Saturday 1st XI v Harting
A glimpse of the future!
On a glorious early autumn afternoon in one of the most picturesque settings in the I'Anson league, Skipper Tom Williams won the toss and asked the home team to bat on a very damp wicket. Runs were always going to be hard to score with no pace off the wicket and Harting made slow progress against the opening attack of Oli Eccles and Neil Cooper who bowled good line and length and gave little away in the early overs. A sharp catch at short extra-cover above his head by Jim Macaulay and an equally sharp catch at slip by Jon King gave each bowler just reward. Tom, who had probably already decided that he would bowl but hopefully not have to bat, replaced Neil with Jon King replacing Oli to make it an all spin attack. Tom quickly induced uncertainty in the batsmen's minds and picked up three wickets while Jon was eventually rewarded with an LBW having had several very close enquiries. As Harting slipped to 60 odd for 6, an early close to their innings was on the cards, but a watchful partnership between a couple of old hands made sure that the batting side used up nearly all of their overs and edged past 100 before being bowled out for 108.
Adnan Khan bowled a few lively overs and and Pat Clarke foxed the batsmen with away movement off the pitch before Oli Eccles returned from the South Downs end and was unlucky not to pick up more wickets. The star bowler, however, was Alex Challinor who finished off the innings with 4 wickets, nearly taking a hat-trick. Alex bowled with good pace and pitched the ball up troubling all the batsmen.
Toby Pheasant and Jim Macaulay opened the batting with Toby determined to take the attack to the bowlers given the lack of pace in the wicket. Whilst the tactic was sound the wicket remained fickle and Toby was bowled by one that kept a bit low. Enter Adnan who always adopts the take-the-attack-to-the-bowler approach. With Jim watchful, Adnan gave the fielders plenty of exercise sending the ball to all parts before falling to a good catch on the long-on boundary up the hill. Paul Challinor joined Jim and was not out at the end having combined careful defence with a flurry of attacking shots as the target came within sight. Jim fell to a catch at cover before Neil Cooper and then Pat Clarke came and went to leave the champions at 60 odd for five. But any nerves were calmed by an assured innings by Alex Challinor who kept his dad company, bossing the mid-wicket chats, and was unlucky not quite to make his ground against a direct hit running a second to the danger end ('Should that have been my call, dad?'). But Challinors senior and junior had by this time done enough to make victory likely and Oli Eccles relished his promotion up the order to see the team through to the end as Paul started to open up whilst enquiring politely of the home umpire whether a two-bouncer was still a no-ball -- which, apparently, it is not! In any event, the ball was despatched into the distance after the second bounce as Paul warmed to his task recalling the great Sir Viv in more ways than one.
With victory sealed, the team enjoyed the warm hospitality of the home side who had generously put on a BBQ which was very welcome. Thank you, Harting CC!
It was great to see Mark Milliken-Smith both at the match and later in the D&P looking very well and on good form as he enters the last stages of his treatment. We all wish Mark and the family all the very best for the next few months. It was great that Mark, one of the Club's longest serving members, was there to see Alex Challinor's debut for the Saturday 1st XI and perform so well: a glimpse of the future for sure!