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The Philanderers v The Free Foresters, Sunday 22nd July, at Fitzwilliam

Rutt fells Foresters to have moment in the sun

The Free Foresters Cricket Club, with some credibility, describe themselves on their own website as “the leading wandering club” in the country. After all, they are 162 years old with an annual fixture list of around 70 fixtures, and regular matches against Oxford and Cambridge Universities, the Army, Air Force and the Royal Navy. Their current membership rests at around 2,000 and 89 members have played for England, including 33 as captain. The Philanderers on the other hand - with a mere 33 years history, 20 fixtures, 70 members - have no England captains and a solitary Rwandan international, and maybe its highest claim is to be the best wandering side in Newmarket.

To describe this as a David vs. Goliath clash might be a step too far, but certainly it was a feather in the cap for The Philanderers to even earn a place on the Free Foresters fixture list and a welcome chance to test themselves against a strong side. With the Sunday unbeaten run stretching three years and a stellar side assembled there was a cautious optimism within the Philanderers ranks, which was boosted after fantastic opening spells by both Rutty who wen typically unrewarded but whose four overs cost just four runs, and Campbell, who took one wicket and repeatedly beat the outside edge.

The optimism however was not to last, as The Free Foresters quickly accumulated runs for the rest of the session, reaching 150 for the loss of just one wicket. With ten minutes to go before lunch captain Ed Pearson needed a break through and so returned to Campbell who mercilessly bounced out the young Foresters number 3, leaving them 160-2 at lunch. The Philanderers were now in unfamiliar territory, with the opposition seemingly cruising to a huge total - suddenly smashing 250 against Holkham twice a year didn’t seem so impressive, we were playing proper Sunday cricket, and we were coming up short.

With the various occasional Philanderers “guns” bought into bolster the ranks all struggling before lunch, it was left to old timer Rutt to begin after lunch. Jamie has been a faithful servant to the club for many years but has rarely been one to capture the headlines. In 44 matches to date he had taken just 50 wickets and had never taken a “Five-for”, instead unselfishly and uncomplainingly bowling tough overs, often up hill and into the wind, against the better opposition batsmen, producing economic overs (appropriately enough for a professional economist) but taking few wickets. Perhaps Ed thought he might bore out the opposition with some typically tight bowling, but if that was his hope, he was to be sorely disappointed. Instead Rutt ripped through the heart of the Foresters batting line-up, with an inspired spell of 6 for 15 in five overs, which combined with a sublime run out of the opposition opener for 107 from Campbell, and a solitary wicket for Chandraker, left the Foresters 230 all out.

Momentum was now firmly with The Philanderers, and Hammond ensured it stayed that way, racing to a quickfire 39 from just 28 balls to get the chase underway. Samson (60) and Pearson (40) combined for a classy 108 run partnership, before both fell in quick succession triggering a mini-collapse to a precarious looking 189-6 and 43 still required for victory, and the nerves resurfacing for The Philanderers. We need not have worried, in came man of the moment Jamie Rutt, who, together with Gill (who played an uncharacteristically sedate 50*), to hit a chanceless 25 and give the best wandering side in Newmarket a famous victory over the best wandering side in the country.

Postscript: A truly excellent day of high quality cricket played on a good pitch in excellent spirits - thanks to Phil and Ed Dodson for making it happen. Thank you also to Mr. Chandraker and Mr. Coteman for standing; Dave Norman for putting on a great wicket and day at Fitz.

George Dean

Super Hero Jamie Rutt

Surrounding their inspirational Fuhrer is the heroic team which defeated the Free Foresters on Sunday 22nd July

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