Donner und Blitzen!!
With the heaviest precipitation having mainly missed Heathfield Park, the over 40s set off for their first game of the season, a new picturesque fixture. As most had assembled by the start time, MM and skip for the day, Alan Newman, went out to toss. Tails never fails they say, well it did this time and the Martlets were invited to bat on a dampish firm track. Skip was press ganged into trying to remember how to open and along with Jules Hunt took on the young opening attack (they were under 40), Sadly the memory was faded and our future over 40 (newly full MCC member), Jeremy Bushell (14) came in and with Jules(30) briefly plundered the short boundary before both departed leaving us at 55-3. Dad Bushell and John Goodacre then steadied the ship before Neil departed for 19. Enter debutant, Dave Christmas. There now followed the main partnership of the innings as John, relieved (temporarily) of the pressures of MM and captaincy, but still battling knee trouble with a cocktail of performance enhancing drugs, was able to parade his full range of shots, mainly over the short leg side boundary, compiling a superb 76 (4×4, 5×6) while at the other end Dave reached 50 (5×4, 3×6). The partnership was briefly broken as Dave, smiting too early was hit on the ear, drawing blood. He returned to the field with a very fetching Kamikaze style bandage arrangement, complete with red circle at his ear. After both had departed, the re-introduction of the opening bowlers dried up the runs and a declaration was made at 202-7.
After the excellent tea, A ndy Cantrell produced the champagne moment as with his first ball of the season for any team he yorked the HPCC opener. Steady accumulation followed but HPCC never quite got on top against the attack of Cantrell (3-44) and the unlucky Keeling (0-45). Wickets were steadily taken including a stunning diving catch from our youngster and a direct hit run out from Jules and at 155-7 there was sniff of victory. However the first teamer and Aussie were together and had other ideas and despite their best efforts a draw resulted with HPCC 16 short. Dave Christmas took debut wickets (2-43) and Phil Savage 3 catches on his debut for the Over 40s.
1) Degsy in the role of Tinkerbell, in that you never quite knew where he was during the whole afternoon.
2) Dave Christmas taking the field with the opposing skippers left boot (instead of his own) after tea.
3) A Labrador indicating what he thought of Jules’ bowling by taking a dump on the outfield before the start of an over, the first ball then being hit for four. A good judge!
All in all a good day out with excellent hospitality, a close game and to be repeated next season, as some adjourned to the Star and upset the chef with a late order…
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