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Holkham v The Philanderers, Sunday 4th August at Holkham Hall

So August comes round again, and it’s time for the Philanderers to make their annual late summer trip to the seaside (well almost the seaside - you can probably see the sea from the upper floors of Holkham Hall, at least when the tide is in). After some difficulty (geography and the holiday season being against him) our great leader had assembled an XI containing the customary mix of youthful vigour, seasoned experience to be found only in those approaching (or in some cases past) pensionable age, and a couple of guest players. After General George Pearson had won the toss and invited Holkham to bat, Phils opened with a cunning mix of seam and spin, in the shape of John Burnett’s nagging line and length and Edward Siddle’s sharply turning off breaks. Scoring was slow, and Burnett struck first blow in the 7th over when one of the Holkham openers attempted to break the shackles but succeeded only in spooning a catch to mid-off. That was to be the Phils’ last success for some time as Holkham defied all that was thrown at them and built a century stand for the second wicket. However, both batsmen were then dismissed in quick succession by Gerald Coteman and Freddie Perkins, falling to catches in the deep by John Howe as they attempted to force the pace. Thereafter the introduction of Mihir Chandraker's twirlers bamboozled all who followed. On a wicket giving the spinners plenty of assistance Mihir finished with 5 for 22 off his 8 overs while the returning Ed Siddle turning the ball the other way had 1 for 25 from his 8, as Holkham collapsed to 172 for 9 at the end of their 40 overs. A significant achievement needs to be mentioned before proceeding further. John Howe, often a wicket keeper in his alternative existence, took 4 splendid catches in the deep and set a new club record.

After a generous tea featuring a large quantity of sausage rolls, a superior assortment of sandwiches and a particularly sumptuous Victoria sponge, John Howe and Will Faulkner strode out to commence the Philanderers’ reply (Will, as an Aussie guest, carrying the burden of having to live up to the standards set in games past by fellow antipodean Trevor Lawrence). Lusty blows were struck before both openers fell for 20-odd when apparently well set. Ed Pearson caressed some characteristically graceful shots before he was afflicted by a rush of blood, advancing so far down the wicket that he was almost shaking hands with the bowler by the time he was stumped. That brought father George to the crease to join Finn Karsten who was by then looking well set against Holkham’s largely seam attack. After a period of some circumspection, the skipper suggested to Finn that the game would be better concluded sooner than later, at which point Finn progressed from 32 to 84 not out in the space of just 19 balls, finishing the match with his fifth six into the long grass. And so David Pimblett, who had been padded up while watching the carnage, was denied his entry, and victory was achieved by 7 wickets with more than 16 overs to spare. The undefeated Sunday sequence continues.....

I should add that the proceedings were watched (dare one say admired) by Doug Collard, who travelled down from retirement in Lincolnshire and was doubtless pleased to see that the several Old Perseans he had coached were still following his advice.

Ken Siddle

'The team surrounding visiting cricket guru Doug Collard with the Fuhrer taking a back seat for a change'

'Disappointing match attendance!!'

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