Twice-bitten Davidson third time lucky at Chippenham Park
Having twice in two years been denied by an obdurate Chippenham side batting out for a draw, captain Rory Davidson developed a Hammond-esque ruthless streak to comfortably lead The Philanderers to a six-wicket win in the first Sunday fixture of the season.
Winning the toss and choosing to field, despite protests from the hosts, Chippenham could only muster 147 in the face of a strong Philanderers bowling display. Showing no mercy, or respect for Sunday captaincy tradition, Davidson opened with himself, partnered by Rutt at the other end. Rutt took an unprecedented two wickets and Davidson one, despite both suffering a drop each, including an early candidate for drop of the season from Dean at point.
With the score 51-3 after 11 overs Davidson saw fit to introduce his change bowlers, and, in a manner reminiscent of a Pakistani captain of the 1980s, nepotismly chucked the ball to family member Gus Bartholomew and former public-school house mate Ben Simmonds (Grafton, Oundle), despite the fact that they hadn’t bowled in eight and three years respectively. This cronyism was well rewarded, with Bartholomew returning figures of 1-21 and Simmonds 1-35, including the wicket of the dangerman Van der Pear, from their five overs each. With Chippenham five wickets down it was left to Rudkin (3-16), Dean (1-16) and Nunez (a sharp run-out) to gratefully mop up the tail.
With only a small-ish total to chase and plenty of time Davidson decided to take his foot ever so slightly off the throat of Chippenham, responding to Gill’s offer of dropping down the order with a token demotion to three. With opener Nunez unfortunately suffering a third ball dismissal this sadly brought Gill to the crease in the first over, and the inevitable followed, Gill smashing an unbeaten 72 to win the game, and do his best to ruin 21 other people’s Sunday. Of course, even a one-sided game wasn’t enough to tarnish a lovely summer afternoon with excellent hosts at a resplendent Chippenham Park.
Thank you to all the “guests” of the club who helped us out in the face of an availability crisis (and even paying £8 for the privilege). Ben Simmonds particularly caught the eye with a quick-fire 31* to add to an enthusiastic fielding display and excellent bowling, but there were also valuable contributions from brothers Rudkin and Bartholomew and we hope to see them all again soon.