How were the Sunday Philanderers, once of the astonishing long unbeaten run, going to respond to their longest winless run for at least 10 years?
Well, firstly by deciding to play a traditional 'time' game with the units of time called 'overs', still cannot see how this was meant to work, the explanation was that there was a desire not to finish too late but without any restriction on how long an over could last. One of those, just agree and get on with it! The other puzzling fact is how such an austere, educated and skilful group as the Philanderers cannot record the proceedings clearly and accurately, all figures below are 'best estimate'.
In any case the flat wicket and the deluge of runs somehow engineered a fair finish anyway.
Free Foresters took first use of one of Billy Norman's finest tracks and had capable looking openers before Finn Karsten bowled their Essex academy, left hander, through the gate. The next man in was quickly dispatched by Umpire Pimblett's upraised finger LBW, would he have lasted longer if his Oundle embroidered shirt had been spotted? We'll never know! 16-2. After a number of boundaries (7) Grimson struck next followed by Farid, 69-4 and the Philanderers were comfortably on top.
How little we knew, little being the operative word as the FF's number 5, Arun Bankay, who claimed to be 5'6" looked bizarrely short to our keeper, Rob Gill who claims to be 6'5", started finding gaps and ran like the wind. He received great support from the lower order in partnerships of 80 with Watson 30, 82 with J Parmer 43 & 58 with K Palmer 31 as the scoring rate raced ahead before deciding to retire in the mid/high 130s to allow his skipper and 'traitor' Ed Dodson to have a quick knock. Ed, after some sweetly timed stocks chipped out for Alex Fullerton a second wicket. Karsten finished with 3-44 and George Dean had a scalp. Gerald Coteman was unfortunately wicketless, he had a chance of a caught and bowled, it was potentially a chance for anyone it was hit so far in the air, I'm fairly sure GC is still cursing dropping it....
So, a total of 305-8 declared after 42 overs, probably a record score conceded and under half way, so how would the Phillies respond?
Surely Rob Gill was key but departed, bowled in the first over. Finn K and Alex F offered hope but departed for single figures. All the while Will Hammond was showing how well he was seeing the ball and how well he can despatch it as anything off-line was ruthlessly smashed as a scoring rate of over 7 an over was easily maintained. Skipper Ed Pearson played the perfect foil as he and Will added 110.
Will's 50 was off 37 balls and his 100 off 66 but after 14 fours and 7 sixes he ran out of steam for the third highest Philanderers score ever, 139 from 87 balls. Remarkably no one achieved double figures until the score reached 144 and Will was on 108*.
But next man Das departed for a duck at 200-5 and over a hundred needed with the Phillies tail exposed. Earlier wicketless, Jamie Rutt was a man on a mission offering Ed support and joining the boundary smashing club with 7 fours, scoring 51 of the 79 added for the 6th wicket but Farid Pardess was equally adroit as Ed saw the team home with 77* (seven 4s and a 6) with almost 5 overs to spare. 307 is second highest total in the club’s history and the highest winning run chase ever.
On a personal note, the lunch and tea were both excellent, I certainly overindulged. Our opponents were great fun and very amenable. A wide range of characters well marshalled by their skipper.
Centurion Will Hammond pictured some, indeed many, years earlier!
Little and Large