Whepstead Cricket Club

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Whepstead CC v Bardwell CC Sunday 26th May

 

Final Score:- Whepstead CC 110   Bardwell 112

With barely time to draw breath from the stunning victory against Royal Mail we have to gather ourselves yet again to compete with our old friends and rivals Bardwell.

For the first time this year the weather wasn’t going to be the issue, it was a beautiful sunny early summers afternoon perfect for the game of ‘CRICKET’. It was my turn as captain back in the driving seat, to try and steer the team to their 3 victory of the season, could this be possible! Obviously not as the result reveals however I will attempt to make the report as detailed and interesting as I can.

Having lost the toss (great start,) the Bardwellians opted to field first, giving us the job of setting Bardwell a target to chase, however there was one slight problem to resolve before we started, we had managed to have 13 team members available to play, a bit of a contrast from the previous week. Following a short discussion with the Bardwell captain they agreed that a volunteer from Whepstead  would play with the Bardwell team so each side had 12 players, ( a little unorthodox, but hey its just cricket after all) Thanks Mike! Our opening pair for the match were the two Dave’s, Hooton and Cowley, keen to set their markers they both started cautiously and rightfully so as the bowlers were very consistent and accurate to boot. Cowley struck first with a massive four, closely followed by Hooton, was this to be an innings of ‘tit for tat’ and knock for knock in the crease, we hoped so! Unfortunately it was not going to be, well not for Dave C anyway, an early sliced shot destined for the boundary went up, more than out and it dropped into the safe hands of Sadler for Bardwell. Next in to bat was Jeremy Allen, keen to better his previous score of 26 against the Post Office, but to our shock and horror it was not to be, a sudden rush of blood to the head led to him being clean bowled for 1. Enter Phil Strong, following his superb performance in the last game what could he produce today!  well........... we will have to wait and see. Unfortunately the next to fall foul of the ever accurate bowling was Hooters with a very decisive finger raised by the umpire and LBW sent him packing with a promising 15 to his credit. It was time next for the young blood of ‘Woody’ Turner to see if he could raise the tally against the demon bowlers, but the persistence and accuracy of J Howard for Bardwell claimed his 2 wicket and it was all over for young Turner for nil runs. He was instantly replaced with ‘Turner’ senior, could Nick steady the ship and partner Phil to a strong innings, well they certainly did their best with Nick knocking a very useful 16 to the tally until G Howard struck this time clean bowling Nick. There was still more to come, however the overs were declining rapidly, it was the turn of John Nice to take on the master class of bowling we were witnessing, the runs continued to rise with a mixture of singles and the occasional double run until the inevitable happened, Phil was the next to fall to this persistent barrage from the bowlers ending his steadfast efforts with the highest scorer of the day at 33. Kevin Harris strode into the crease next desperately wanting to move the overall score on and willing to take risks along the way. The end came all too soon for Nice and he to, was clean bowled for 14. With hardly any time left it would be down to Connor Harris to join his father to close the innings out with a final total of 9 not out and Connor adding one further, also not out.

After the break it was time for the Bardwellians to come back at us, had we done enough or would we be undone by our own lack of runs! The opening pair of Bruce and Meyer started the proceedings (interestingly neither took part in the bowling!). It was clear from the start that they were both accomplished batsmen. Could the early efforts of Cowley and Capt Gleed do anything about these two, it took a while until a delivery from Gleed top edged the bat of Bruce and the ball popped over the head of Bruce and at full stretch into the safe hands of Strong behind the stumps and to much relief and jubilation we had managed to prise one of the openers out of the crease. Beaumont was next , but beforehe could get settled a ‘full toss’ delivery from Gleed sent him directly back to the pavilion. John Nice and Ciaran Harris were next up to bowl and the pressure continued with Nice dispatching Morris clean bowled, Harris trapped Bruce with a superb LBW and then went on to dispatch Trench for a duck, not to be outdone, Nice came back bowling Dunn for only 2.

Jeremy Allen and Nick Turner were our next pairing and they didn’t fail to deliver at all, with each taking a wicket respectively. The game was looking like we could take it, but what had ‘Bardwell’ left to throw at us, had they already played their trump card or were their excellent opening bowlers, that caused us so much damage going to come back and haunt us! Howard and Sadler were in bat for Bardwell at this point and Connor Harris with Henry Maddever stepping out to give them some grief we hoped, young Henry took an excellent wicket with his first delivery much to our relief, but this left Howard still there, soon to be joined by Beaumont, these two soon settled and inflicted some serious damage in the runs department, both clocking up 3 fours each with numerous runs besides.

They were closing in our total with overs in hand, even after our terrific efforts in the mid spell taking 6 wickets for 7 runs, the opening pair Bruce and Meyer, now Howard and Beaumont combination were threatening of overhauling our target to take the match. A cracking delivery from Connor Harris did away with Howard for an LBW much to our delight; the game however was still hanging by a thread. Up stepped the twelfth man, that’s correct twelfth man, you could say at this point we had created our own destiny by having to many people but  whatever the teams were even, we just failed to take full advantage of our own innings to the point we had 3 batsmen in hand and Bardwell won the match with their twelfth!

All in all a great game with a fine bunch of chaps and it was great to see a team sporting a couple of youngsters much like ourselves, a great day ended over a couple of beers at the Hawkedon Queens.

 

Whepstead CC v Lidgate CC Sunday 9th June

Final Score:- Whepstead CC 84   Lidgate 182

 

What a difference 2 inches would make!!!!!

 

Well you may wonder, as the match unfolds hopefully all will become perfectly clear.

 

On what was an overcast and a tad chilly afternoon, not quite the glorious ‘Flaming June’ afternoon we had hoped for, our old friends from ‘Lidgate CC’ began to arrive for our home leg of our annual challenge. Unfortunately they could only manage 10 for their team so to balance things up we would be supplying an additional fielder when it was our turn to bat. Having come second again in the toss, Lidgate opted to bat first to set the standard. The opening pair of Archer and Boyle settled in quite quickly trading the odd single between them apparently absorbing everything that Wray and Morris could throw at them, then a rash swing from Boyle presented a catch for Gleed for 5 runs, this was closely followed by a blistering delivery by Wray and Archer was bowled for 2. Things were starting to look promising. The next pairing of Howley and Whitfield we a different cup of tea, both to remain rooted to the crease until late into the game, each achieving a creditable 50 and respectively forcing them to retire in turn. Was this going to be our change of fortune we needed, for us to try contain this runaway train! They were replaced with Fry and A Green, Green managing 4 before Hooton took an excellent catch to dismiss him, Fry was a different beast, going on to a fine 31 not out, ‘ O Green’ and ‘N  Fursden’ achieving 10 and 9 respectivley.

 

Thank goodness for tea and tiffin!!!!

 

What could we do against this absolute master class of sure footed batting Lidgate had produced?

D Hooton and Woody stepped up to open our innings, both had been assured to settle in and do their best, well the Lidgate boys had different ideas, dismissing both of them for nought with two close cover catches. Matt Camps and Jezz  Rose were the next pairing, to see if they could have any effect on the stunning start from the Lidgate boys........... Camps and Rose settled in well and started to notch up a few runs against the venomous bowling that Lidgate were producing, a creditable achievement for any man. Then a moment of madness and hesitation by Camps left him a metre short of the wicket and with some very responsive fielding, he was run out for 15. John Nice was next to face the unknown but he too would soon be undone by a very rare error in concentration to be clean bowled for 10, Young Henry Maddever was next in’ only to be caught after one of his strongest innings of the season so far, scoring his first run also well done lad. M Wray was next in and astonishingly he too was caugh for 1 run (oh dear it was all going a bit Pete Tong). Simon next made his first appearance of the season very quickly running four 2’s in quick succession when in a moment if imbalance from a bouncer accidently stepped back onto his own wicket (damned unfortunate that). Our big hitter D Cowley was our next hope, could he produce one of his big hitting innings and enable us to regain some sort of hold in the game!, through all this Rose kept plugging away and had accrued 30 runs, (top man) he too though to be caught from a loose swing at a delivery that would have been best left to the wicket keeper. Mike Morris stepped in to join Cowley and both were keen to add on some runs, after a couple of quick singles it was one run too far for Morris. He was the next to fall foul of the efficient fielding of the ‘Lidgate boys’ falling short in his attempt to make the crease, as he strolled off the field he mumbled to himself “what a difference 2 inches would have made eh!” much to the amusement of the remainder of the team applauding his comical efforts.

Gleed was last man in, with Cowley still at the other end, this was his chance to make a name for himself as a batsman instead of just a reasonable bowler!

Ah well not this time a badly chose stroke to a pretty good delivery made a simple catch for the bowler and it was all over.

Thanks to Lidgate for a great game and a masterclass in batting against the best we could throw at them, we look forward to the return match gents. 

Whepstead CC v Barrow CC Sunday 7th July

The Whepstead troops turned up at Ickworth Park to do battle with Barrow under a blue sky and in blistering heat.  Kev Harris, the stand in captain, took advice from junior Conor Harris. Apparently in a school science project, he reckons that when tossing a coin, heads beats tails by a ratio of 60/40. Why? No idea, but heads was the call and heads won. Taxpayer’s money well spent. Whepstead elected to bat, preferring not to field and bowl in the heat. A strategy that would depend on two factors – one, we would not be shot out for a low score and two, the temperature would drop later in the afternoon. Nothing certain about either.

Dave Hooton and Dave Cowley opened the batting and both looked solid. Then Cowley's eyes lit up at a full toss, a big swing, a bigger miss and stumps everywhere. First wicket down for 14 runs. Cowley out for a good 12. Next in Phil Strong back from his holidays in the sun and one would have thought acclimatised to the heat. But no, bowled for 1 and walking back to the comfort of the clubhouse. Maybe it was noise of what Phil thought was a beer barrel being tapped in the clubhouse. Unfortunately for him, it was only the noise of a gas bottle being changed. A disappointment to Phil on two fronts!  The Whepstead waiting batsmen, huddled for protection in a shade of a tree were looking nervous. More so after Jeremy Rose, the next batsman, was out after not troubling the scorers.

At the 10 over stage, Whepstead were 30 for 3 wickets. The strategy of keeping out of the sun was looking floored. However, Jeremy Allen walked out to the crease to join Hooton, who had watched the wickets tumble from the other end.  With Hooton, batting steady at one end, Jeremy unleashed a serious of shots, and in double quick time, the pair put on an excellent 100 partnership. Under clear skies, the only cloud gathering on the horizon, was the prospect of the two batsmen having to retire. With each near

reaching their 50s. Jeremy was first to his excellent half century. Fantastic innings.  Woody Turner joined Hooton at the crease and was run out for 1 as they looked to push the score on. Andrew English then joined Dave Hooton at the crease. Shortly after, Dave reached his excellent half century. A real openers sold performance and just what the team needed.

With the last over in progress and wickets in hand it was swing at everything. Kev Harris was caught for 4 going for a biggee whilst Andrew English with 7 not out and Conor Harris 1 not out took the Whepstead score to 143 for 5 wickets off the allotted 30 overs. Giving Whepstead’s frailty at times on the batting front this season, a good effort.

Talk at tea was whether the heat would have the desired effect on the opposition batsmen, given they had spent two hours bowling and fielding in the hottest part of the day. We emerged from the various bits of shade around the ground to take our fielding positions. A nice breeze had got up. Things were looking up. Opening the attack Jeremy Rose and Dave Cowley. Both bowled well and kept the Barrow boys in check, Dave finishing with 5 overs for 16 runs and Jeremy 2 wickets for 22 runs off his 5 overs, both wickets going to excellent catches by Woody and Dave Cowley.

Next up to continue the pressure was Phil Strong and Conor Harris.  Would Phil still be in holiday mode or could he get into the “zone”. After 13 runs from his first over, the Captain was thinking, holiday mode but suddenly Phil was in the zone and conceded only 12 runs from his other four overs. An excellent effort of 25 runs from 5 overs for Phil. Unlucky not to pick up a wicket or two.

From the other end, Conor Harris was looking dangerous with the extra bounce he is getting this season.  First wicket for Conor was a fantastic catch by Jeremy Rose taking a skier looking into the sun.  His team mates stood and watched as the ball came down with snow on. . Bets were quickly taken – with the ball coming out of the sun the bookie stopped taken bets for a dropped catch.  Jeremy looked as surprised as everyone else as the ball stuck in his hands.  Next wicket, a great catch off by Colin Botting of an edge, who was looking sharp behinds the stumps. Conor finished with a fine 2 wickets for 21 runs off 5 overs.

The Barrow boys were keeping up with the run rate but loosing wickets regularly.  Then the dilemma for the Captain.  Do we stick to the tried and tested older players for the last few overs, or give a bowl to the younger players. Tough call.  But if clubs are to survive then it’s important to ensure all players feel part of the team. So next up was young Alastair English who bowled 3 overs for 19 runs and showed excellent promise. At the other end Jeremy Allen, recovered from his batting efforts, bowled a mixed bag of deliveries, with no two deliveries the same keeping the batsmen, Colin behind the stumps and all his teammates guessing.  But it had the desired effect claiming two wickets, a caught and bowled and again an excellent catch behind the stumps by Colin.

Andrew English and Woody bowled the last couple of overs as Barrow reached the target with two overs left. A great effort played in the right spirit.

A look at the score book will reveal that of the 7 Barrow wickets take, 6 were caught with one a run out. Apart from two quarter chances not a catch went down which must be a first.

A big thank you to Roly for scoring.

MAN OF THE MATCH – strong   candidates would obviously have to be Dave Hooton for his batting and Jeremy Allen for his batting and bowling. However, MAN OF THE MATCH goes to Colin Botting for his fantastic efforts behind the stumps, with two sharp catches and who missed little all afternoon. The scorebook reveals only 4 byes and 2 leg byes for the innings

 

Whepstead v Bardwell 4th August 2013

Bardwell win by 3 Runs

On a warm Sunday afternoon, the Whepstead troops assembled at Bardwell, intent on exacting revenge for the last over defeat by 1 wicket  inflicted on Whepstead by Bardwell at Whepstead earlier in the season.

Stand in captain, Kev Harris won the toss by calling heads and put Bardwell into bat, knowing that the Whepstead batting line up can be frail at times. A strangely subdued Whepstead team took to the field , perhaps thrown by the captains decision to open the bowling with Darren Hannan, on loan from Treatts Cricket Club and the spin of Dave Hooton , who had not much of a bowl all summer. No wickets for either, but both bowled well, with Darren going for 22 runs from his four overs , whilst Dave went for 17 runs from his 3 overs. With a very short boundary on one side and a steep hill on the other it was fairly obvious that it was not going to be a low scoring game. Next into the fray were more regular bowlers, 14 year old Conor Harris and the slightly older Simon Pratt-Adams. The Bardwell team were a mixture of league senior players and three younger Bardwell players from the junior leagues and it was clear that the Bardwell batsmen were not going to be a push over. However, accurate bowling from both Conor and Simon were causing the Bardwell batsmen problems and soon they were amongst the wickets. Simon clean bowled the opener Trench for 20 finishing with an excellent 1 wicket for 18 runs from 4 overs.  Conor with the extra bounce he is getting nowadays , clean bowled the other opener Blake for 34 runs whilst Harris senior took a catch from Harris juniors bowling to dismiss Beaumont for 13 runs. Conor finished with bowling figures of 2 wickets for 15 runs from four overs. A great effort from both bowlers.

Next up for bowling honours were Phil Strong and Bardwell Youngster Jacob Wade, who we press ganged into the side from the watching crowds pre –match as we were one player short. Both bowled well with Wade finishing with 0 wickets for 12 runs from 2 overs. Phil picked up the wicket, eventually of Foreman, caught by Dave Cowley at mid-off after the Bardwell skipper watching in the crowd , clarified with the Bardwell Umpire whether the ball was a wide or a no ball. The umpire called the ball a wide, hence the batsman was out  . A very sporting gesture by Bardwell and not the first that afternoon. Phil finished with a good 1 wicket for 23 runs from his 4 overs.

Dave Cowley was next up for the bowling spoils and despite excellent bowling was unlucky to finish wicketless , going for 20 runs from his 3 overs. Both John Nice and Mike Morris finished the bowling off strongly, with Mike finishing with 1 wicket for 19 runs from 3 overs having run out Bruce for 9 runs. At the other end, John Nice bowled at the death switching off the Bardwell run machine conceding only two runs from his four overs and picking up two wickets in the process. An excellent job by both Mike and John . Bardwell finished on 196 runs off their 32 overs at just over a run a ball.

Whepstead’s batting this season has often  seen it ebb and flow during matches with the team doing well and then getting bogged down. With a run a ball required from the off it was obvious we could not afford to go slow and had to be positive from the start. With that in mind, the new opening partnership of Harris senior and Dave Hooton took to the crease. We were going to have to bat better than we had all season. Dave took the first over and it was apparent we were going to make a go of the target with Dave hitting a couple of balls for 4. When harris hit his third scoring shot out of the ground for a six it was game on. With a combination of quick singles and boundaries both Harris and Hooton put on 77 runs for the first wicket at a run a ball . The partnership was ended when Hooton was given LBW for a fantastic 34 runs (5 fours)  playing across the line to a straight delivery.From the first over, the Whepstead team, strangely quiet all afternoon suddenly burst into life, cheering every scoring run. Perhaps there was a belief that we could win. Phil Strong was next in. Could he keep the momentum going? Well Phil thought so as a full toss headed his way. A four ball written all over it. Now just to decide whether to drive it or pull it for a boundary. In the end neither as the dam ball had the nerve to dip at the last moment and bowl Phil for 1 run. Witchcraft! Were the Whepstead wheels about to come off? Well no. Harris senior continue to maintain the momentum with the scoreboard ticking over nicely. Harris was eventually out  for 49 runs (1 six and 7 fours) lbw. With D.R.S. not available a positive innings had come to an end. 94 runs were on the board at virtually a run a ball.  Dave Cowley and Simon Pratt-Adams continued the push with Cowley hitting a few lusty blows and Simon pushing quick singles. The pair put on 23 runs until Simon fell LBW for 7 runs. An important partnership had taken the total to 117 runs. Dave was now joined by John Nice. Once again both Dave and John maintained the chase putting on  a further 19 runs until Dave Cowley was caught for 20 runs (1 six 3 fours). An excellent innings. The total at the fall of wicket was 136 runs. On loan, Treatts captain Darren walked out to join John Nice and was soon walking back from whence he came after being bowled for a duck with the score stuck on 136 runs still 60 runs short of the target. 6 wickets were down. Maybe that was going to be it. However, the Whepstead batsmen refused to lay down. Mike Morris was next in to the fray. Putting on  13 runs with John until he went for 10 runs (2 fours) after being clean bowled. A good effort .47 runs now needed for victory. Out strode, Conor Harris all 6ft 4 inches of him. Not known for his batting. But John Nice, taking the lead by  playing some sensible shots and Conor taking quick singles and rotating the strike put  the Whepstead run chase back on track. 32 runs were added in 30 balls  .Conor was bowled for 6 runs. Total now 181 runs. On loan Bardwellian Jacob Wade came out to support John but was sadly bowled for a duck. That left John and now Colin Botting as last men standing now needing 15 runs of about 15 balls. John continued to bat magnificently. It came down to the last ball. John waited for the scoreboard to be updated. The call came in from the scorers – 5 runs to draw 6 runs to win . (In fact the scores were much closer with 3 runs to draw and 4 runs to win).  Some 30 spectators plus players were present to watch the drama unfold. John , believing a six was required , took a deep breath as the bowler approached and went for a biggee only to see his bails go flying. Whepstead chasing 196 were 193 all out of the last ball of the match. John   finished with a brilliant 43 runs (5 fours) and glued the latter part of the batting together. Colin finished 0 not out. A great match played in a great spirit. A big thank you to Bardwell for their hospitality during and after the match. A big thank you for Darren from Treatts for helping us out and also young Jacob Wade from Bardwell.

MAN OF THE MATCH – JOHN NICE for both his fantastic  bowling and brilliant batting performances.

 

Whepstead v Lidgate 18th August 2013

Final Score  -  Whepstead CC 136 Lidgate 200

 We gathered at the illustrious Ousden recreation ground for yet another encounter with our old adversaries, over the years we have come to know them well and their already strong batting line up has become stronger over the years with the introduction of one or two new faces, not to mention what was going to prove to be a very interesting and unpredictable wicket!

Well to maintain form over the season I lost the toss yet again and Lidgate opted to bat first and set us a challenge. The opening pair of Archer and Justin were not going to hang about, tonking us for fours all too frequently right from the start, interspersed by a few sixes and a number of singles as they took advantage of the wickets early response. Our first break came from a challenging delivery by English that took a nick and was superbly gathered behind the wicket by an in form Botting, our first wicket for 35 runs. S Hawley was the next man in, but not for long...... brilliantly bowled by a delivery form our very own Mike Morris (excellent job old boy) sending Hawley back for a further 3 runs to the home team total. Things were looking up!   had we made a breakthrough!    Next into the breach for Lidgate was J Whitefield and to our shock and amazement opened his score with a four, but this was not to be his only one, in fact both he and the opener of Archer appeared to be set in for the duration! Between them they kept notching up the score and it was not until Archer reached a superb 49 did we get our next breakthrough when he went for LBW off a very accurate delivery from Simon Pratt-Adams, though not questioning the decision Archer appeared a little bemused by the decision but left the crease honourably having played a magnificent part in their teams total so far of 110 runs. There were still some 12 or more over’s to play and at this rate we were looking like getting the thrashing of the season. S Hayes came to the crease to join Whitfield and we could not have foreseen what they were about to achieve, between them they put on a total of 101 runs with Whitfield retiring on 55 not out and Hayes being run out having reached 46. We pressed on with Dunling bowled for 1 by a further first class delivery from English with his 3 tremendous wicket caught superbly in deep cover by Phil Strong. The innings finished with Green and Smith not out, Hyde knocking 3 4s for his 13 total and Smith adding 1 to their overall total of 200 off 32 overs.

 

Thank goodness it was time for tea

 

Time for part two, the opening pair of Harris and Hooton went to face our foes, full of confidence it was time to inflict their venom on our old opponents, then the unthinkable... no.... the unimaginable happened, Harris patted his first delivery and was duly caught by a Lidgate fielder suffering the most embarrassing of all calls!  Quack Quack  Quack yep one of Whepstead’s most solid batsmen earned his first Golden Duck. Simon Pratt-Adams was number 3 and out he strode much to his surprise after the early demise of our opening bat. Both Hooton and Adams battled on with grit and determination and at the end of the 8 over and thanks to their determination and skill we were sitting at 53 runs. Now you don’t need to be Einstein to work out that we were on course to overhaul the target set by Lidgate, then our luck turned along with the wicket, Simon was the next to fall with a creditable 23 bowled by Archer, Tony Hodgson was our next to bat and opened with an excellent 4 but was bowled soon after having managed 1 further run. Gleed was next in and though not known for his strike rate, he too was well aware of the need to do his bit in the fight back, grabbing just 3 singles a misjudged strike took a top edge that fell all too easily into the hands of another Lidgate fielder. John Nice and C Harris were the next pairing to face the Lidgate boys, with the wicket deteriorating as the game wore on and with the match starting to slip away from our grasp they battled on with Harris running like I have never seen him before encouraged by John, sadly John fell victim to an uncharacteristic loose shot and was punished for his error caught for 9, well below his par. Morris joined Harris and their pairing battled on like something possessed, exchanging courtesies as they passed up and down the wicket with shouts of “THERES ONE,  NO  THERES TWO” and “STOP” or “YES THERES TWO” At one point I thought that we were going to have to call for oxygen for young Harris as he knelt at the wicket catching his breath, such was the frantic pace. Harris was bowled following his seasons best innings of 23 a hearty well done for a gritty performance from the young gun (a lesson to be learnt by Harris senior I think!) Morris battled on further with Phil Strong but went soon after Harris with a simple catch taken in the field, with the deliveries drying up our man of the match Andrew English (for his fabulous 3 wickets) stepped up in the dying minutes to see what he could do for the team, but he too could not make any impression falling for a fatal Duck being caught off his first delivery. He was closely followed by our last man in to face the final delivery Colin Botting, he too was to be undone by ‘Hayes’ for Lidgate, being caught and bowled off the very last ball.

 

Losing the match by 64 runs becomes insignificant when we look at the positives like We only gave away 7 extras (Lidgate gave 15 extras). Conor achieved his seasons best of 23 and Andrew took his first hat trick of wickets with WCC

 

So plenty to smile about sharing a cold beer at the ‘Lidgate Star’ with our opponent’s exchanging comments and opinions of the game.

 

Whepstead v Barrow 1st September 2013

Final Score  -  Whepstead CC 139 Barrow 74

WONKY’S BACK!

 

This was it the, last match of the season from our long list of opponents that we started with, back in April earlier this year. Well you would never believe it, but I actually won the toss for the first time this year (better late than never) was this a sign! Could we pull it all together for our final match? We had endured the highs and the lows of the game over the year, with some deserved wins, some close run losses and a downright thrashing on one occasion. With luck (what little there was of it) I took the bold decision to bat first and see if we could provide Barrow with an impossible goal to achieve.

Full of spirit and confidence the opening pair of D Hooton and K Harris strode out to face the opening bowlers of G Shaleb and M Norman, the afternoon couldn’t have started any worse with Harris swinging at a delivery that he later wished he had treated with a little more caution, he lofted the ball high into the air but sadly with insufficient oomph to get close enough to the boundary and was picked out of the air by an able Barrow fielder that was 1 for 1. What has happened to Kevin that was his 2 duck in succession! (Was it time for the return of the ‘Golden Ducky’ award) only time will tell. Moving along swiftly......... Jeremy Allen was our next challenger to step forward to face our opponents, looking confident and solid from the start and cheered on by his children (and the family dog) the match started to move forward along with the score, finally in the right direction!

Jeremy and Dave worked well as a partnership keenly grabbing runs at every opportunity (unfortunately the rather thick outfield kept the running total well below where it should have been) fours were very hard to come by and the excellent bowling was adding to the difficulty of scoring a six close to impossible. Jeremy was the next to fall clean bowled by R Ford with a creditable 17 contribution to the score sheet, an excellent stance well done Jeremy. Andrew English was number our number 4 to bat, keen to avenge his shocking nought from the previous game, had a point to prove! And prove a point he did, with a very focused solid stance settled into the game working the wicked with Hooton to take any opportunity of a run that became available and between them took the score to 69 before Hooton became the next wicket to fall, being caught after a solid 31 runs to his name, great stance again Dave. It was suddenly my turn to try and add something to the scorecard, not renown for my sporting skills let alone my pathetic run rate for the season I had to do my best, feeling quite relaxed we started to add one or two more to the score sheet, but the bowling of Tom Hubbard was accurate and relentless, such that the moment I lost concentration I also lost my off stump and it was back to the pavilion for a mere 3. Slugger Cowley replaced myself at the crease, he was primed to hit everything he could, out of the field (just like we always ask) and true to form he began with a four followed by a six, just what we needed, both he and Andrew made runs as they created each opportunity, propelling the score upward. On reaching the magical 100 runs on the scoreboard following another four from Dave Cowley his next attempt to pass the boundary fell a smidgeon short and an excellent catch on the boundary sent him on his way, tremendous effort Dave. Connor Harris joined Andrew at the wicket as time was running out, following his best performance of the season against Lidgate 2 weeks earlier we all urged him to play with conviction and confidence. Bless him he did hitting a terrific four as a opener in the process, adding a further 6 runs before being regretfully clean bowled for 10 with only 1 delivery of the innings remaining, great effort and long may he continue to grow in confidence. Our extra man for the day was young Jack Johnson who stepped forward to face the final delivery for us and amidst the

fielding confusion managed to grab a final run off the last ball, well done to Jack and Andrew for taking a brave opportunity.

 

In the absence of our regular refreshment provider Jenny, we all tucked into a rather fine afternoon tea, on this occasion provided by Caroline, Ruth and Jean, many thanks ladies for stepping in and maintaining the very high standards that we have become renowned for.

 

Part 2 started with great expectation from the Barrow Boys, having pipped us in our first meeting at Ickworth Park they seemed quietly confident that their boys could better our score of 139 off 32. Their opening duo of Shalev and Narayan started the proceedings with Shalev starting his innings with a bold 4, supported by Narayen with a couple of two’s. The bowling of Harris and Gleed as openers kept them both pinned back though with Harris taking the wicket of Shalev in his last over with 1 for 10 runs to his credit and myself 0 for 4 runs, had we taken the spring out of their step! We hoped so. Camps and Cowley were our next pairing to attack the Barrow Boys, with Cowleys pace and Matts accuracy the opposition started to feel the relentless pressure we were putting onto them, Camps was the first to strike with a wicket caught by Hooton off his 2 ball and Taylor walked for nought, Cowleys 1 came off his second over, LBW Howzat!...... instantly given by the Barrow Umpire  and Pennell was off for 12. The barrow smile was starting to fade and the pressure was being felt as they were struggling for runs against the continued pressure being applied by Whepstead. It wasn’t over yet though, Matt went on to take 2 further wickets unaided and without a safety net both for nought runs finishing one of the best bowling performances of the season of 3 wickets for 11 runs, nice one Matt! I guess it’s safe to say ‘Wonky’s Back’ Not wanting to be outdone Dave also managed a brilliant only just overshadowed by Matt with his 2 for 10, a brilliant pairing that rocked the heart of the Barrow front runners. With still plenty to do Morris and English had their part to play to see off the tail enders as the over’s ticked by, Morris struck with his first wicket for only 1 and Ford went for Barrow, he followed this by another wicket in his second over that was 2 for 2 runs, English was also bowling extremely well despite a couple of fours in his first 2 over’s. Morris had not finished and took his 3 wicket in his fourth and final over with another with another LBW called for and confirmed by the rigid digit of the umpire, not to be completely outdone by Mr Morris, Andrew English rounded his spell off with a maiden over between them, they left Barrow floundering on 8 wickets for 60 runs! The last Bowler in was our very own Simon Pratt-Adams, unfortunately Simon did not get a chance to prove his competence with the bat this week due to the steady performance of the front runner batsmen, but it was his turn to shine and bring this game to a conclusion along with Cowley and his remaining two over’s to bowl. Simon struck first with a pacey delivery that Paxton for Barrow could not handle and a safe catch behind the wicket by Hooton was the inevitable conclusion. With the final batsman in place the relentless onslaught of the bowlers continued, with the field strategically closed in, with exception of a couple sweeping on the boundary, how long could they last, could they achieve what looked like the impossible! It was all a bit much for the pairing of Freeman and Hubbard and the last ball of Cowley’s over did it all, taking the stumps of Hubbard, it was now all over, bowled out for 74. This was by far the most emphatic performance of bowling of the season for WCC, a just reward after the close loss of the earlier encounter, Man of the match! Well that’s a difficult choice for the captain after a team performance like this, with English 0 for 15,Gleed 0 for 4, Harris 1 for 10 Pratt-Adams 1 for 7, Cowley 2 for 10, Camps 3 for 11 and Morris 3 for 4. You won’t see statistics like this repeated very often.

Great performance by a great bunch of chaps playing for the greater good, ‘the team’ thanks you all and well done from a very proud captain.                            

John Wray Memorial Match

Whepstead v Brockley 15th September 2013

Final Score  -  Whepstead CC 80 Brockley 81

It was a wet, windy and very overcast Sunday afternoon at the Whepstead Community Centre, following a lot of work by Colin Botting over the preceding days the wicket itself was looking pretty good considering what the resident rabbit colony had done to it.

After managing to take the trophy in 2012 at the inaugural match held at Brockley they were clearly looking to turn the tables this time around.

Following a brief discussion out on the wicket between the two captains W Hill and R Gleed it was agreed that with the weather likely to close in and ruin the game, we would reduce the overs to 28 and hope the weather would hold off. Whepstead chose to bat first, to try and set a target for Brockley to chase, with a certain amount of reluctance to open the batting the pairing of Richard Gleed and Matt Camps went in to start the proceedings. It was a slow start for the pair with only 2 runs off the first 3 overs, after a brief chat between the two of them they had agreed that if we didn’t take a few risks and go for it, we would have little or no chance of achieving any kind of score for them to chase!

Matt started to knock a few and put some runs on the board, until a miss timed swing saw him clean bowled by J Walter-smith and the first wicket fell, Mark Wray came in to bat next and a lot of hope fell on his shoulders, as one of our strongest batsmen big things were expected of him. Knocking a four off his first ball it seemed that he meant business, however shortly after this while trying to grab 2 further runs, an amazing throw from deep in outfield landed right on the stumps and Gleed was run out.

Andrew English was next out to partner Mark, Mark continued to push on the score and produced a creditable 22 before knocking a shot to square leg straight into the hands of a Brockley fielder, who never had to move an inch to catch the ball. Andrew was still struggling to find his feet, as Kevin Harris stepped out to join him, astonishingly with almost the next delivery, keen to get off the mark, Andrew was also caught out by the consistently accurate bowling from Brockley as he was trapped LBW, sadly before he could add anything to the scoreboard. Connor Harris was the next to join Harris senior at the wicket, would this family partnership become a pivotal point in our quest to retain the trophy or would it be a continuation of what was starting to look like the start of a wicket tumble!

After a slow start by Kevins standards he settled into his groove and with exquisite timing made some cracking shots accruing 5 x fours and a 6 to top it off, during his first class innings, Harris junior was the next to go, being run out for 2. John Nice was our number 7 and we were all hoping it would be a good day at the office and show his father (Roly) how it should be done, but to everybody’s shock John was caught after only a couple of deliveries and adding 1 run to the scoreboard.

The ‘tumble’ was starting to look more like a crash as Mike Morris strode out to face our opponents, with Harris still steadfast at the opposite end, defending his first delivery Morris was clearly keen to do his bit for village and honour!

However his keen approach became a somewhat careless one, with his wickets scattered by the very next delivery, it was back to the warmth of the community centre for Mike (with a quack & a waddle) not quite an ugly duckling but definitely a duck of some description (tough one Mike).

After a few weeks absent from the team dealing with the needs of the land, Jezz Rose now has his chance to become a hero in an afternoon, as he goes out to face the continued onslaught of the accurate bowling from Brockley, however it would not be Jezz to become the next victim of Brockley but our most solid batsman of the afternoon, Harris senior caught off a delivery from Fenner.

A welcome newcomer to the team, Tim Pursglove now had his turn to impress the Whepstodians as the over’s dwindled away, a sharp single by Jezz from the first delivery was looking promising, he managed another single after a few more deliveries, until he too was undone by his eagerness to hit out  bowled by Webb for Brockley.

Now was the moment, “Willy Wallop”(Roly Nice) was dressed and ready for action, it had been some time since he had wielded a bat in anger, with a massive smile on his face and a rapturous round of applause from the team, he strode out to join Tim at the crease. In the dying minutes of the innings, as the remaining deliveries were pitched in with pinpoint accuracy, neither Tim or “Willy” were fazed, grabbing a single from every remaining delivery, Tim ending with 3 not out and “Willy” with 2 also not out, a fitting conclusion to a difficult afternoons batting in the damp soggy conditions.

During the interval we were all treated to another splendid spread with loads of warm tea desperately needed to thaw out the hands of the Brockley fielders and the rather damp umpires Mark Shaw and Colin Botting.

We pressed on with the second innings hoping to beat the ever threatening weather, K Harris and A English opened the bowling for Whepstead, both were delivering some fantastic balls and preventing Fenner and Webb from flexing their muscle at the crease, with Harris taking two wickets, one a fine LBW and English also taking 2 wickets with excellent deliveries, the second with his very last delivery, a great start to our defence of the trophy (or so we thought).

Mark Wray and Jezz Rose were our next pairing to pitch their bowling against the Brockley chaps, both taking important wickets, each in their second over of bowling, with Mark producing an excellent 2 wickets for 3 runs off 4 over’s, Jezz also claimed an important wicket following a superb catch right on the boundary by Matt Camps, not an easy feat particularly in the very damp windy conditions.

It was the turn of Morris and Gleed to try a couple of over’s each, Gleed started with a maiden, however neither were able to add to the wicket tally. With the game ebbing away from us we switched to Camps and Nice to attack their very accomplished batsmen who were starting to look as if they could stay there all afternoon, the frustration for Whepstead continued as the ever resilient pair appeared unperturbed by whatever we threw at them. In the 23rd over the final run was struck and the honours and spoils for 2013 went to Brockley.

Our thanks to the Brockley boys for making a competitive match of it and to Leslie Wray for her support of the match also for kindly presenting the trophy to the winning captain.

At the end of the match an informal prize draw was made with the proceeds of £52 being donated to ‘Help the Heros’ charity.

My thanks to everyone for their help over the course of the season, far too many to mention, without whom the club could not continue.

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