Holkham 7 May

After a light load of players using the Stevenage to Holkham Touran option in 2015, this year all 7 seats were engaged so Richard bolted on the roof box and took 7/11 of Saturday’s team up the A10 and across on the A148 toward the Jewel of North Norfolk, Holkham Hall.  The weather was fabulous and showed this marvellous location to its best advantage.  Clearly a day to bat first – as home skipper Chris Crane agreed upon winning the toss.

Roger McCann soon had the opening batsmen in trouble from the Hall End but frustratingly we couldn’t support him adequately with our catching.  Local boy Lord Fakenham from the Obelisk End (I like to see the old boy struggle up the hill) was keeping it pretty tight but any loose ball was pounced upon by James Harrison, who’s scored heavily against us in previous years.  Joe Woolmore (on debut) took over from Roger and was quickly into his stride, though the runs continued to flow across the excellent outfield.  Time to mix things up a bit so Paul Jordan took over from his Lordship and promptly forgot (a) that he’d been bowling tidily in the nets and (b) he put in some useful performances with the ball last season.  The plus side was that Paul was bowling a bewildering variety and this brought about our first wicket as Will Bale missed a full toss that dropped onto his leg stump.  Silence.  Is that out?  Umpires confer and confirm it was (just) a fair delivery and off went the batsman.  One or two murmurs.  As we converged on Paul he shouted “Well bowled Paul, congratulations!” to remind us that this looks every bit as good as a perfect inswinging yorker in the scorebook.  Fair point.  “Sh*t gets wickets” one of the Gardeners who possesses a Norfolk accent himself was heard to say.  Harsh.  Anyway, we’re in the game now, onward and upward at 64 for 1 after 18 overs.  Joe continued to bowl tidily as did Pete Shufflebotham, but James was now well set and Holkham number 3 Martin Todd was playing delightful shots all around the wicket.  We put down a couple more chances – most remarkable was the enormous skier that James aimed towards Conor Aspel who uttered “Oh dear!” (or something similar) as the ball reached a height to threaten any passing air traffic.  The Tipperary Stallion got his hands to it but couldn’t quite hang on.  Martin completed his half century and headed to the pavilion; shortly after James reached his century and also took his leave.  An impressive knock and we were surprised to learn it was his first ton.  Shaun Patchett and Richard Williams took the long handle to our tiring bowling attack and we thought we were going to suffer a three hundred plus leathering until Roger returned with an excellent spell to castle Shaun (32) and Richard (27) as well as finding a lovely ball to claim Robin Corrigan’s wicket lbw for 3.  Heydon Ellis and Will Patchett kept the score going as Roger, Jason and Joe managed to get some small measure of control back to leave us a daunting target of 282.

Holkham   281 for 4 wickets   from 40 overs
J Harrison                retired                                     100
W Bale                      b Jordan                                    13
M Todd                     retired                                       63
S Patchett                b McCann                                32
R Williams              b McCann                                 27
R Corrigan              lbw McCann                               3
H Ellis                      not out                                         1
W Patchett             not out                                         4
Extras (w8 nb19 b4 lb7)                                          38

Salmagundi Gardeners Bowling
J Amesbury              8 – 1 – 47 – 0
R McCann                 8 – 1 – 33 – 3
J Woolmore              8 – 0 – 43 – 0
P Jordan                    3 – 0 – 23 – 1
P Shufflebotham   7 – 0 – 50 – 1
R McKay                   4 – 0 – 20 – 0
M Incledon              1 – 0 – 30 – 0
N Duckett                1 – 0 – 16 – 0

Tea was delightful – thanks very much to our hosts.  The sausage rolls and cake were especially good I was informed by the team but the captain’s continuing sugar and pastry ban precluded these.  I’m now effectively a tea-time puritan.

Paul Jordan and Roger opened the batting and there was an early flurry of runs (many from extras) as there was some extravagant swing enabling the ball to evade everyone and everything.  We’d reached 57 with little incident until Jon Goulding, on at first change, rearranged Roger’s timbers for 19.  Adam was then bamboozled by Hayden Ellis – bowled without troubling the scorers – who bowled out his allocation unchanged from the Obelisk end, increasing in control and variety as he went.  Chris Crane replaced Hayden and repeated Jon’s knack of getting a wicket in his first over as Richard McKay was caught at the wicket for 7.  The Holkham skipper also had Conor bowled for nought as we stumbled to 73 for 4 as the scoring rate dropped.  Matt Incledon worked well with Paul to stop the rot and then both started to play some more bold strokes, getting Paul past his half century and adding 66 together before Paul holed out off Richard Williams.  Matt played some more swashbuckling strokes until he also fell to Richard for an entertaining 30.  Lancastrians Nick Duckett and Pete managed 5 between them as the improbable required rate turned to impossible.  The skipper nurdled an edgy unbeaten 5 whilst Joe played a couple of lovely driven boundaries to be unbeaten on 13 as our overs run out.  Our most local boy (the skipper’s from Breckland, dangerously close to the Suffolk border) was denied the pleasure of wielding the willow.  Well played Holkham.

Salmagundi Gardeners   170 for 8 wickets   off 40 overs
P Jordan                    c S Patchett   b Williams      55
R McCann                                          b Goulding      19
A Wood                                               b Ellis                0
R McKay                    c Smith          b Crane              7
C Aspel                                               b Crane               0
M Incledon               c Todd            b Williams       30
N Duckett                                          b Williams        0
R Higginbottom      not out                                        5
P Shufflebotham                            b Williams          5
J Woolmore              not out                                       13
J Amesbury              did not bat
Extras   (w20 nb2 b8 lb1)                                          31

Holkham Bowling
W Patchett                   7 – 0 – 43 – 0
H Ellis                            8 – 1- 30 – 1
J Goulding                    8 – 2 – 18 – 1
C Crane                         4 – 2 – 9 – 2
R Williams                   7 – 0 – 30 – 4
S Patchett                    5 – 1- 24 – 0
J Harrison                    1 – 0 – 2 – 0

Holkham won by 111 runs

Afterwards in The Victoria we realised that we’d lost by ‘Nelson’ – how appropriate for this part of the county.  Some of the Gardeners were not sure if the captain was spinning a yarn about ‘Nelson’s Eye Patch’ opticians sitting opposite ‘Horatio’s Coffee Shop’ in Holt just a few miles away.  I invite you to visit that splendid town and check out whether I’m telling the truth.  Jon, Robin, Chris, Denis, Will and Shaun were in as good form after the game as during it and entertained us extremely well until the impending closing time of the fish and chip shop in Wells-Next-The-Sea called us away.  Delicious seafood supper on the quayside and we’ll redouble or efforts for next years fixture.  Thanks again to our hosts.