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Harlton v The Philanderers, Wednesday 26th July

Despite rain on an almost biblical scale over the previous few days the game was still on. La Famille Banks was fully in evidence: groundsman/scorer, Captain, player and two supporters. One suspected that Mary Poppins had taken a hand in ensuring play.

Fielding a side of great strength for an evening fixture, the Philanderers batted first and the carnage started. Cows keeping a respectful distance outside the electric fence were soon in danger as Rob Gill launched a familiar assault on the hapless bowling. His 79 off 27 balls seemed enough and he was recalled as the rain swept in. Despite Messrs Rogers and Pearson G (run out taking a cheeky single to a man on the point boundary) falling cheaply, Harlton’s respite was short lived. Leary (40) and Pearson E (70 no) took over from Gill, bludgeoning runs to all parts. 200 came and went and with the rain abating in time for us to take the field, an embarrassingly large total of 209 for the loss of only 4 wickets had been amassed in the twenty overs.

With Sherwin steaming in down the hill, the pitch mysteriously developed life and the previously diminutive boundaries seemed to lengthen. Catches were taken, a batsmen was left stranded mid-wicket by a bullet throw from cover and runs came at a trickle rather than the required flood. But this was merely the overture, as Burnett purred in with 298 scalps already to his name. A catch at cover heightened the excitement but soon he was into his final over still needing a single dismissal for his 300. Skipper Banks had looked comfortable, but with his final delivery, John struck him on the pad and the Philanderers bellowed their appeal. Gill senior, if not the batsman, was sure and history was made.The ensuing sense of team euphoria rather overshadowed the following and rather swift demise of the opponent’s innings ending at 87 all out. But for John’s achievement and the very good nature of the Harlton team and ‘owners’ this would have been an uncomfortably easy victory. I hope that they will host us again.

George Pearson

John at rest in the bar following the emotional turmoil of taking his 300th wicket and the subsequent very large drinks bill!!!

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