The scene having been set, we now proceed to this clash of cricketing titans that was a battle of wits and skill, with both sides having neither. The toss was taken, Underriver were inserted and Horsmonden took the field.
There thus followed the standard Underriver innings. Messrs Tong and Carey and opened up, and proceeded to score steadily until Carey, aiming for somewhere in the next county, played across a straight one from Horsmonden’s young tyro, Master Beaumont. Nick Watson, fresh from his masterful hundred the week before, strode to the crease and was out for a duck. Andy Tong, feeling he was missing out on the fun, promptly got himself caught in the outfield and the game was on.
Underriver, having been near a hundred for nought, were now three down. There followed a typical Underriver middle order stand, superbly marshalled by Paul Southall, whose 76 not out was a model of powerful hitting and rock solid defence. There were useful additions from David Close (22) and Simon Leahy (11) – until his pads got in the way – and some powerful late order hitting from our Australian representative Hannah Osborne (8*). The rest of the team failed to trouble the scorer – (in your humble correspondent’s case, triggered, and plumb, by the dastardly digit of Andy Tong).
And so Underriver accumulated the score of 213 for 8, which we felt confident that we could defend.
Horsmonden started their innings carefully. However, within a short time had been reduced to 13 for 6. The game was up. A decision now had to be taken. Did we continue and crush, nay humiliate, the opposition or did we try and open it out – knowing we were in full control and make more of a game of it. David Close, our skipper, took the latter view – rightly as it turned out. However, in order to play ball you need the opposition to oblige. Step to the crease young master Beaumont, all 12 or 13 years of him, who proceeded to play one of the most mature and skilful innings for one of his age the club has ever seen – or at least since I have been there (1990). David Close, skilfully rotating his 10-man attack (including a miserly spell of 4 overs for 7 runs from yours truly), managed to keep Horsmonden in the game. Why, even Andy Tong and Simon Leahy got a bowl… And yes, there were chances to win the game – Beaumont offering the simplest of chances to Teflon Leahy, who simply threw it on the ground.
At the end, Horsmonden fell well short of our total: 157-9. However, the main result other than a victory and 20 points, was the appreciation of the opposition for making more of a game of it, and the fact that young Beaumont had cost his father the price of a jug.
by Matthew Pendered