The Gardeners returned to winning ways after a six-week wait this past Sunday (Aug 17) after cruising to victory in an excellent all-round performance at New Addington [have they modernised since being Addington 1743 or that just the place? Ed], Tom Leahy leading the side to a convincing 39-run win.
After motoring down the A23 to deepest “Saff” London – the encircling seagulls suggesting we were closer to Brighton than the Capital – a 30-minute heavy rain shower, 45 minutes prior to play, threatened to postpone the game altogether. Given the New Addington pitch, which looked more at home hosting a cheese-rolling contest, flooding was never going to be an issue, but the game was shortened to 35-overs per side. Gardeners were put into bat on a very green, damp-looking wicket.
Opening for GCC were Captain Leahy and Scouse Jimmy Warbrick. Disaster struck in the third over as Jimmy flashed at a wide one and found the grateful fielder at mid-off. Warbo trudged off for a duck. Next to the crease was Australian Craig May, who saw his opportunity to play as if it was a KFC Big Bash game, but soon missed a straight one (also for nought). More chicken nugget than Big Daddy Box Meal. Perhaps it was Wicked Zinger. At this point, we were two down for five runs in four overs.
Gardeners’ latest debutant, Conrad Chandler, strode out at No 4. He’d even brought along his own supporters’ club in the form of his dad. Some graceful shots eased Conrad’s nerves, and his partnership with Leahy saw the Gardeners back on their feet, as the runs started to flow. With confidence growing between the two batsmen, each crept towards their fifties with well-timed shots and good running between the wickets.
The large boundary on one side of the pitch, however, started to take its toll on the struggling Chandler, who would see his drives on the off-side only trickle for two or three, given the distance to the rope. Chandler’s Rasta-inspired, weed-embroidered headband struggled to keep up with the pace, but the resilient batsman reached his 50 on debut. Tom followed to his 50 shortly after as the Addington bowlers struggled to break the third-wicket partnership. An excellent innings for Chandler came to an end soon after, following a mix-up scampering for two. Conrad returned to the hutch to resounding applause for 55.
Cunners was in at five, licking his lips at the prospect at having a swing with the bat as Gardeners were scoring well with 10 overs of the 35 remaining. Nova, unfortunately, soon fell to a straight one and was bowled out for 52; while Cunners saw himself run out for three. At No 6, “Powerplay” Piers Teakle was immediately up and running with a boundary off his first ball. He soon missed a straight one off the bowling of Shaf, though, and was out for eight.
Seeing out the last couple of overs were the cricketing Ewok, Antoni Rogowski, and the newish boy with the old, illustrious cricketing name, Jack Hearne. With Rogowski playing with a surprisingly straight bat, both saw out innings on 11 and 6 respectively. Gardeners closed on a very respectable 154-6 after 35 overs, with Zaheer the pick of the Addington bowlers with figures of 7-3-13-1.
Following tea, where whispers of “best this season” followed by “don’t tell Rich” were heard, Gardeners strutted to the field, pumped to take some early Addington wickets on what was a dogged [hope that’s nothing to do with dogging! Ed] and churned-up wicket. Cunners and Piers shared the new cherry. Restricting the Addington openers in the first couple of overs, Piers brought the breakthrough in the fourth, by bowling out Shafi for one, and then having Brown caught for five.
From that point on, Addington struggled. Despite the best efforts of Miah (44) to frustrate the rampant Gardeners, some excellent fielding and bowling by the away side meant the wickets tumbled frequently, with all bowlers getting at least a wicket apiece. After 30.4 overs, Addington 1743 [ah, still them then. Ed] were all out for 118, with Tom grabbing 4 wickets for just 19 runs, and Piers with 2-22. Half of the Addington team seemed to have already scampered with their tails between their legs by the time of the last wicket falling.
With a confidence-boosting win under their belts, Gardeners will be able to roll up the M40 this weekend for the tour looking for a 3-0 whitewash over their Oxfordshire counterparts. Weather permitting, of course, and if the players are able to stand up by at least 4pm on Saturday and Sunday due to copious amounts of beer (or cider, just for Rogowski). Will “Seal” Caldwell
We play most of our games in Dulwich and net during the winter at The Oval. Send us an email at email@example.com
Oliver Cunningham (life)
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