The Higginbottom cycle and trailer combination was nearing Parliament Hill when the mobile rang. Jeff reported that some other teams had showed up expecting to play. Richard told Jeff he’d checked the invoice a couple of days ago and noticed this was our last fixture at Parliament Hill for the season so had brought some chocolates for the ground staff. As it turned out they didn’t need the bribe to confirm we were at the right place and our attempted usurpers were dispatched to the Extension. So the drama had already commenced when Richard (as usual) called incorrectly and Ghost took the option to field.
Richard pinged a half volley off his legs beautifully – and the low catch was expertly taken at square leg. Jeff came in and looked comfortable, slightly micueing a square drive – that gully caught in breathtaking fashion. 18-2. The two Daves batted well together, 2-Bats being severe on any bad balls, scoring 5 fours in his 23 before McCaughrin took another fine catch to send Dave back to the boundary. Ghost vs Fakenham … the Anglian All Rounder was playing well, matching 2-Bats 5 fours until he stepped back 1 inch too far to Ghost – out hit wicket for 22. Meanwhile the Whitley Bay Champion was continuing his brillant batting form of late, his shot selection being exemplary with two exquisite Cover Drives being the highlights. Jim Monahan pushed his first ball back down the wicket to Ghost then clubbed the second over midwicket’s head for … NO! … another fabulous catch from the Players put them in the box seat. Mick supported Dave well until he was also well caught of Ghost, then Jeremy and Paul followed in quick succession to give Ghost his five-for. Dave decided to open up but over-reached a wide one off J Langridge and this time Ghost was the catcher. Fine knock by Dave of 69. Nick received a Jaffa from JL and Adam was left not out on 6 having looked very comfortable at the crease.
Gardeners 177 all out in 34.1 overs
Richard Higginbottom ct xxx b McCaughrin 1
David Stead ct Callaghan b J Langridge 69
Jeff Round ct Wrather b McCaughrin 7
David Hollingsworth c McCaughrin b J Langridge 23
Lord Fakenham hit wkt b Callaghan 22
Jim Monahan ct xxx b Callaghan 0
Mick Campbell ct xxx b Ghost 15
Jeremy Gostick lbw Ghost 0
Paul Brasted ct xxx b Callaghan 2
Nick Duckett b J Langridge 1
Adam Wood not out 6
J Langridge 6.1-0-35-3
Tea was very fine indeed. Where’s the pineapple? Ah that comes later. Time to focus – if we can catch half as well as the Players just did we’re in with a shout.
Mick and Paul opened up, the Somerset man making an early breakthrough to dismiss T Langridge and then continuing his fine opening salvo as Jim made a lot of ground to take a catch at mid-off. Mick took a breather and Adam came on at the Tennis Courts end, beating the bat quite often in a four over spell and being unlucky not to take a wicket. Paul bowled perhaps one over too many (someone said he was knackered but Richard ignored this). Jim came on and was making chances regularly, but we couldn’t hold any of them, including a brilliant attempt at a diving catch by Jeremy who recovered well to run out Fielding for 13 to get us back on terms. Wile was playing very calmly, building a solid base and punishing the poor ball … ominous. Chances continued to come and go then Mick held onto a lofted drive off Jim to dismiss McCaughrin for 13. Steadley joined the attack and also had a couple of chances put down until Jeff clung onto a neat catch. Getting a bit late now and despite a skilful late spell by Lord Fakenham we couldn’t prevent the Players making the most of our dropped catches and easing home in the final over with a magnificent lofted drive for 6 by J Langridge. Wile undefeated with a stylish and understated 82. Very good match and the Players take possession of The Bonington Urn.
The Players 183 for 6 off 34.3 overs
Wile not out 82
T Langridge b Brasted 5
Friend c J Monahan b Brasted 3
Fielding run out (Gostick) 17
McCaughrin c M Campbell b J Monahan 13
Cooper run out 6
Wrather c Round b Stead 16
J Langridge not out 12
M Campbell 6.3-1-30-0
J Monahan 6-0-32-1
So Ghost handed the man-of-the-match Pineapple to Wile and Richard handed the Ashes to Ghost. Then we repaired to the Southampton Arms. Which was packed. So some went to The Vine. Where most of us ended up. Then Ghost went off to find Roger to celebrate Ghost’s ‘Michelle’ and Roger’s performance in the Prom.
SGCC LOST BY 4 WICKETS