Brockley, kindly sponsored by A14 Tyres, Bury’s best tyre retailer, welcomed Long Melford, their most local and longest cricketing rivals, to The Badger Oval on a typically tropical Saturday. (Or so the Lilt man said).
With the ground baked hard, the temperature climbing and batting being Brockley’s strength so far this season it was no surprise at all when captain Huffer won the toss and decided to field. Melford gleefully took the opportunity offered and quickly found the route to the boundary off the opening pair of Sykes and Firth the Elder. The introduction of Firth 2.0 saw an uptick in the Brockley fortunes as he took a couple of wickets and Sykes (1-10) found a length. To be fair he only found the one length but it seemed to work well enough as Melford were pegged back to 43-3 off 17.
With Sykes collapsed in a heap and Firth 2.0 busy signing autographs for his raft of admirers, Huffer turned to his spin twins , Brockley’s answer to Lance Gibbs and Derek Underwood: Beeton (3 for 26) and Walters Smith (2 for 33). Joel could have had 3 catches in his first five balls but as all Brockley bowlers know you really need to hit the wickets ( or as Len Pawsey would have said, “might as well play with 10. Or was it 9?) Either way the Melford innings was kept in check by the pair who were ably assisted by some good fielding and clever field positions (aside from putting Sykes in the vicinity of the moving ball).
This resulted in Melford closing on 137 for 8 from their 45 overs.
A most agreeable tea followed which was made all the more enjoyable by the presence of Melford stalwarts and friends of Brockley : Brian Challis and Eddie Sawyer. Brockley’s replied stumbled before it had even started with the prolific McCaffrey posting an uncommonly low score and when Paul Webb fell to what must be one of the most incredible one handed slip catches seen at Brockley since Brian’s dad was captain it all looked typically ominous.
Captain Huffer (26) steadied the ship before the cavalry arrived in the shape of Firth the Elder who put one ball right to the far side of Coe’s. And I think we all know how far back that goes. When Firth fell it was left to the redoubtable Meekings senior (are all this team related?) to wear a few short balls, grab a couple of key boundaries and generally support Fisher(52) who carried his bat almost all the way through for both the innings of the day and a match winning performance
It was great to see many of the Melford team stop for a drink from our bar afterwards to end what had been a competitive game played in a good spirit.
Long Melford 137-8, Hancock 23, Beeton 3-26
Brockley 138-6, Fisher 52, Sturgeon 3-46
Brockley win by 6 wickets