Tilford's history goes back to Roman times, and nearby Bourne Woods
were the location for the opening scenes in Ridley Scott's film
"Gladiator". Forget that, could our run of 21st-century
cricketing luck change? Well, we managed to get nine men to
Tilford’s picturesque ground in plenty of time with Lew West groping
his way from south-west London. He actually arrived at the ground just
in time for the 2.15 start which - Adie Barrett, having actually won
the toss for the first time this year - saw Tilford open their
innings. This may sound somewhat surprising, yet the line-up, despite
being devoid of certain players (Howard, the Captain was in Cornwall
and Mike Hills was moving house) was still potentially sound. Not so
sound was the non-appearance of Adie Lamberth, unavoidably called in
to a job at work at the last minute.
never play away from home. Who can blame them?
Phil Dawson opened the bowling from the north end and straight away
found a good rhythm while Barrett at the other end helped keep control
in the early overs. Tilford's ground, as ever, played fairly true
although rain from recent days had led to a drying pitch and the
occasional unruly bounce. Despite having the new ball West end found
it difficult to penetrate the opposition’s defence and as the overs
started ticking over, so did the scoreboard. Cartwright simply kept
the good balls out and steered the off-target once away while Fry at
the other end confounded all bowlers including first change Lew West
who went for 24 before pulling out after five overs with a strain. A
succession of bowling changes failed to gain a break through despite
some excellent deliveries beating the bat every now and again.
Another look at the scoreboard and Tilford were well in command,
seemingly well set on their way to the 200 mark typical of this
ground. Eventually, the opening bowlers returned and bore fruit:
Dawson broke West end's duck by having fright caught close by Neil
Howarth went on 70. Before too long Cartwright was eventually bowled
by Barrett for 33, after a period of frustration. There had been some
rain drops here and there but a short but sharp shower saw the players
leave the field for a short while and come back to some slippery
conditions. Barrett also had to retire from the bowling attack after
slipping on the damp surface. Dawson took a second wicket at the end
of their innings, with Tilford's total declared at 186. Things had not
been easy and some unforced errors contributed toward a large number
of extras, not least of which was a huge throw from Matt Oliver that
sailed over the wicketkeeper’s head, plus the three fielders backing
up! There was satisfaction to be gained from having limited the home
side to less than 200, an attainable target.
Yet, West End's openers didn't get enough time to play themselves in.
Matt Oliver provided the first scoring stroke - a four – before also
becoming the first casualty in the 10th ball of the innings, Crawte
trapping him lbw. This brought Ben Pudney in, whose second ball was
dispatched belligerently to the boundary, an original way of playing
oneself in! Two maidens, a few more runs, then Johnno was caught,
again to Crawte bringing Neil Haworth worth in to join Ben. The next
four overs saw a six and a four plus some singles but sadly culminated
with Neil being bowled, again to the number-two bowler, without score.
Ian Brown came out to join Ben who was getting itchy fingers: he went
for a shot that really wasn't there and was caught, giving bowler
Mcdonald his first blood of the match.
Bridge. I have no more Tilford cricket pix for now!
With 23 runs on the board, our very own John Mcdonald walked out and
proceeded to keep his bat between the ball and the stumps, the
beginning of a period of trial and error for the bowlers as what
appeared to be good deliveries to John were either kept out or
dispatched to the boundary with no respect whatsoever. Ian Brown
departed, the result of yet another on the spot delivery early in his
innings. Having rubbed his groin for all he was worth Lew West came to
the crease with a runner and took time to play himself in, allowing
John to enjoy himself at the other end. On the boundary, we also
enjoyed John's success until he was finally yorked on 23, which turned
out to be the innings highest score. A highlight of the lower order
(or lowlight, depending on who you hear it from) was Adie Barrett also
coming out with a runner, in this case Ben Pudney, who is not usually
noted for quick singles. This was borne out when Ben was run out going
for a run that patently wasn’t there, while Adie could only watch
helplessly at square leg.
Still somewhat shy of a hundred runs, Tilford suggested one of our
batsmen could have a second go, especially as there was a bit of time
to go. As Ben was still padded up from his runner exploits, he was the
natural choice and although by this stage the game was to all intents
and purposes really lost it meant the pressure was off and Ben enjoyed
a bit of a quick thrash (as is his wont) to move onto 21 before being
bowled by another tricky delivery from Sohail who mixed up his
deliveries nicely. The joke was that despite having two attempts while
on a reasonable form, he still failed to top John MacDonald's score.
unscheduled highlights from our innings came from one of Ben's sixes
which thrashed into the right wing of a car passing along the south
side of the pitch. Having slowly driven into that position of impact
it brought the driver to, who promptly sped off into the rain-coloured
horizon. More worryingly, we had a streaker (sadly male) who ran in
concentric circles, yelling, "Look at me, look at me!"
before finally pulling his strides up. Quite bizarre.