After an entertaining afternoon at Gloucestershire vs Sussex on the Saturday, during which the tourists blagged their way into their holy of holies,
just about legitimised by Sussex Chairman/ Martlet Jon Filby and his wife joining them, a fun evening was spent visiting Bristol nightlife,
with the Chairman reducing the local populace to tears (mysteriously) and our ex-Over ’40s Manager being so impressed by a “4 shots for 10 quid”
deal that we immediately had another. All this was a grand start to the tour but probably sub-optimal preparation for the green top at Stowell Park – once we had found it
after (in some cases) an extensive tour of the Vesty estates! Before battle commenced, Chairman Paul Walker paid an eloquent tribute to
the late Geoff Wills and both teams joined in a minute’s silence.
Of course the local Gypsies knew something and inserted us to bat in a 30 over contest. At this point Phil Savage and Willy Boulter realised that, whilst it was possible
to stay in, scoring runs at any reasonable rate was a challenge, given the stodginess of the pitch and the slowness of the outfield. Elegant square cuts off the
middle of the bat, downhill, resulted in two, uphill, in a single: Phil at least managed a couple of boundaries in his 33, Willy none. The opening stand of 64 was
a cautious accumulation on the whole and everyone afterwards faced similar challenges – David Mann, who enjoys the aerial route and might have prospered, was unfortunately run out by an optimistic call. The Chairman hit a couple of boundaries in his 20 off 12 balls, and David Christmas contributed a very useful 18 as we tried to accelerate: Neils Billing and Bushell swung mightily, and in the end a score of 135-7 was sporting on this deck, without exactly filling the team with confidence.
The Gipsies started pretty well, the opener Macleod threatened to make it an early finish with 27 off 30 balls, but fortunately skied Damien
Cashinella to be caught by Willy, largely thanks to the ball being a bit wet and mushy. Internittently the drizzle began to fall, however a touring team rarely
leaves the field voluntarily ! Damien bowled 4 overs for 14 runs including 2 maidens. The crucial moment came when the Gipsies, with perhaps a slight element of, shall we say, game
management, retired their No. 3 Clarke, who had scored 9 off 46 balls. Johnny Wills bowled very well to tie him and others down (6 overs for 17 runs), and also contributed a fine run out
which not many of the team could have replicated ! Once DC was introduced (3-21 off five overs) things looked a bit dicey for the home team, although runs came
in sufficient quantity that there was never going to be an issue with the number of balls: GG hit 11 boundaries compared to our 6 as the conditions improved slightly.
Phil Walker, Damien and Paul took good catches in the outfield, but a couple of missed chances (one unfortunately by a substitute GG kindly provided) probably cost us a closer finish, if not the game.
In the end GG got over the line with 11 balls and 2 wickets in hand.
Despite the damp, it was an excellent match played in great spirit against a similar-aged opposition, and we look forward to seeing the Gipsies down in Sussex at some point in the future ! Most of the Martlets retired to their Air BnB in Bristol for a “night in”, Chinese takeaway (thanks Bush !) and copious quantities of wine (thanks Phil),
agreeing that these arrangements beat the Premier Inn at Oxford last year. Many thanks to Derek Horsham, our new Vets supremo, who had made the arrangements and Alan Newman for setting up the games !
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