After a hearty lunch in the sunny courtyard of the Victoria with Messrs Pimblett, Dodson, Butler, Burnett, Hegarty and Holkham virgin Matt “the Aussie” Samson plus various wives and solitary dog, we assembled again at Holkham Hall in front of the new pavilion, still not finished (no plumbing!!) A good crowd gathered with a strong contingent of Philanderers groupies settling in for a soporific afternoon on the boundary, thankful that Mr Pimblett had been sent out to umpire!!
On a sunny afternoon with a slight breeze off the lake we won the toss and George P chose to bat. Ben Nunez and Rory Davison opened, the latter in imperious form with some sumptuous drives but alas bowled middle stump. Dodson didn’t last long, caught at slip to the evident amazement and consternation of the home fielders that a catch had stuck. After a stand of 62 Nunez, departed for 37, how many times did he play and miss?? and the stage was well set at 97-3. In came bearded and helmeted Ed P to join Matt Samson at the crease. The match settled down to steady accumulation of runs, Matt getting his 50 with the words, “refocus, lets dig in for another 50!!”. The 160 came up at the end of the 30th over with the Skipper looking pleased albeit slightly concerned that we might not reach his target of 240. He need not have worried as what followed was a “Heskethesk” battering of the opposition bowling with 6s and 4s raining all over the deer excrement strewn parkland. Matt passed 100 with an off-drive, Ed played the shot of the match an effortless on drive through wide mid-on and then dispatched 6s all over the Estate endangering both playing public and fleet of Aston Martins alike. The last over arrived with Ed P on 86 (he’d only been in just over the hour) and after 4,2,4 only 6 needed off 3 balls. A 2 brought this down to 4 off 2 balls. Easy you think but obviously not when you’re partnered by an extremely enthusiastic Aussie. Clipped down towards the fine leg boundary the Aussie call was run 4, the ball pulling up just short, and without any thought of an exhausted warrior at the other end, Matt turned back for the third with absolutely no chance of getting a fourth. Begrudgingly and too exhausted to argue Ed trudged back up to the non-strikers end. The crowd and all players stood in consternation as to what had just happened, Ed P left stranded on 99 (apparently for the 3rd time in his career with the club). Innings closed at 293-3 at the end of 40 overs.
After the customary delicious Holkham tea we took to the field, or rather 10 of us did, David P taking a bit of extra time to finish various cakes and conversations, strap himself up and don the gloves. JB opened from the Hall end to a neatly attired stylish opening batsman who took a single to leave his partner, shirt hanging out, floppy hat and peculiar stance/grip to see out the rest of the over. What ensued next was 8 overs of carnage as the aforementioned dishevelled batsman proceeded to dispatch our attack, and in particular Jono Butler, to all parts of the ground. His 50 came up in the 7.3 overs during which time we were given a Pearson family fielding master class. A totally unnecessary slide to the first single of the innings was followed by a pick up and throw from short mid-wicket for what we expected was a certain run out only to see the ball miss the wickets, and Mr Pimblett, by a mile and disappear to the boundary for 4 over throws. Good effort Ed!! only for George P to let one through to the boundary and another through his legs. The assault was halted in the 8th over when Jono took a very sharp chance at mid-off (cannily having been placed there the ball before by one of the sous-captains!) off Heggars. Calm prevailed for a while interspersed with a 12 ball Heggars over including a wicket when the shocked batsman scooped a rare straight one straight to Matt at cover. Several missed stumpings (sorry David!) and more overthrows, were followed by the champagne moment as Rory, diving full length to stop a firm drive off his own bowling, ran out the non-striker with a direct hit whilst lying sprawled on the wicket. A denied appeal for a catch behind, much to the chagrin of our keeper, riled the troops into action. Rory took out a middle stump and despite a far from elegant drop by Jono, some excellent boundary riding by Mihir and Ben N (poor kness!!) contained the opposition well within the run rate. A superb run out from Ben and an exceptional spell by Mihir, somehow he didn’t take a wicket but his variety bamboozled all the batsman alike. There was still time for their Fakenham pro to moan about being left stranded with the tail again (later internet research revealed he may have been slightly embellishing his season Premrun tally!!) and a final piece of Pearson fielding magic when another totally unnecessary slide resulted in a nasty dislocation of Ed’s pinkie!! Not able to put it back immediately Ed disappeared to Cromer SIU, leaving Ben Nunez stranded in north Norfolk needing to get back to London. The opponents finished at the end of the 40th over on 244-7. A 49 run victory and a total of 537 runs in the day, a total somewhat bolstered by our fielding, Ben and Mihir excepted.
A record 4th wicket partnership - 197 (126* and 99*)
Second highest ever score - 294 – 3
12 overthrows, 11 misfields, 10 poor throws into the keeper (he threw his gloves in disgust at one throw)……..3 missed stumpings, 2 dropped catches and a dislocated Pearson little finger!!