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2003 - Results

Conditions: Surprisingly dry and warm, and mostly sunny. Fairly breezy, though.

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Captain's XI: 75-all out

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 D.Perry  27 I. Hunt  4-18
 T.Lamb  18 A. Barrett  3-20
 D.Bell  8* C. Weston  2-14
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President's XI: 78-7

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 J. Williams  16 J. Walliker  3-6
 R. Buckmaster  16  H. Turner  2-15
 P. Bates  12 M. Hills 1-22
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President's XI won by 6 wickets

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     And so it was that May the 4th eventually arrived, a day the club had been waiting for a decade. From games played with a soggy outfield, sometimes with huge puddles in the south-east corner emanating from the pond to today's comparatively lush green outfield and nicely prepared wicket was a long journey, not without its difficulties. About 10 years before, a delegation made a presentation to the parish council, outlining our plans to reintroduce grass strips. We were turned down. Undeterred, we revised and redeveloped our plans and persisted with occasional asking the question until eventually, we got the green light. An area on the East to side of the artificial strip was marked out and posts and chain were placed around, making a permanent and obvious sign of our intentions.

WECC members from the 1950's and 1960's (click picture for a larger version)

     Much fund-raising ensued over the years including quiz nights, raffles, Treasure Hunts and even a madcap 24 hour cycle ride around the Recreation ground itself! Unforeseen delays from our chosen contractor meant that by the end of September 2001 the chance had been missed for that year. Contracting another company, the work started as scheduled in May 2002, and work proceeded smoothly to schedule. Now, a year later, here was the first game on grass in West End for over two decades. The invitations had gone out weeks before for a private day's celebration, a chance for us to give a little something back to all who had supported us over the years.

Gail Gaisford finally beats the ribbon (click picture for a larger version) 

     The day started warm and dry, with plenty of sunshine, ant that's the way it remained for most of the day. The atmosphere it was one of keen anticipation: about 120 people turned up including past Presidents, Chairmen, Captains and players: eight club members from the 1950s were there, a nice sight indeed. Everyone gathered by the pavilion and was treated to a glass or two of wine to drink a toast to the day. After exchanging formalities and greetings we all trooped out to the centre where the captain, Howard Turner, thanked everyone responsible for making this day possible before handing over first to Paul Bates who, after a few words introduced Gail Gaisford. Her husband John, who sadly died a few years ago, became WECC's first President of recent times in the late 1980s, a time when Howard had taken the club by the scruff of the neck and rebuilt it. John was responsible for introducing vice-Presidents and himself and Gail hosting President's Day evening do's at their house, which became legendary. That the club thrives today is thanks in no small way to John and Gail was the obvious, indeed the right choice for the committee to ask to perform the  opening ceremony. This she proceeded to do, using a pair of scissors and that ended their life trying to cut the strong ribbon!

The President's XI (click picture for a larger version)     Back Row L-R: A. Barrett, J. Greathead, Dr. P. Bates (captain), J. Williams, C. Weston, J. McDonald     Front Row -R: J. Stephens, A. Lamberth, R. Buckmaster, I. Hunt, (inset) L. West

The Captain's Eleven (click picture for a larger version)     Back Row L-R: D. Bell, J. Walliker, H. Turner (captain), D. Perry, B. Pudney, M. Hills     Front Row L-R: A. Horn, N. Howarth, M. Balkwill, T. Lamb, I. Brown

     After lunch, Howard and Paul walked out to the middle to perform the toss which Howard, true to recent form, lost. Paul took advantage of the untried surface by taking to the field. Tim Lamb and Matt Balkwill opened for the captain's side and made steady if unspectacular progress in the first few overs. A few deliveries misbehaved, but any that came right up off half decent length had all the pace knocked off of them, making them safe. Adie Barrett bowled the first ball and also took the first wicket, a quicker delivery sneaking through Matt's defences to strike the stumps. Only Tim and Duncan Perry made double figures, as wickets regularly fell. The surprise act was Ian Hunt who spun his way to four wickets including that of Howard for a golden duck, something that Ian relished reminding Howard about for the rest of the day, probably something he will continue to do for the rest of his life. Last-man-in Danny Bell was third-highest scorer with two confident 2's and a boundary. On top of this he was also not out!

Tim turns to leg with ease  1st wicket: AdieB bowls Matt Mike Hills to John Williams

     The captain's side all-out for 75, it was now the turn of the President's side, having seen what the pitch could do. John Williams and Richard Buckmaster scored steadily both making their way to 16 apiece before Jason Walliker bowled Richard. Indeed, Jason was the star bowler with three wickets for just six runs off nearly eight overs. John Williams stayed around while others came and went: John Macdonald scored an enthusiastic two, then in came Paul himself who hadn't batted for years, mind you, the golf swing had obviously helped as he went on to 12. Adie Lamberth scored a quick cameo bringing in Jason Stephens who, in an unsure moment with John, ran the latter out. Paul had been the last batsman to reach double figures, of the remaining batsmen only Lou West failed to get off the mark. Ian Hunt had a major scare toward the end but was given not out before creaming a winning boundary.

A chase for Chapster Mr. President strokes it away Johnno almost edges it

     The pitch, unsurprisingly, took a bit of a hammering with holes being fairly easily dug by the bowlers boots and batsman's marks respectively, of which at least part of the blame lay with the an increasing amount of rain fall during the weeks leading up to the day. Still, no one had been killed and the game, all 45 overs of it, had been entertaining enough to retain most of the gathered viewers for its entire duration. All in all, a great day was had by all, marking the beginning of a new era of cricket in West End.

Cracking boundary for Paul Jay Stephens straight drives Ian Hunt run out - almost!

Thanks to Adie Lamberth for the great photographs. 

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