Welcome to Wednesday 10th June.  Half way through the week and the start of the slide down to the weekend … for what it is worth at the present time.  More training happening, but still no sign of real cricket.  Is it coming?  We can but hope.  Instead, we continue to look back and as it’s Wednesday, that always coincides with matches in the title winning 2017 season.

It is week number six in SPCL Division 1 and that loss at Basingstoke is still the only blot on the record.  And next up was Ventnor at home, a side we hadn’t played since 2005 in league competition, had never beaten in four previous meetings in 2004 and 2005 and had been two divisions higher than us twelve months previously.  So this was a tough game to call.  Well, it would have been had the Islanders actually been interested in the game instead of being desperate to get back to see Canadian indie rock band Arcade Fire, who were the Saturday night headliners at the Isle of Wight Festival, who’s biggest hit was Rebellion (Lies) in 2005 which hit the dizzy heights of number 19 in the charts and Catfish and the Bottlemen from North Wales – whose biggest hit at that point was a song called ‘7’ which rode into the charts at number 81!!!!  Sounds like a real draw to rush back for then!

When they won the toss and batted first, it looked like they would indeed be on the early Red Funnel back to East Cowes when they crashed to 47-5 after a fine 3-21 from Daniel Croft and 2-21 by Liam Newton rushed through the top order.  There was resistance from Hugh Calloway with 50 and Toby Corbin (16) took them to three figures before a couple of wickets each for James Rose (2-11) and Jack Rutter (2-5) brought about a swift end at 123 all out.  At 61-1, we were moving nicely along before Johns, Perry, Rutter and Cook all went adding 12 to the total and at 73-5, it was much more interesting.  But Jimmy Manning’s determination was evident as he hit 17 and it was left to Rose (12*) and Newton (7*) to complete the job to secure a nervy three-wicket win.  Get those dancing shoes on, lads ……..

On a Wednesday, we always laud the 2017 season.  But, unfortunately, it also features matches played in the more difficult 2006 season and there was another one away at Bashley (Rydal) 2s in SPCL Division Three.  We gave ourselves a sniff in this game, which was a good effort when Mark Lavelle was eighth out at 104 despite Pete Clark’s 70-ball 29 at number three.  A rearguard stand of 61 between brother-in-laws Keith Woodhall (41) and Nigel Hill (26*) at least gave us something to bowl at with 174 on the board.  Four of the top five, which included Shaun Lilley and Neil Taylor, scored just 10 runs between them with a wicket each for Paul Proudley and Nigel Hill and a couple for the skipper Jamie Winters.  However, at the other end was Richard Knowles and he was joined by Chris Vaughan and they put on an unbeaten 105 to take them to the six-wicket win – Knowles finishing on 102 and Vaughan 39.

I was secretary of the club in 2000 and remember receiving a phone call from a player looking to join, as he was moving locally.  He didn’t say much about himself but he came along to nets and was put into the seconds for the home game with Redlynch and Hale as he looked quite good  He scored 0.  But there was definitely something about him and he was promoted to the firsts for the all-day visit of Hungerford  in SPCL Division One.  That player was Jeremy ‘Jez’ Goode – who had played for Cambridgeshire in the Minor Counties Championship and for Northamptonshire Cricket Board in the NatWest Trophy in 1999 alongside Graeme Swann’s father Ray and had broken a number of records in club cricket in the Northampton area.

It is probably no surprise that he top scored, batting at number six and salvaging the innings from the precarious 131-7 on his first XI debut.  Paul Draper’s 30 and skipper Martin Kellaway with 45 had given the innings a decent start against the pace of David Pryke who bowled 20 overs and took 5-40.  But Goode’s undefeated 64 in 66 balls guided the tail to 215 all out.  It wasn’t enough to save us from defeat – this time by four wickets – with Toby Radford making 32, Jim Ettridge 39, Duncan Johnson 37 and Stephen Wyatt 45 not out as they won at a canter despite Charlie Freeston’s 3-40.

In 1995, we faced an always tricky trip to Bashley (Rydal) aiming to get back to winning ways after a defeat to Havant and a washout at home to Liphook following three successive wins that kicked off the season.  Winning the toss, we lost three wickets with just 39 on the board batting first.  But Paul Draper made 50 before he went which allowed Simon Williams (29) to join Clive Surry and they pushed the score along well – especially the former Hursley Park man who batted through for 73 not out as we made 216-8.  The home side made their way to 110-3 with former New Zealand U19 all-rounder Hamish Barton making 41 and skipper Graham Pardey 50.  Paul Allen’s second run out of the innings ended Pardey’s knock which opened the door for Kurt Donaldson to charge through with 3-23 and with Graeme Lyon’s 3-40 skittled Bashley for 144 to lift a 72-run win.

Cricket was a very different game back in 1987.  League cricket, Border League, Sunday friendlies and quite a few knockout competitions were on the fixture list and having beaten Brockenhurst and Road Sea in the first two rounds, we were up against BAT Sports in round three of the Noel Fisher Memorial Trophy down at Southern Gardens – a 20-over per side competition … it will never catch on!

BAT batted first and made 91-6 in their 20 with B.Phillips making 39 against the impressive bowling of Tufty Taylor (5-2-8-1) and Richard Newman (2-34).  23 from Terry Chilcott led the way but we continued to lose wickets all too readily and when Nick Holland went, run out for 17 at 78-8, it was looking like it was game over.  However, it came down to the last over and the last ball with Newman and Taylor at the crease.  One to win off the last – but Taylor was run out and it was match tied!  How was the game decided?  Least wickets?  Super over?  Six over countback?  Boundaries hit?  No, a replay four days later on a Sunday afternoon.  And we lost that one.

We were in County One in 1978 and Terry Chilcott’s side travelled down to Hayling Island and would return with a third win in a row.  The captain’s 32 was the top score and helped by Billy Sims (28) and Ray Hurst (23) took us to 137 and, as seemed to be the norm, our potent bowling force was too much for most opponents and so it proved for Hayling as Tufty Taylor (4-27), Hurst (2-20) and Michael Newman (3-30) did the damage in removing them for 86.  And it was a double win day as the 2s skipped past Hyde Ramblers 3s by 8 wickets.  Stan Piper’s 55 not out and Bob Dickinson with an unbeaten 43 took us to the win at a canter after Parker (3-34) and Keith Bell (3-24) had sent the Winchester side to 125 all out.