 overs was some comeback. It is a balancing act sometimes-I wanted us to have around 150 to chase, but it got away from us a bit as the Withyham tail batted brilliantl

We needed a heads down start and Cousin Dave, who told POB he was reluctant to bowl but having score runs earlier in the week he wanted to open.  He should have been caught off the first ball and was bowled by the 5th, bowled by accurate Henry Smith whose medium fast bowling was reminiscent of Robin Jackman,  the England bowler who nearly wrecked a tour of the West Indies by England in the apartheid era.  Mark Pettman played back on a pitch you had to go forward on and was lbw (0) and Ed Tate (0) was bowled.  Here are our 3 duckies

 Lowering clouds had kept the sun hiding but now the light was fading and James Cudd (21) batted very well and was unlucky to playon for 21 with Henry taking the first four wickets.  Nell’s change of pace fooled Toby (3) and at 28-5 we were well behind their score.  Only Alex Jay was able to play the right innings and he was magnificent, seeing off their wicket taking bowlers with aplomb.  Coatesy (10) pluckily assisted in putting on another 49 before he drove into the hands of Big Matt.  POB (5) dangled his bat and gave a catch to the keeper and with 59 runs needed in 9 overs (115-8) there was still a glimmer of hope.

Alas Al drove to Henry at mid off – like a suicide bomber – and was run out by a direct throw for 54. Huggy had been the ideal partner to hold an endand Arthur strode in to reach 4 before copying Al and being run out unnecessarily.

The Baron once told us that he batted through 25 overs for 0 and we needed another Operation Block.   The fielders crowded in and both he and Huggy met the onslaught by a resolute straight bat.  The tension was almost unbearable.  A young, blond lady, heavily pregnant was watching the prospective father bowling and one of the locals said “the baby is due in a week and this could bring it on early!”  Happily it didn’t.

Our courageous batsmen saw it out – Huggy not out 3 (corrected down from 4) in 45 deliveries and The Baron 0 off 18 deliveries. Huggy batted beautifully and could have scored at least 10, but the Beearon thought it best to keep to their own ends and turned down a succession of what could have been ‘walked’ singles’ Watching the Beearon’s stoic defense the umpire’s position was a joy –He got everything in line in textbook manor. Match gallantly drawn (121-9)  and concluded at 6.35 pm, well after lights up time.

We had several pints of Harveys andour team enjoyed excellent repasts from the Earl, who owns the Dorset Arms.

As there were 5 bachelors in the Pecker packer, I suggested we get back up to Clapham for a night out. There was much hilarity and Taters grabbed a nice takeaway, a Geordie Armenian. Cousin David spurned many opportunities with fine looking ladies…Colly not so much