BB 130 from 30 overs
Old Seagullians 112 from 27 overs
BB win by 18 runs
The day began with messages from those travelling from London asking if the game was on due to the torrential rain they had woken to and continued to drive through on various arterial roads leading out of the city. Further unnerved by reports of a delayed start at Lord’s in the Second Test but bolstered by sunshine in Kent and a dry forecast on the 10 O’clock News, reassurance was provided to energise the inbound convoy. This energy worked on all but poor Brother Booker’s VW Polo which shortly afterwards began flashing a fatal car warning light on its dashboard, ground to halt in the rain and was last seen being towed off the M25 with neither car nor owner ever making it to Torry Hill. Whilst deeply unfortunate for Brother Booker, it did solve the conundrum of how to provide a team sheet of 11 players to the scorer when the BB side had somehow gone from 10 on Friday morning to 12 on Saturday evening.
Right on queue the heavens opened at Torry Hill as the cars rolled up. After being deemed ‘more than a passing shower’, the tarpaulin was positioned on the square as soon as excavation from some surprisingly aggressive bramble growth was complete along with the requisite worm, snail and earth clod removal. The convoy was then mobilised to descend on the Chequers in Doddington for a pint of Shepherd Neame’s finest whilst lunch was brought forward with the hope of enabling a shortened afternoon match.
The weather finally reverted to the sunshine that had been forecast and the ensuing radiation began to do its work steaming off the small puddles on the square as fast as on the surrounding lanes. The umpires, who had been hesitant to allow any play before bowler safety could be guaranteed, finally deemed the pitch to have fulfilled their requirements at 2.15pm. A revised 30/30 over game with bowlers limited to a set of six was agreed whilst the Old Seagullians politely declined a re-toss having earlier elected to put BB in on a sticky wicket that had certainly become no less sticky in the subsequent three hours.
The strong South-Westerly wind that had helped to dry the ground now helped the Seagullian opening bowler generate some feisty pace and surprising bounce. Despite a spattering of decent boundary shots and a more than respectable run rate of 4-5, the BB top order failed to establish any real control on the game as wickets fell regularly and the score was soon 50-3 with Brothers Pyke, Baird and Regan departed. A faltering start then became a full collapse with the scoreboard rather too quickly showing seven wickets down with only a further 19 added to the total. However, a rally ensued after Brother Rice survived a hat-trick ball and established himself behind a solid forward defence. The initial steadying moved to all-out attack as BB’s ninth batsman, Henry Potter, a guest of Brother Regan brought in for his bowling, joined Brother Rice at the crease with a clear desire to go down fighting. The pair put on a much needed 46 to take the BB total to 130 hard fought runs from their 30 completed overs.
BB took to the field after tea to begin play on a continually drying wicket and outfield. There was more than a little concern that this hard-fought total could soon be chased down with frustrating ease by an Old Seagullian batting line-up that Brother Baird’s inside knowledge warned was more than capable of some destructive shot making.
The breeze had picked up though and with a fierce following wind H. Potter Esq., buoyed by his late innings batting heroics, began an electrifying spell that removed three Seagullian batsmen in his first two overs. This feat was more than equally backed up by Brother Meredith from the other end who not only removed a further member of the Old Seagullian top order but limited their runs in a similar way to his unique but effective two-step bowling run up. At the end of their combined eight over opening spell the score stood at a rather confidence building 17-4.
Brothers Regan and Rice replaced the openers and continued the rout over the course of the next six overs by prizing out a further three Seagullian wickets for a poultry 11 runs added. With the score at 27-7 the Seagullians must at this point have been focused more on avoiding embarrassment than on reaching the BB total of 130. However, there were large cracks appearing in the BB bowling attack. Toby Lawes (a guest of Brother Meredith) who had been lined up as the fifth bowler managed to pull a muscle chasing a ball to fine leg. Brother Rice was also suffering from tender calves that were twinging sufficiently to reduce his normal cantering approach to a waddle. With sixth bowler options limited to a yip-prone Brother Baird’s slow left arm, the addition of a further 104 runs by the Old Seagullians was suddenly more achievable than an uninformed onlooker might have imagined from surveying the scoreboard.
Just as Brother Rice and H. Potter Esq. combined to great effect during BB’s innings, the surviving Seagullian fourth batsmen and their own destructive number nine combined to put on a rapid 50 runs and rocket the Seagullian total up to 81-7 from 22 overs. This total was helped tremendously by 18 runs coming from the 21st and 22nd overs sent down by an injured T. Lawes Esq. and a very slow left armed Brother Baird. Thankfully it was now time for H. Potter Esq. to return for his final two overs. His first contribution was to put an end to a relatively longstanding Seagullian partnership thanks to a sharp catch in the covers by Brother Meredith. However, the number nine batsman who had been causing most of the damage, remained at the crease on 40 and took a further seven from the remainder of Potter’s over to move the score to 88-8. With no options available other than for Brother Baird to continue into a strong wind, the batsmen continued to plunder runs at will with the score moving precariously to 100 from 25 overs.
The 26th over proved to be the turning point. It started with a single to bring their number nine on strike who then hit two meaty blows for six and four respectively and take the Seagullians to within 19 runs of the BB total. The fourth delivery was slow, short and seemingly also destined for the boundary. However, the contempt-laden square heave around the corner it provoked sent the ball hurtling towards a startled Brother Leathart who had been detailed there to save one on the 45. Brother Leathart bravely stood his ground and took a comfortably catch much to the audible dismay of the Old Seagullians as their forlorn fallen hero trudged back to the pavilion. After a scrabbled run to finish the over, Brother Meredith came on to finish proceedings by clean bowling the Seagullian number 11 with his first delivery and secure a highly satisfactory BB 18 run victory in a game that had left the bookmakers bewildered throughout.