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2003 - Results
01st June - Tilford

The forecast was basically overcast but with the odd shower, occasionally heavy. Close too, for once.

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Tilford: 186-4

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 T. Fry  70 P. Dawson  2-24
 T. Cartwright  33 I. Brown  1-9
 A. Walker  20* A. Barrett  1-39
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West End: 95 all out

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 J. McDonald  23 Crawte  3-8
 B. Pudney  21 McDonald  2-11
 B. Pudney  14 Thursbay  2-12
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TILFORD won by 91 runs

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     Tilford's history goes back to Roman times, and nearby Bourne Woods were the location for the opening scenes in Ridley Scott's film "Gladiator". Forget that, could our run of 21st-century cricketing luck change? Well, we managed to get nine men to Tilford’s picturesque ground in plenty of time with Lew West groping his way from south-west London. He actually arrived at the ground just in time for the 2.15 start which - Adie Barrett, having actually won the toss for the first time this year - saw Tilford open their innings. This may sound somewhat surprising, yet the line-up, despite being devoid of certain players (Howard, the Captain was in Cornwall and Mike Hills was moving house) was still potentially sound. Not so sound was the non-appearance of Adie Lamberth, unavoidably called in to a job at work at the last minute.

Tilford never play away from home. Who can blame them?

     Phil Dawson opened the bowling from the north end and straight away found a good rhythm while Barrett at the other end helped keep control in the early overs. Tilford's ground, as ever, played fairly true although rain from recent days had led to a drying pitch and the occasional unruly bounce. Despite having the new ball West end found it difficult to penetrate the opposition’s defence and as the overs started ticking over, so did the scoreboard. Cartwright simply kept the good balls out and steered the off-target once away while Fry at the other end confounded all bowlers including first change Lew West who went for 24 before pulling out after five overs with a strain. A succession of bowling changes failed to gain a break through despite some excellent deliveries beating the bat every now and again.

     Another look at the scoreboard and Tilford were well in command, seemingly well set on their way to the 200 mark typical of this ground. Eventually, the opening bowlers returned and bore fruit: Dawson broke West end's duck by having fright caught close by Neil Howarth went on 70. Before too long Cartwright was eventually bowled by Barrett for 33, after a period of frustration. There had been some rain drops here and there but a short but sharp shower saw the players leave the field for a short while and come back to some slippery conditions. Barrett also had to retire from the bowling attack after slipping on the damp surface. Dawson took a second wicket at the end of their innings, with Tilford's total declared at 186. Things had not been easy and some unforced errors contributed toward a large number of extras, not least of which was a huge throw from Matt Oliver that sailed over the wicketkeeper’s head, plus the three fielders backing up! There was satisfaction to be gained from having limited the home side to less than 200, an attainable target.

     Yet, West End's openers didn't get enough time to play themselves in. Matt Oliver provided the first scoring stroke - a four – before also becoming the first casualty in the 10th ball of the innings, Crawte trapping him lbw. This brought Ben Pudney in, whose second ball was dispatched belligerently to the boundary, an original way of playing oneself in! Two maidens, a few more runs, then Johnno was caught, again to Crawte bringing Neil Haworth worth in to join Ben. The next four overs saw a six and a four plus some singles but sadly culminated with Neil being bowled, again to the number-two bowler, without score. Ian Brown came out to join Ben who was getting itchy fingers: he went for a shot that really wasn't there and was caught, giving bowler Mcdonald his first blood of the match.

Tilford Bridge. I have no more Tilford cricket pix for now!

     With 23 runs on the board, our very own John Mcdonald walked out and proceeded to keep his bat between the ball and the stumps, the beginning of a period of trial and error for the bowlers as what appeared to be good deliveries to John were either kept out or dispatched to the boundary with no respect whatsoever. Ian Brown departed, the result of yet another on the spot delivery early in his innings. Having rubbed his groin for all he was worth Lew West came to the crease with a runner and took time to play himself in, allowing John to enjoy himself at the other end. On the boundary, we also enjoyed John's success until he was finally yorked on 23, which turned out to be the innings highest score. A highlight of the lower order (or lowlight, depending on who you hear it from) was Adie Barrett also coming out with a runner, in this case Ben Pudney, who is not usually noted for quick singles. This was borne out when Ben was run out going for a run that patently wasn’t there, while Adie could only watch helplessly at square leg.

     Still somewhat shy of a hundred runs, Tilford suggested one of our batsmen could have a second go, especially as there was a bit of time to go. As Ben was still padded up from his runner exploits, he was the natural choice and although by this stage the game was to all intents and purposes really lost it meant the pressure was off and Ben enjoyed a bit of a quick thrash (as is his wont) to move onto 21 before being bowled by another tricky delivery from Sohail who mixed up his deliveries nicely. The joke was that despite having two attempts while on a reasonable form, he still failed to top John MacDonald's score.

     Two unscheduled highlights from our innings came from one of Ben's sixes which thrashed into the right wing of a car passing along the south side of the pitch. Having slowly driven into that position of impact it brought the driver to, who promptly sped off into the rain-coloured horizon. More worryingly, we had a streaker (sadly male) who ran in concentric circles, yelling, "Look at me, look at me!" before finally pulling his strides up. Quite bizarre.


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