Updated: Sep 1
Broadhalfpenny Down was once again in excellent condition for the visit of the Butterflies, a club with a very distinguished pedigree dating back to the 1860s and boasting 13 former England Captains in their alumni.
The Brigands won the toss and decided to bat. The Butterflies bowling proved hard to get away, and the batsmen were not able to settle into any fluent scoring rhythm. Five Brigands scored between 10 and 13 runs, while Dave Henderson’s 31 and Sam Sargent’s 23 were the early highlights. 145-6 suddenly became 146-9, and the end seemed nigh, but a last-wicket stand of 35 between Dave Turner (21) and Richie Hay (5*), took the score to a respectable 181 all out from 44 overs. The contribution of Extras (36) deserves a special mention, largely thanks to the sterling efforts of Mr Wides (31).
After a gorgeous and nourishing home-made tea (including home-made pickle) the Brigands opening bowlers, Sam Sargent and Ed Hands delivered pace and accuracy, with an early wicket (and plenty of near misses) for each bowler, including a catch held by Adam Jay with nonchalant ease (and considerable relief!). Mike Bath then bowled the Buterflies opener with his first ball, followed by an outstanding caught and bowled in his 3rd over. Richie Hay held a catch (one from three on the day) and then completed a special all-round contribution on his long-awaited Brigands return by bowling the No 7 with his third delivery (Champagne Moment of the day).
After an injury in the field, Mark Flewitt went off to be replaced by a much more mobile 81-year-old Harry Bates (who had to put down The Sunday Times!) as a substitute fielder. We are checking with cricket historians if an older (and better) sub has been used.
At 70-6, with 15 overs remaining, a Brigands victory appeared within their grasp but a combination of the lower-order Butterflies batsmen’s technique, and the imperfect catching proficiency of the fielders (other than Charlie Peach who was outstanding behind the stumps), meant that a win was always unlikely for the Brigands.
A further two wickets fell, but the Butterflies innings eventually closed at 143-8 off 39 overs and wickets shared between Mike Bath (3-21), Neil Wood (2-40), Richie Hay (1-13), Ed Hands (1-25) and Sam Sargent (1-29).
Match Drawn, a last-over finish, a visit from the Honorary Secretary and family, a cute litter of puppies in the Jay household, a lovely Broadhalfpenny Down sunset and the best post-game turnout of the season at the Bat and Ball. All is right in the world.