The parched brown earth at Streat and Westmeston presented gaping fault lines throughout the outfield . With only 4mm of rain since the middles of May the crispy, brown surface was as rock hard with fissures that were deep enough to actually slide a whole foot into. Reminiscent of 1976 to a few present and of 1955 to the timeless Stan who deserves a special mention for turning out and bowling and fielding at the age of 79. Due to the state of the ground the ball would not run true and tended to jag its way towards, over and round our fielders on numerous occasions . This didn’t seem to happen when Streat fielded mainly because the ball just flew to the boundary or over their heads for six . The Greysman fielding on the Eastern sloping outfield had a torrid afternoon as the ball consistently embarrassed them . There were a few bruises and grazes at the end of the day however no one was actually hurt.
And the game itself?
Streat won the toss and thought they were being clever by making us field in he searing heat – thinking this would lead to a bedraggled and dehydrated group of Greysmen and therefore offering them the chance of victory . They were much mistaken . If we had batted first the formidable batting line up of the Greys would have surely amassed a monstrous total and then Streat may well have played for a draw as we were playing under village rules . So some great tactical tossing from captain Ben as it transpired.
As it was Streat opted to bat and bat they did – very slowly. Their opener was bowled by Ben with a lovely ball that came in and their main hope (a chap called Colin ) chipped away confidently and looked the decent bat he is until he holed out to backward square off Alan where EO took a fine , instinctive catch . The left hand , right hand Porter brothers then settled in for what appeared to be a very long haul , chipping and prodding away as though it was the first morning of a test match . They only seemed to have a go at actually scoring some runs in the last ten or so overs Notable bowling performances from EO who was moving the ball nicely away from the right hander and Rob who bowls with some power and a lot of enthusiasm . After a mind numbing 41 overs Streat finished up on 164 for the loss of 5 wickets – an entertaining cameo from Terry Garoghan was really the best they could muster.
Given the pace that the ball went across the outfield their total always looked very achievable especially given our strong batting line up .Sure enough Biff and Hat Rick started brightly putting on 58 for the first wicket inside 11 overs until Rick departed on 20 . Rob joined the fray and proceeded to put the opposition to the sword . Stan contributed generously with his unique high trajectory lobs – which to be fair nearly got him a wicket . However Rob generally treated him and the other bowlers with little respect and dispatched a series of sixes , including the “car park ” six and the “pine tree” six – both of which were excellent PSM nominations. Their bowling was disappointing until the very end when Matt Porter decided to change his action. However by then it was too late for Streat as Rob and Biff were well and truly entrenched – both achieving excellent half century’s . Biff carrying his bat through the innings and ending up on 55 no and Rob making 78 no .
So an easy victory and an early finish allowing us to repair to the Greyhound in Keymer for well deserved beers.
(Editor’s note: Building on Mr Richard Partridge’s marvellous PSM at Buxted Park earlier in the season – for attempting to distinguish the identity of the oppositions overseas professional player on the basis of him wearing a white shirt – Partridge won the honour of PSM by managing to get into the wrong car on the return from the game, despite the car’s driver being Alex rather than Zack, due to both cars (an Audi A3 and a VW Passat Estate) being black…. Alex – isn’t your car actually blue??! Either way, easy mistake to make.