Brockley, very generously sponsored by A14 Tyres, Bury St Edmunds, welcomed Woolpit II to the Brockley Oval for the first game in a rain delayed season. As the sun baked the ground, the rain seemed as far away as the farthest end of Coe’s.
The match started promptly at 12.30 which was not a surprise for the players with Woolpit being asked to bat first on a fast drying wicket.
Sykes (2-20) , bizarrely choosing to bowl up the hill and into the wind used his change of pace (slow/very slow/has he let go of it yet?) to deceive Starling to grab the first wicket but Woolpit progressed steadily to 44-1 as Pilgrim and Bradwell cautiously built a solid base for the innings.
Pilgrim then fell to a smart piece of thinking by Huffer as he completed a stumping whilst his team mates were appealing for an improbable LBW.
This wicket coincided with Huffer introducing Whiley into the attack and , like his namesake, it was soon the story of the blues for Woolpit as wickets tumbled with regularity as the ball zig zagged more than James Jones on an icy road.
Whiley ended up with 6 for 31 whilst Firth the elder picked up 1 for 15 from the other end as Woolpit closed on 94
In reply Brockley approached a target that has often caused them difficulty ( to be fair anything over 70 can feel like a challenge and I can remember us failing to chase 35 once against Newmarket in a game that didn’t even have a close finish) in a manner that their lives depended on the match ending before the football started. Perhaps they had simply ran out of drinks?
Either way when S Fisher (31) is scoring at a run a ball in April then his Dad deserves a v big pat on the back for getting such a good wicket ready in extremely difficult circumstances.
At the other end, Firth the elder was striking the ball in a manner that hadn’t been seen since that bloke from Nowton with a daisy in his mouth kept sweeping LP into the ditch.
He just had enough time to get his undefeated 50 (Firth, not the bloke from Nowton) before Brockley reached their target without losing a wicket.
A quick word for Woolpit, the result suggests a far greater gap between the teams than actually exists and it is a measure of a side as to how they behave on the bad days. They were extremely sporting and virtually everyone stopped for a beer afterwards – and by that I don’t mean bringing their own beer into the bar.
If only all teams were as gracious in both victory and defeat : a lesson to us all.