Match report by Adam Wood
The ‘Ashes’ began before your correspondent had negotiated the car park that is Henly’s Corner (catch the local traffic news any time, day or night, for more details). Already in the process of firing in the third over I believe returning Captain Dave Stead having won the toss had put Players into bat with a plan to exploit the late spring gale.
The wind behind, Dave was proving difficult to hit. Chris Packham struggled against the blow at the other end. Both bowlers kept the redoubtable Roger McCann (caught by 2-Bats off Packham for 15) and fellow opener J Dunn (bowled Mick C for 10) reasonably honest as the run rate hovered between 4 and 5 an over.
Although there was a flurry of boundaries mid innings most of the Players worked hard to get into double figures with M Campbell and J Monahan and later Bruno and Dustin Mommen getting amongst them.
Some real fielding highlights: Mark ‘Bruno’ Brewin struggled into the wind but gained a wicket when Stead caught Malky for 16; running backwards, catching and rolling for the cameras, (of which there were none!). By contrast the seemingly casual unflustered catch Bruno took at mid-off to dismiss M Grimason caught the eye when he dropped to his right as if felled by an axe to the ankles. The satisfying ‘splat’ as bucket like hands swallowed the ball was heard all around the ground.
Jim demonstrated all but the crucial final part of claiming a catch off a mis-hit steepled, swirling shot to mid on. Not long after the near miss, ironically off Jim’s bowling, Gardener’s captain caught a monster skied shot by Sweets, out for 6. I had more than enough time to think of a much better comment when I suggested Dave had shown great patience waiting for the ball to drop – as if he could have done anything else!
RJ Friend, Player’s no. 4 (batting position, not a very short cigarette* Paul!) played a very stylish innings to top score falling at 59 when stumped by Brasted off Jim Monahan.
* Tobacco company Players numbered their cigarette brands in the ‘60s and ‘70s
Dustin Mommen ensured that all the Gardener’s bowlers gained a scalp when he bowled M Grimason and NJ Fielding.
Ghosty, Player’s no. 10 (a very short cigarette) scored 0 caught Monahan bowled Packham and then reappearing as no. 11 scored 6 bowled, Stead. Whilst the events described above did not necessarily take place in the order written, Gardeners had the Players all out for 168 inside 34 overs in this timed match.
Richard Higginbottom, even in his absence, gave Gardener’s the crucial edge they needed. The cakes and rock buns at tea time proved too tempting for the Players and almost certainly slowed them down surely contributing to some uncharacteristic failures in the field.
Tom Monahan and Adam Wood to open for Gardeners? Edward de Bono never thought that laterally.
Players opening attack had a lot of ‘luck’ early on. Fortunately this luck was the ‘bad’ variety for them and good for the Gardeners. A bit of scampering barely got the Gardeners to double figures as Tom was bowled for 6. At 3 Dustin Mommen batted with not a little skill and some enthusiasm but fell on 17.
Wood at no. 2 would have been out five times had the field not been criminally negligent. Four ‘catches’ fell out of hands that should have been sticky enough with the tea time orange drizzle cake; a fifth chance, a miscued, skier fell between five fielders inexplicably rooted to the spot. A thump on the calf muscle from a wickedly jagging ball by Hickox put the quick singles at risk, but streaky edges remained productive. Chances to dismiss Stead off the edge were spurned by keeper and slip on at least two occasions. Missing an early dismissal of Wood only cost 24 runs, including a well struck cover drive that surprised everybody, whilst missing Stead proved more costly as he hit 82 not out.
With around 50 runs required as the ‘20 overs after 6.00 p.m.’ rule kicked in, Stead, supported by Hollingsworth and Mick Campbell, carried the team to victory with a dozen overs to spare.
David Stead returns to triumph as MoM!
Players 168 all out (RJ Field 59,T Hickox 19*, J Monahan 3 – 30)
Gardeners 169 for 4 (Stead 82*, Wood 24, T Hickox 1 – 26)
Roger McCann c Hollingsworth b Packham 15
J Dunn b M Campbell 10
J Wylie b J Monahan 10
R J Friend st Brasted b J Monahan 59
R J Malky c Stead b M Brewin 16
S G Sweet c Stead b J Monahan 6
M Grimason c Brewin b Mommen 4
T Hickox not out 19
N J Fielding b Mommen 0
M Callaghan c Monahan b Packham 0
Ghost b Stead 6
David Stead 7.4 overs – 1 maiden – 32 Runs – 1 Wicket
Chris Packham 6 – 2 – 14 – 2
Mick Campbell 6 – 0 – 40 – 1
Jim Monahan 8 – 1 – 30 – 3
Mark Brewin 3 – 0 – 32 – 1
Dustin Mommen 3 – 0 – 15 – 2
Tom Monahan b M Grimason 6
Adam Wood c Fielder b J Douglas 24
Dustin Mommen b Hickox 17
David Stead not out 82
David Hollingsworth lbw M Callaghan 7
Mick Campbell not out 13
Paul Brasted, Chris Packham, Jim Monahan, Nick Duckett and Mark Brewin did not bat
T Hickox 8 – 1 – 26 – 1
M Grimason 6 – 0 – 29 – 1
J Douglas 4 – 1 – 13 – 1
M Callaghan 6.2 – 0 – 50 – 1
SG Sweet 3 – 0 – 14 – 0
R McCann 4 – 0 – 25 – 0
J Wylie 1 – 0 – 6 – 0