Having heard on Sky Sports News that W&H were to be boosted by the return of our very own Northern Rock, Weybridge pulled out of the Sunday fixture on Thursday. Smithy, left with little time and a Skipper who was off in Ireland where his “mobile does not work”, did the necessary and found some opposition. Unfortunately, having been found by Smithy, the opposition (West Reading) could not find us and they arrived at Brewery Road well after the scheduled start time of 2pm. It seems they spent some time in Wokingham – enough said.
As a result of the very late start, our Skipper risked the wrath of his team (mainly his dad) by agreeing to a 40 over format.
After electing to bat on a beautiful day, Matt duly sent in a couple of early sacrificial offerings. Jamie and Billy obliged by being out early. Top scorer, top wicket taker, top fielder and top pint buyer Albie was sent in at number 3, before the end of the first over! The openers from West Reading were sharp, accurate and very good at appealing!
Since taking on the Captaincy, Matt has shown remarkable timing. He almost always manages to time his entrance to perfection - coming into bat when the bowling attack has started to weaken. Sunday was no exception and Matt knocked off a good 59 off 58 balls. Matt had come out with W&H in some trouble at 23 for 2, it then went to 54 for 4 before he and John put on an excellent 71 for the 5th wicket. When Matt went, Lloyd strolled to the wicket. Early on, our banking friend (not words you hear too often these days) survived an appeal for a stumping by the thickness of his boots and went on to score 24 in a good partnership of 34 with John. John was then joined by Henri Peters, making his senior debut for W&H. Despite trying to run each other out, they built a great partnership of 99 runs. After reaching his 50 with a big 6 over square leg, John cut loose. He smashed the West Reading attack about for the last 6 overs before holing out on the second last ball of the innings. Caught in the deep for 95! On the last ball of the innings, Hamza became the 3rd W&H batsman to fall first ball – quite a feat in a total of 259 for 8. Jerry, out in the middle for one ball, which he did not face, declared himself highly satisfied by his meaningful contribution to the total.
We took supper and, in their usual fashion, our young ladies fed us extremely well.
Hamza started by bowling quite wildly, but he soon settled down and was going nicely before his exertions on the Saturday, when he kept wicket for 50 overs, got the better of him. At the other end, Henri was bowling some quick and good stuff, taking 0 for 21 off his 5 overs. Albie came on first change and bowled a tidy 7 over spell, taking 3 for 26 in 7 overs – good stuff from this season’s top bowler. A couple of the West Reading players got their eyes in and hit some handsome sixes, but straight bowling eventually took its toll. By this time, Mr Cochrane was bowling and he worked himself into a frenzy, as appeal after appeal was turned down. The mood was not helped by West Reading taking an eternity to get each new batsman ready to play. One W&H fielder was heard to remark that they should get a move on as he was due on holiday in August. The Northern Rock got a bit of hammer, but responded well taking 3 wickets for 23 in his 4 overs. Buoyed by the atmosphere, Lloyd was very encouraging to our other debutant, Paul. The fact that no-one in the team is called Paul did not dampen his enthusiasm. Tony, aka Paul, chipped in with an excellent spell taking 2 for 16 off 5 overs. Eventually and fortunately, W&H closed the game out when Tony took his wickets with consecutive balls to wrap it up – a comfortable win by 116 runs.
The after match festivities were not quite up to the delights of Crondall, but it was noted that the groundsman made the mistake of shouting at youngsters who were helping to put the rope out – lucky they did not just tell him to do it himself!
Highlight – could have been one of many - Peter and Billy comparing injuries, diseases of old age and bandages before the game started, Mr Cochrane appealing in a somewhat OTT manner, the performance of the invisible Paul, or Smithy for convincing the skipper to put John up to number 6. However, it was the sight of Lloyd spending Taxpayers' money on a jug which won the day (or night as it turned out).