Camberley 107 AO

Woking and Horsell 108 - 5

 by Des Cooke

After a balmy week of sunshine expectations for the weekends cricket was high, as Saturday dawned however, the traditional first day of the season weather returned, i.e. rain, wind, cold, generally bloody miserable. As the first players assembled at the club it became clear that the two new South Africans seemed a little over keen having turned up already changed into their whites. Surely it’s only a matter of time before this enthusiasm wanes. To Jason’s credit though his wife also turned up with talk of volunteering to score. Things improved even further with the arrival of Woods senior and junior and another offer, this time to umpire. Even the 2nd’s don’t have their own umpire and scorer in tow. With the arrival of Mike Walsh the proceedings took a turn towards the carnival he is renowned for. Having just driven from his home in St Johns, our illustrious skipper, Paul Fortescue, asked him to pick up Amrender from a chip shop less than ½ a mile from his house. Having arrived at the chip shop, Walsh senior then hung around for a bit wondering where this new star wicket keeper was, only to discover he was at another chip shop at the other end of town.

Before too long the team eventually assembled at the impressive facilities at Camberley C.C..  Much was made of the two storrey pavilion with extensive changing rooms where a cat could be swung with ease and the bowling green surface was examined with no small amount of envy. Unfortunately this was all in vain as we were in fact playing a mile down the road at a local comprehensive school. So we reluctantly got back into our five cars and followed their captain to the venue, whereupon Paul was heard to cry “I’m not driving my BMW across that”. Unfortunately only three cars turned up at the school, two cars had apparently been drawn into the well-known Camberley Triangle. After some phone calls the missing cars were located and successfully guided to the ground. At this point it was necessary to avoid a large number of pre-pubescent school children in order to reach the pitch, as they appeared to be holding a sports day on the same field.

A pre-match inspection of the wicket and outfield drew a number of comparisons to a ploughed field and the bowlers in the side were seen vigorously warming up in an attempt to influence Paul at the toss. W&H did indeed bowl first, opening up with the tall right-handed Andrew Walker. Unfortunately he appeared to be suffering from having to drive around in a toy car and found it difficult to pitch the ball in the batsman’s half of the wicket. He thought his luck was changing though when he forced a false stroke from the batsman who spooned the ball to Paul, who later claimed he couldn’t decide whether to catch the ball one or two handed was a valid excuse for dropping the catch. At the other end another debutante, the blond haired South African Jason Bird, bowled with plenty of skill and pace, and with absolutely no luck at all. The bowling was soon changed and the second string attack was brought on. At the road end yet another debutante, the left arm Andrew Turnbull, impressed with his pace and accuracy and deservedly claimed a couple of victims. By now it was clear that the W&H side were far superior and some high jinx in the slips involving Sean Ireland and Matt Allen’s twin brother was firmly quashed as Paul exerted his considerable authority over the team. At the other end Des Cooke was serving up the usual Liquorice Allsorts that is synonymous with his bowling, and having one of the batsmen dropped behind did little to lighten his demeanor. However, a smile was briefly in evidence when Camberley’s most threatening batsmen attempted to place the ball in the pond over his head, only to see Andy Walker holding on to the catch to take a most undeserved wicket. Halim was the next bowler to be given the ball but inexplicably seemed to be trying bowl off 21 yards rather than the standard 22. However, once his run-up was sorted out he bowled with his usual accuracy and accounted for another two wickets. The same could not be said for Paul at the other end however and the skipper was in fact the only bowler not to take a wicket in this game. At this point James Woods was brought into the attack, despite being selected for his batting, and immediately suggested that Smithy’s role as right arm spinner could be in doubt. Five overs of accurate spin bowling produced two wickets, both from miscued drives to mid-off. The Camberley innings was wrapped up for 107 runs and the mood amongst the team was confident.

After a short drive back to their clubhouse for tea, we returned to the pitch for the W&H innings. Mike Walsh and Amrender Singh strode confidently out to the wicket to face the best of Camberley 3rd XI’s bowling. A short time later Mike Walsh slunk back after succeeding in hitting the ball off the square twice and then being bowled round his legs. Making his first appearance was Roger White, Matt Allen’s South African twin brother, whose pre-season nets suggested runs would soon be flowing. Unfortunately, an attempted slog, which appeared to be aimed at a passing aircraft, brought his innings to a premature halt. This brought the last debutante to the wicket, the always perplexing Sean Ireland. Which Sean had turned up today? Would it be the careful innings building Sean, or the free hitting extravagant Sean? We never had the opportunity to find out as a mix up resulted in him being run out after hitting only one ball. Oh well, there’s always next week. Having already impressed with the ball, Woods junior now had the opportunity to impress with the bat, and he took the opportunity very well. Not having Woods senior’s height or build meant there was little power behind the shots, but most of the other batsmen could certainly learn something from his technique. Through all this, Amrender at the other end continued to bat with a mixture of power and luck. Bad balls were dispatched to the boundary at a high rate of knots, while good balls were flirted with outside the off stump. Amrender eventually fell shortly after reaching his half-century on his first appearance for the club and it was left to Paul and Halim to stroke the winning runs.

All in all this was a very good performance from a side that boasted five debutantes, two of whom were colts. Amrender Singh was deservedly voted man of the match by his teammates and did the right thing and bought a jug in the bar later. Reports that suggest Roger, Sean, Des, Jason and his wife were seen in a state of intoxication in the Rat and Parrot later that evening are merely unsubstantiated rumours. Paul Fortescue would also like to speak to anyone who may be able to give him any tips on how to catch a cricket ball.

This match report is factually true, and any resemblance of the characters within it to real people is entirely deliberate. The author can accept no responsibility for the lack of ability of the players in the report.

Report by Paul Fortescue:

The first 3rd XI team of the season set off to face Camberley, league opposition later in the year on a windy, threateningly damp Saturday AM. Vice Captain for the day, Mike Walsh incurred the first fines of the season by trying to pick up the WK at the wrong chip shop in St Johns. Six players made their debuts, including three new to the club and two colts.

Winning the toss and electing to bowl, W&H made heavy weather of the first few overs, with 5/6 balls dug in short - just what's needed in April. Good performances from all the bowlers left Camberly on 112 ( ish) a/o at tea. Fielding points went to Walker and Cooke.

In reply debutant Singh set about the Camberly attack, scoring 54 before being dismissed by a bowler very much of the John Green style. Singh went on to collect the Man of the Match award.

Other performances worthy of note - Woods batted and bowled very well for a young man making his debut - although strangely uncertain of his age(?). Turnbull, also on debut bowled quickly and seems a very good prospect.

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