The big day was shrouded in clouds, but big on village rivalry……anticipation grew as the Pears XI assembled – some ever-presents were joined by a number of new faces – but the unified team looked capable of starring in some geriatric MCC charity calendar as they revealed various heritage garments to go alongside some Sports Direct express deliveries…. Clifton’s new Pyrford caps lent a semblance of modernity that many wore on the pretext of Club honour, only to be fleeced at the bar later!
So how would the Church side look? Would they follow tradition and put out a mixed bag of Congregationalists and relatives…..or would they go for hired guns, freshly home from Universities ready to tenderise Village meat?
The truth was a very fair game that went down to the last ball…. Read on (please!)
A coin toss was won by Vaughan for the Church side , and as is tradition asked the Pears to set a target..
The Pears started with a bygone era reunion – Tim R and Steve T took to the crease – looking nervously at the green patches on a length. Stupendously, they combined for an opening stand of 84, a record (and massive surprise!) for the Pears. Tim sacrificed his wicket on 47 going for glory, whilst Steve accumulated towards a well worked 50, and promptly was invited to retire. Thinking that the Pears were on for a big score, the message went out to accelerate the run getting and give everyone a bat. This strategy rather fell apart as good tight Church bowling, and a challenge to the Pears big hitters, meant that only two more boundaries were scored, and nobody else challenged double figures! Tim L (8), James F (🐦), John M (7no), Simon C (2), Rob T (3), Richard C (7), Jonathan G (5)….were other contributors, with the highlight being the Usain Bolt of the Pears – Candey – overtaking the stalwart – Monday….whilst trying to run a 3 whilst normal 40/50yr somethings would accept a single or a boundary as being the only possible scoring shots!
Good, tight Church bowling restricted us to 142 for 7… With our opening pair being the mainstay.
Mrs R then got the tea urn and sandwiches out for a decent midway snack whilst the Pears deliberated over whether our setting of a competitive total was deliberate or inept!!
Richard turned his speedy running power into the opening three overs and apart from one juggling miss in the gulley from Steve T, got treated with some disdain from the Church’s opening pair. From the other end, David R also mixed some cannon fodder with a couple of decent deliveries managing to get one wicket thanks to a decent catch by Anthony at cover. Then came a really good period of batting from the Church with a few decent partnerships. Broken by wickets from James F, and a bizarre double wicket from Steve T from two shockingly bad deliveries (Botham himself confessed to many of his wickets being from warm up balls, but surely Steve cannot seek comparison!!) one catch being taken by Simon C – who casually ran to his right, opened his trouser pocket, and one handed placed the ball in it!
So with the Church 4 down for 53, it looked like only time before they rolled over…. But the Pears were too assuming. The next pair of Furness (J) and Nicolacci, put on a partnership of 66, and took the Church to the brink of victory. Thankfully during this spell some really tight bowling from Jonathan G, Tim L, Anthony W – meant that the overs ticked by without too many runs being lost.
A need for wickets was clear…. James returned and made the break through and Richard C complemented this with a great final two overs snagging two more wickets, one of which was a stinger taken by yours truly at cover point! A penultimate tight over by Tim R, meant that we reached the last over with the Church needing a dozen or so with two wickets in hand. A suicide run out by Richard C, resulted in Young Ollie R striding to the wicket much to his Dad’s concern, needing 12 from three balls…..a 2, and a 4, meant 6 needed from the last ball…… Richard C showed no mercy, and game over.
The Pyrford Pears social team posts their first ever victory. A win by 6 runs.
Bowling figures : Richard 2wkts 24 runs from 5overs, David 1/14/3, James 2/24/6, Steve 2/19/2, Jonathan 0/9/4, Tim L 0/14/3, Anthony 0/14/4, Simon 0/15/2, Tim R 0/3/1
Great debuts by Rob T behind the stumps, Tim R – runs and the all important penultimate over, Richard C – dressed in a pyjama top – but a very effective close out, Anthony W – dynamic fielding and a superbly tight four overs when we needed them.
Thanks must go to Vaughan and the Church for a cracking game, rounded off by a few ales. To the scorers – especially Richard – ..and the scoreboard operators – Luke and Ross. To Cliff – for his 60 overs of umpiring…and his offer to possibly do some more! To my Mrs – for the teas…