As the Veterans assembled at Chichester Priory for the last game of the season, the mood was slightly sombre – the Queen’s funeral was scheduled for the following day, the weather autumnal but fine and the sightscreens were padlocked in deference to the football season; the pavilion was even more in need of a coat of paint than the last time we visited, but you could still discern its former charms within its fine historical setting.
Many of the regular Veterans were away, so we had recruited two ‘trainees’ from the Juniors, who brought the average age of the team down by almost a decade. The Hampshire Hogs generously allowed this, no doubt with a view that the average was still quite high.
The Martlets fielded first for a 30 over game and had a perfect start – Derek Horsham bowled Jonathan Grant with his first delivery, modestly claiming that luck had played a major role. The Hogs set about consolidating their innings and put on 31, until Derek struck again, with a delivery which he rightly claimed was worthy of its conclusion.
Will Rydon struck next, with a delivery of great cunning, to bamboozle and remove a classy looking James Kendall and reduce the Hogs to 46 for 3. We sensed that this year, things might be different and that revenge for our previous defeat was on offer. Will’s spell was short but effective, with figures of 1 for 9 off 3 overs.
The next partnership proved difficult to disrupt, with Douglas Trentham and Will Oscroft putting on 70 in 7 overs until Trentham was removed by a fine stumping from Aaran Goode off the bowling of Jeremy McGahan. Will Oscroft followed a few balls later, holing out in the deep. Will Chigwell was run out by a fine Goode father and son combination and the match still seemed balanced – the Hogs were 130 for 6 off 24 overs. But another 56 runs from the last 6 overs left us with a mountain of 186 to climb.
Dean Holden and Justin Hawes valiantly kept the Hogs opening bowlers at bay, but Hill and Oscroft gave nothing away, so much so that the score after 10 overs was 29. Justin finished with a valiant 43 including a fine flourish of boundaries before he was caught trying for another. Alan Newman started well and showed intent, Jes and Aaran Goode played some fine shots, but when their partnership was over, we needed 62 off the last 5 overs and in spite of a spirited partnership of 25 between George Hicks and Deepak Kapadia, we finished with 155 for 7.
The post-match analysis was that the Hogs were restricted to 3 an over for the first 10, but then managed to shift their run rate to 7.5 off the next 20. Our firepower didn’t quite match theirs.
In the late afternoon sunshine, both sides wandered off to the Park Tavern, to discuss the ways of the world and to start dreaming about the 2023 season.
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