Belstone v President's XI
Highest score of the season - Matty's 81 - makes the difference
The curtain came down on Belstone’s season with the traditional game against an eleven selected by Club President Peter Hammond, who first hosted the day back in 2000. This year he had rounded up some Belstone stalwarts of times past including Simon Hill (playing his first game since 1998, he claimed the wicket of Belstone skipper Richard Drake), Chris Walsh (last playing for the Club seven years ago, he had a fine all-round game with two wickets, a catch and seven not out) and ex-Belstone skipper Wayne Pearce, whose last appearance at Rew Meadow in 2011 saw him score 109 not out.
Belstone made a shaky start as Doug Little took two wickets in his first over and under-14 youngster Sam England bowled opener Tom Pearce for five to leave them struggling on 15 for three after eight overs. Matt Dennis and veteran Yeoford star Cleave Collins steadied the innings with a partnership of 68 for the fourth wicket with Collins swinging the first six of the match behind square before he pushed a catch to Phil Dennis at short cover off Sam Harvey, another under-14 player, to depart for 20. Dennis added another 31 with Drake (13) but the score really began to mount when he was joined by Phil Hatton for a sixth wicket stand of 62 in ten overs. Dennis was eventually out for 81, the highest Belstone score of the season, which included nine 4s and a six. Hatton continued on to the end of the 40 overs, finishing with 44 not out, to give a defendable total of 182 for seven.
The game resumed after a splendid tea provided for players and guests by Angela Hammond, whereupon the President’s team scored just as slowly to reach 26 for one after ten overs. Unlike Belstone however, as more overs ticked by they were unable to make the necessary acceleration and also lost wickets steadily. Only opener Tony England (18), skipper Phil Dennis and Mark James (10) reached double figures and when Dennis was eighth out for 32, caught by fielder-of-the year Alex Jopling (his 17th catch of the season), the game was as good as over. All ten Belstone fielders turned their arm over with the most successful being occasional dolly-dropper Chris Walpole (two for 14) and Drake, who cemented his unlikely status as bowler-of-the-season with three for 10, giving him 22 wickets overall for the lowest bowling average. The resulting 75-run Belstone victory gives the current standing of the fixture since 1993 as Belstone 12 wins, President’s XI 8 wins, with two ties, one draw, one abandoned and one cancelled.