Woodies – Tadworth 2015 by Life President and Patrick Owen Browne (in italics)

Autumn had arrived and in the days leading up to the game we were switching on our central heating but as the large entourage of grandmothers, mothers, fathers, tiny tots and supporters turned up the drifting white clouds finally departed leaving one Tadworth tea lady saying “you’ve brought the nicest weather of the summer, not too hot and not too cold.”    


POB was one short and James Cudd invited his brother Russell fourteen years older than Cuddy, Russell lives in Tadworth and works for Kia the sponsors of the Kia Oval. Brother in law Dickie Parker was also a late sub for injured brother AOB. We were celebrating niece Zoe’s 6th birthday and my sister Mel ,niece Isabella, mother Barbara, Uncle Brian and Auntie Jayne plus Louise and Sebby were beautifully supplemented by a full Immers Arbee family turn out –mother Anna, his 3 lovely sisters Shirin,  Soraya and Yasmin and his two young nieces Aaliyah and Ariella (the tiger) –plus 3 other friends too! There were 2 magnificent picnics and Immers himself had made two delicious spinach and feta tarts

POB sent out our heavyweight record opening pair of Immers Arbee and Richard “Girdle” Buxton on a pitch which was crusty and Tadworth’s first bowler Ed Bellringer soon left The Girdle with the sound of bells in his cranium.  After wafting one of Bellringer’s short pitched deliveries to the fine leg boundary, he was on the receiving end of a brutal lifter which thudded into his brand new £78 Mazuri helmet.  He has had a hat trick of blows to the head recently and several others to all parts of his body –a game is not a game without the Girdle wearing it somewhere,  

Immy was having trouble to sight Bellringer’s collection of no balls, wides and when he lofted a straight four to the short boundary he seemed to be on his way.  Suddenly he produced a thundering yorker which came off the edge of Imraan’s bat on to the off stump.  On 13, The Girdle was bowled (21-2) by one of the few straight deliveries from Ed.

Cuddy, first wicket down, was showing necessary vigilance but EdTate was recovering from a late night in Brixtonand was just warming up when he pulled a comfortable catch to wide mid on for 6 (33-3).  Bellringer took his Nottingham University sweater and made way to the cheery Charlie Young who turned out to be an amiable would be off spinner.   Cuddy soon took a liking to his bowling, hitting the first six of the innings.  Matt Coates 0*, lasted three balls after finding Bellringer hands at mid-wicket (36-4).   

While Cuddy found the gaps his colleagues were doing the opposite.   Hugh Pettman, 3* was beginning to copy his match saving performance of the previous week until to gave a return catch to the veteran Gary Sewell, another amiable slowey (56-5).   Ten runs later POB, having umpired briefly had to go off to don his pads, and was hit on the pad from a gentle off break delivered by Pete Matthews. I gave him out but he was reprieved by the oppo.   POB was again hit on the pad and again the finger went up.  He had to go - another duck (66-6).

Cuddy senior joined his brother out in the middle.  “That’s the first time I’ve played with James in a match because I am a lot older than him,” he said.  He scored 5 and gave an easy catch (75-7).  Dickie Parker, another late call up, stretched forward to his second delivery and was also bowled for 0 (75-8).   Twenty overs remained and in came Mark Pettman.  

“Plenty of time to make 150” he said.  “Just need to play sensibly.”  Cuddy had been doing that all the time.  Four more bowlers came on to make it nine and none of them were regular bowlers.  One bowled a three bouncer and there were 17 wides.  Cudd called for water.  It was beginning to get hotter as the score rate shot up, propelled by Cuddy’s flailing bat. 

tadworth petshop cuddy

Sewell was brought back on as was the other opener-the pacey Bellringer .This is where it payed to have a man with Pet Shop’s cricketing brain –he checked that they had 3 overs left eachin their 8 allocation -then he and Cuddy sensibly took no chances from these six and scored just 15. As they knew there were 6 more overs available after these spells

So at the start of the 35th over…Mark got up a sweat, racing up and down the pitch as Cuddy went into overdrive. He struck five sixes: one went over the trees at the far end and the ball was lost.  Another to square leg brought up his hundred. In the final over Mark tried a big hit and was stumped for 29, most of which were singles.  Apparently Mark goes in for ice cold baths after having playing sport and those who failed to make a score ought to copy his example. It inspired EL Girdle who sent me an email today ‘I tried an ice bath last night-It certainly invigorates and helps with stiffness!!!’ I Hope u can wipe that image from your mind and readon’ Cuddy’s unbeaten 128, a valiant effort,  was his third ton for the Peckers ( an absolutely brilliant innings on a sticky wicket with partners deserting him quicker than spouses on Madison Keys)  The total of 205-9 was astonishing. 

This 9th wicket stand of 130 smashed the previous record of by the two Australian bowlers Dave Mackiewicz and Simon Hare who put on 103 at Churt in 1995

Our record breaking heroes Cuddy and Pet Shop with Ariella the Tiger roaring above the scoreboard.

Mel’s younger daughter Zoe blew out the candles on her 6th birthday cake. Tadworth normally lay on an outstanding homemade tea but once a year they put on a curry tea.  An Indian member did this one and the choice was fare was amazing.  There was a fantastic Chicken Biryani, Potato and Aubergine spicy curry, Chicken Koftas, Nan and two types of chutney. Pull of picnic, curry and cake, bowling and fielding second was going to test the sinews for fielders and medium pacers (of which we had little) so I turned to spin.

Ed Tate (7-0-15-1) was unaccustomed to open the bowling but he did, removing Steward Ireland for 1 off a remarkable catch by Immy at first slip, snatching a deflection off Matt’s gloves.  Huggy Petman’s leg breaks were the other half of my opening combo, he started well, but it wasn’t a great wicket for slow leggies and Pete Matthews was severe on his last over and father Pet Shop gave me the ‘cut’ symbol. I replaced him with a slight quicker and more experienced leggie bowler...the Beearon

Neil Runkel (6-0-35-2)   had skipper Sandel caught by Mark for 13 and removed Williams, 11 but Pete punished anything too short or full and struck Runky for boundaries.  Tadworth were 100-2 at the halfway mark and confident they would win.  POB (8-1-28-0) finally returned to bowling after a lay off and bowled extremely accurately, restricting Tadworth’s racing run rate. There were several that shaved the off stump and enormously loud appeals for catches behind and each time he was denied.  It was doubtless the Sunday cricket edict taking over!  

The 1st defining moment came when Ed Tate recovered from early fielding lapses and made a diving stop from a very firm drive and sprung to his feet and hit the stumps with a rocket throw from widish mid-off to run out the dangerous Jatin Kale. Absolutely magnificent Taters!

I then got Pete to push one softly and straight back to me, I was surprised and dropped one of the biggest sitters of the season –I fell to the ground and lay in the face-down dead Orang-Utan position for a few seconds.

At 102-3 on came Dickie fresh from sailing off Sardinia.  He didn’t realize that The Girdle was holidaying on the same island at the same time otherwise he they could have had a net together.    His first delivery was pulled for an enormous six over midwicket and the second, not hit so well to deep square leg and into the hands of James Cuddy he claims he caught it in his armpit!   Matthews out for 72 (and my brother in law/Cuddy had eased my blushes)

Dickie had a spring in his stride -  Bowling at a pace around 60 mph he bowled John Mears, had then had Bellringeredging to Immers at slip – The big man dived and took a pearler in his right hand but the ball bounced out when his elbow hit the ground but then he lay prone asthe ball lopped andbounced off his right breast and he took the rebound an inch off the turf –a remarkable juggling act,  A confident Dickie then dismissed Sewell and James Robinson, 13, both with simple catches by POB to complete the five for.  The final wicket was taken by Huggy (5-1-24-1) and Dickie again with a smart diving catch (showing off his baseball skills as a first baseman.

Dickie’s 6-1-18-5 was not only a Woodpeckers best but a career best.  He’ll never forget it.  Great effort! I checked today with the laconic Dickie… ‘I have no idea.......have not played since school days’. Dickie bought a jug and 5 extra pints to mark the occasion

Dickie with Daughters Isabella and birthday girl Zoe and delighted Peckers plus Immers nieces.

Woodpeckers 205-9 defeated Tadworth 145 all out by 60 runs.

For the second match in a row we did a Colditz – we escaped.  At Withyham we were 86-7 and held on to gallant draw and at Tadworth we were 75-8 until a record 9th wicket stand of 130 turned the innings round. 

It was a remarkable win with that magnificent knock by Cuddles and record breaking stand with Pet Shop.  It was followed by the inspirational catching by Immers, the electric Taters run out and capped off by Dickie’s remarkable 5-18. I really think it’s the love and spirit of our great team that had dragged us from the brink of defeat to some remarkable results this season. One more for an all-time record of 14 wins in a season and only one loss, Well Done Lads!