There can’t be many fixtures that have the batsmen salivating as much as Bank of England away – the sort of deck that would see Smithy smiting Curtly Ambrose on the up through cover, then reverse sweeping the inevitable follow up bouncer.
Credit where it’s due then to the stand-in skip for winning and electing to bat on a hot day and a ground which offers little respite from the shade. Things however, did not originally go as planned, and wickets were soon tumbling as W&H found themselves slumping to 72-5. Cometh the hour however, cometh the ludicrously coiffured ginger teenager and his ever youthful sidekick. Otherwise known as John and Albert, the two took the attack to the opposition with Albert leading the way at first followed by Sideshow, playing an exquisitely paced and mature innings – an almost certain hundred denied only by time. The declaration came after 39 overs, the total 205 – 6, with Albie 66 and Siders 83*
In reply the Bank started strongly, moving serenely to 70 without loss. Smithy, inexplicably getting some turn, removed numbers one and three in the same over and the game was very much back on. Another period of calm ensued and it once again looked as if W&H were on the back foot. A third wicket for the skipper however, and the crucial wicket of the opener by Jerry left things wide open again, though the Bank were well up with the scoring rate. Having been slightly overshadowed with the bat, Albert was not to be with the ball, bagging a wicket maiden first up, then, supported to some good catching, three more wickets in consecutive overs. The final over came with the Bank needing twelve to win and W&H 2 wickets. A ghastly Smithy long-hop summarily despatched for four off the first ball had hearts in mouths but he regained his composure to take a wicket with the penultimate ball. The final ball failed to produce a result, and the match was drawn with the Bank nine down.
An excellent day’s cricket with several notable highlights. The Skipper’s flight and bounce and four wickets and Albert’s batting and bowling were both noteworthy, but the real plaudits must go to Sideshow, whose knock was a pleasure to watch from start to finish.