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Result - Hartley Wintney

Sun Apr 25th Match drawn


(c) - candidate

Match report

While the sun shone on the pub garden, those Grannies that lunched, sheltered from the wind, could have been forgiven for thinking it was July. Indeed a sun cream malfunction in the Philpott family led to little to no protection from the orb's rays and a consequent angry red neck for the youth, testimony to the severity of the post lock down haircut!

A Grannies team comprising 4 father and son combinations (it was 5 until the Monday before the fixture) was a clichéd blend of old "Gentlemen" and young "Players" which could have graced the script of any 1950s sitcom. With one honourable exception the Gentlemen were batters and the Players were bowlers.

Against this favourable weather and selection backdrop, once the Cricketers had disgorged its replete diners and the post-prandial coin had fallen in our favour, the Grannies took no time in deciding to bat first, which allowed to some the prospect of sleepy digestion and to others additional victuals.

The club opened with two district/county colts, a seamer and a spinner whom this correspondent has coached in days gone by, but they were gentle with the two old men that opened and Grannies got off to a solid but not spectacular start, as all involved felt their way into the new season. After Gregory was dismissed for a pretty 25, bowled through the gate by a good ball from the spinner which turned sharply, Rowland marched to the wicket, resplendent in blue bingo wings.

With Philpott the Elder at the other end these two put on 125 for the second wicket in 13 overs, scoring at well over a run a ball and applying the accelerator to an already increasing run rate. Rowland in particular struck sumptuously over the site screen at the short end but both found the boundary with regularity and on occasion were even cajoled by their own pride and the expectant (socially distanced!) crowd into running more than just a single. When Rowland departed for 82 the score had raced to 195-2 from 27 overs and Grannies were in sight of setting a formidable total.

Philpott completed a better than run-a-ball century not long after, a first in any format of the game (including Subbutteo cricket), before retiring and leaving the stage to a number of subplots among the remaining Gentlemen who batted; namely Wollen, Puddifant the Elder and Gilley the Elder.

Wollen, sporting a grey fleece with a 50+ TOG factor beneath skiing shades (some whispered prescription), sauntered to the wicket as if he was on the set for a skiing scene in Mission Impossible. An idiosyncratic style involving sword like stabs mixed with prodigious edges from an un-rubbered bat, saw him accumulate almost exclusively in singles while others came and went at the other end.

Puddifant, to howls of his own derision, was “bowled swiping” (a familiar dismissal) by the oppo captain (a near neighbour) before traipsing back to the hutch to the evident delight of many of the opposition, with whom he usually plays on a Sunday.

He was swiftly followed in and out by Gilley. His brilliant white sun hat reminded onlookers of Kallicharan in his pomp but there the comparison ended as he disappointingly holed out to end the innings on the stroke of half time. Grannies declared on 239-4 from 37 overs.

The opposition felt this was a sporting declaration but the skipper, casting his eyes across our youthful attack of Gilley, Puddifant, Brooke Webb and Philpott the Youngers augmented by the guile of Brooke Webb the Elder, felt he had the firepower to take the 10 wickets within the 150 mins left in the game.

The opposition opened positively with the captain and their county U14 putting on 80 for the first wicket until 11 consecutive dot balls created too much pressure and the skipper played round a straight one from Brooke Webb the Younger for a neat 50. At this point the game was on with the club needing 160 from a probable 132 balls, which on a high scoring ground with short boundaries had been done many times before.

However between overs 19 and 30 just 29 runs were scored as tight bowling from Philpott the Younger and both the Brooke Webbs turned the screw, yielding 4 maidens and just 3 boundaries but no much needed wickets.

Grannies began shopping and a filthy full toss from Philpott the Younger in the 30th over was smacked to Rowland at mid wicket but by then the maths was against both sides. Failing light and falling temperatures accompanied a quiet fizzling out of the game as a contest. At the conclusion just 8 wickets had fallen through the day, confirming Hartley as a graveyard for bowlers.

The dying moments were however illuminated by two moments of élan from Kallicharan behind the stumps. In a flashback to the skills of various scrum halves from the 1980s he performed a full length forward dive with accompanying shovel of the ball on to the timbers to not stump one bemused batsman before later completing a two legged block of the ball (which ricocheted 20 yards to short fine leg) with linked backward slip that could have had the judges purring in rhythmic gymnastics.

In our little piece of white clad heaven on this enjoyable Sunday they were an apt reminder of the challenges of our lengthy hibernation but also the joy of once more trying to perform skills which the mind considers possible while the body looks on with faint amusement.

Match info

Gentle Sunday cricket against the HWCC Sunday 2nd XI. Start time of 2pm but meet in the Cricketers pub overlooking the ground from 12pm for lunch.

Cricket Green,
Hartley Wintney,
RG27 8PG

How to get there
Hartley Wintney is on the A30 about 10 miles east of Basingstoke. The nearest motorway junction is J4a or J5 of the M3 both of which connect easily to the A30. The ground and the Cricketers pub are located south of the A30, behind the High St on Oakland Terrace. Parking is available behind the pavilion.