Beech Village Hall & Recreation Ground
Beech Village Family Fun Cricket Challenge 2010
It was the August Bank Holiday weekend and even though we had had the rainiest August for a while, the sun was battling its way through on this Sunday.
The gates opened at 12 noon and slowly the cars started to arrive, full of people, players and picnics, plus a few dogs. We ended up with 16 players, coming from Beech, Farnham and the far regions of North London. A group decision was taken to play 8-a-side with each team having 1 hour 15 minutes for an innings, with each batsmen retiring at 25 runs and coming back if there was enough time. Two Captains were appointed and picked teams. Max Parker (age 13) captained the Googlies (Richard Parker, Peter Cox and son-in-law Jad Trowbridge, Mike Gibbs (son-in-law of Sally & Allen Leech), Josh Bembridge and Dave) and Tom Bembridge (age 11) captained the Oompaloompas (Sam Monks, Nick Charman, Paul Davison, Chris Nash, Adrian Jones plus Ben and Josh Keen (age 12). The teams were of mixed ages and skill but all players beamed with enthusiasm and a hunger for winning. With Tom and Josh Bembridge’s grandfather Wally Gray volunteering as scorer, the scene was set.
The dark clouds slowly moved across the sky as the Captains took the toss and the Googlies won and decided to bat, taking advantage of the dry weather and ground conditions. A good decision taken by Captain Max Parker also putting in our strongest batsmen in the top order got the team off to a strong start, keeping the batting going with a few retiring after reaching 25 runs. The rain stayed off for the whole innings and the Googlies achieved a strong total of 123.
Halftime was upon us so lunch and beverages were had while everyone rested for 30 minutes. During this time tactics and strategy were discussed… well a little anyway, but it was also an opportunity to let the dogs run off some energy around the ground. Tennis balls were thrown, dog toys lobbed and mad dogs and Englishmen were out in the mid afternoon sun… while it shone.
The second half saw the Oompaloompas take to batting, determined to beat the Googlies. As they battled their way towards the total, the clouds closed in and the rain came down in intermittent showers, but that didn’t stop a determined Oompaloompa side from batting on.
With a strong bowling side from the Googlies, mainly from captain Max Parker, but with wickets also taken by Peter Cox and Jad Trowbridge, the Oompaloompas were running out of time and men as the rain started to pour down. A strong batting partnership was taken up by Adrian Jones and Ben Keen. Their similar build and hair colour hair caused some confusion among spectators – and the scorer – with many people thinking Adrian was always facing. However, the newly nicknamed “Silverbacks” proved equally determined in knocking up the runs, with quick singles and fours being hit everywhere and death-defying runs between the wickets on a rain-soaked pitch but Adrian retired on his 25 and Ben was eventually caught (after 2 drops) when he edged the ball into the keeper’s gloves.
By this stage the match had just 15 minutes left and only one player remained to bat, Josh Bembridge – a left hander, to confuse us all! Despite the wet pitch, everyone was keen to finish the game, with Josh putting up a strong defence against the last bowling efforts. Nonetheless, the game finally came to an end with the Oompaloompas on 89 and the Googlies winning with 123. Our scorer, Wally Gray, presented the Beech Cricket trophy (made from the MCC ball kindly donated last year by Mario and Hal Mohammed) to Max Parker and then all gathered round for the official photo.
Special thanks go to Peter Kane, the Bentworth Groundsman, for maintaining a perfect ground yet again and very special thanks to Wally for filled in the official Beech score book and keeping us all right during the game. Thanks also to John Bembridge for umpiring for the first innings.
The game ended and in typical British style, the sun came out as we started to pack up. All in all it was a great day and I expect that we would have had more people if it hadn’t been the Bank Holiday weekend. Nonetheless it was great to see new people and some old faces as well. The best thing about the day was that children as well as adults took part this year and the main aim of this event took hold: it is all about having fun, involving the village, families and children.
Plans are under way to have two matches next year, one early in the summer and one in August/September. Dates will be added to the Village Diary on the website as soon as I get them sorted. Thank you again to everyone who took part, played and picnicked, and see you all next year!
See more photos of the day here.