W&HCC 167 AO - J Day 44, C Padmore 35
Ah, the great British summer, long sunny days, cricket on the village green and late night BBQs. Well, last Saturday was all and none of those things. The constant drizzle and the dark made it feel like a November day on Blackpool seafront. I’m not sure the sun ever came up. The kind of day where you wish you hadn’t bothered getting out of bed, some doubted whether Cy had bothered as he was still not at the ground at 1.30, extreme confidence from a W&H number six. He redeemed himself however.
Despite the weather, where else would we be on a cold, wet Saturday afternoon in May than on the outskirts of Croydon for our first away trip of the season and what a place to go. Purley is a nice ground with excellent facilities, including a gym, not something we would consider at Brewery Road, not simply because of the finances involved but because of the extra injuries it would cause. Anyway, our strike bowlers were far more interested in the waft of chips that engulfed you as entered the pavilion. Off they went for a portion of lasagne and chips – excellent pre-match preparation. Thankfully we didn’t have to bowl first as their captain won the toss and stuck us in. Good news for Jerry as he couldn’t see the wicket under the rather large tarpaulin covering it.
W&H were their usual disorganised selves, two of the top six had failed to bring their boxes with them and one of them wasn’t even on the ground but thankfully this didn’t transfer to the middle as Roger White and John Dunbar, pressed in to service as Tommo’s replacement due to a plan cunningly hatched on the M23, set about the Purley bowling with much panache. The pitch played exceptionally well considering the amount of rain falling on it with bounce that we will be unlikely to see anywhere else this season, Mention must also go to Deano who umpired the first ten overs at square leg in gear that would have seen him banned from the Bluewater Shopping Centre. The end of Deanos stint saw the end of Dunbar with the score on 45. Purley's change of bowling brought its reward with 4 wickets falling for 10 runs and a flurry of panic with batsmen charging back to the pavilion to get ready. Thankfully, Woking’s Transport Manager Padmore had made it to the ground by then and with the skippers help, restored some respectability to the score with a very neat 35 before falling LBW with the score on 120. Jerry and new recruit Mahendra Singh Tony hit some lusty blows in to the tennis courts taking the score to 155 before both fell in quick succession and the second collapse of the innings saw us add only 12 runs for the last 5 wickets.
So, 168 to get but with our pace quartet raring to go we had a good chance of winning the game. A couple of early wickets, from Doug n Dom (to be honest they’d be more entertaining on Radio One on a Sunday morning than Dick n Dom or Spoony for that matter) put us in with a real fighting chance. That is when things started to go a little bit wrong. To be fair to Purley they batted well and took the score to 121 aided by some dubious catching even given the dark skies and wet ball. However, when two wickets fell for two runs with 45 still needed the game swung back towards us. The score moved on to 140-6 when their number eight strode confidently to the wicket and within the first few balls of his innings had hit two balls to the tennis court fence, one four, one six, off Storey who had previously been bowling to an 8-1 field (also known as the Manchester City due to their defensive failings the week before). Game, set and match Purley? Not quite. Wickets were still falling, 153-7, 164-8 and even 167-9 as their number eight skied one and Jerry took a good catch. One to win, leg side full toss, flicked to the boundary for four. Game over. So, why did we lose? Not enough runs, possibly, didn't take enough wickets in the first twenty overs, possibly, didn't catch well enough, probably. Poor weather - disappointing, no points - disappointing, great game - excellent. It was a happy camp that set off back to Woking despite the defeat. Back to Brewery Road to sample the delights of Morlers BBQ cooked by candelight. A great effort from him given the weather. Ah, the great British summer.