Cowden CC v B.H.C.C. 3rd XI

Sat 01st July 2017

Cowden Recreation Ground

Buoyed by their recent success & first win of the season the previous week the 3’s assembled at  St. John’s in preparation for the long scenic drive to Cowden (for the uninitiated Cowden resides on the Kent/Sussex border).

On arrival at Cowden we were greeted with a rather straw coloured pitch which looked like it could do anything so caution would be needed when batting, the stand in skipper was encouraged by his team to win toss, bowl, after concurring with this consensus the skipper ambled to the wicket with the Cowden stand in skipper Jon Etheridge, the coin was flipped & heads the call, for a brief moment on landing it appeared the coin was going to stand on end but then it tumbled over & heads was showing. It was at this point that Jon announced that Cowden, like us, also only had nine & all 3 Hancock’s (the mainstay of the Cowden team) had gone on holiday. With this in mind we still chose to bowl first, after a rousing team talk we took to the field with the hopes of grabbing a couple of early wickets to restrict the runs as the gaps with only 7 fielders would be plentiful.

Opening the bowling for the Hill were Adam Hughes (making his 3rd XI debut) & Niall Murphy, Adam bowled some good lines & was rewarded with a wicket for his efforts, a double bowling change bought Ollie Read (also I believe making his 3rd Xi debut) & the skipper on, the two bowlers keeping it reasonably tight as the runs dried up for a period, however a succession of dropped/missed chance’s gave the Cowden batsman all the encouragement they needed & they started to blast the ball to the boundary with ever increasing urgency. The skipper picked up a wicket & after a change of bowler at Ollie’s end Tom Booth  was bought into the attack, eager to make up for his horrendous drop earlier in the innings. The change worked as he bagged the Cowden skipper Jon Etheridge for 45 caught by Adam. The openers were bought back in to the attack but no further wickets fell & when Cowden declared a couple of overs early they had reached 260-3, with A. Wilkes making a very impressive 139 n.o. ably assisted by S. Picketts with a horrendously dirty 50 n.o.  All in all a fairly good effort from the lads on a hot afternoon with a lot of running involved.

Tea was consumed & a chance to sit down, cool off & recharge was gratefully taken by all. The batting order duly sorted & a plan of attack devised, with the words of the skipper still ringing in their ears the openers Toby Wardrobe & Ollie Read set off towards the middle. The game plan however was left in tatters as first Toby trying to pull his bat away from a lifter from only the second ball of the opening over edged to the keeper was quickly followed by Dan Austin a couple of overs later c&b by the left arm medium Taylor, Hill left lurching at 1-2. Andy McNiven strode to the crease with the intent of rebuilding the innings (with a they shall not pass attitude), he & Ollie putting up a wall of resistance but runs being hard to come by, the 3rd wicket fell as Ollie finally tried a cover drive but unluckily got an inside edge & the ball careered into his stumps leaving the Hill 13-3. This bought out Hill’s very own saviour in the shape of Jesus Foley, who looked to carry on where he left off the previous week against Lindfield. One almighty heave from the first couple of balls faced bought cries of “Glory Boy” from Johan the wicket keeper, which seemed to spur Mason on to bigger things, one six hit into the area of the pavilion bounced up & hit an older lady in the arm (she assured us all she was ok) but before Jesus could lay his healing hands on her she had gone. Mason bought up his maiden league 50 with a 6 & was good value for it, when he finally departed for 54 in a stand of 58 Hill had got back to respectability at 71-4. The fall bought Niall to the crease, Andy decided to start again & the two lads started pushing 1’s & 2’s into the plentiful gaps to keep the score ticking over. Andy appeared to pull something (hamstring?) so started to resemble a cross between Curly (the stoic brick wall without the bulk) & Punts (running in high heels) as he found it difficult to run, Niall took this as a signal to get things going & started to “unleash the fury” hitting one 6 into the road & another into the roof of a nearby house (smashing the tile & creating a massive hole in the roof), this prompted  the owner of said abode to come out to the boundary to remonstrate with the fielders.

So back to the game, Niall & Macca continued putting the Cowden bowlers to the sword with Niall bringing up his maiden league  50 in the same style as Mason with a 6, Macca was finally out off of the 1st ball of the last over for a very patient 43 in a stand of 119, Hill required 10 from the remaining 5 balls to get maximum batting points from the game, Tom entered the fray & hit the 5th ball for 4 leaving a 6 from the final delivery as the required outcome, sadly it was not to be as the bails went flying & Hill ended the game on 194-6 Niall finishing 61 n.o.

So our first draw of the season & a mighty effort from all involved, there are many positives to take from this game into the remainder of the season, so onwards we go.

A huge thank you must also be extended to Cowden who also played a major part in this game & the spirit it was played in, for the vast majority it felt like a Sunday fixture with genial banter & a relaxed atmosphere.

Many thanks to those who made the long journey to watch as well.