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Brigands v Horningsham, 10 September 2023

"Our revels have now ended" says Prospero in The Tempest and this match featured its own moments of comedy, magic arts, and cunning plots.

Rain was falling when players arrived but there was an appetite to play; it was Horningsham's last match on Tour, and the very last match of the Brigands season.

It was a surprise to the Brigands Captain to find out on his return from winning the toss that all of his first four batters were sheltering in the warmth and dry of the Bat & Ball. They were duly alerted, kit was hastily thrown on, and Father and Son strode out to the middle.

Tom Ladenburg was floored by a full toss in the groin first ball and retired hurt rubbing the sore region on his way back to the pavilion.

Guy Ladenburg (50) played cavalier shots to Long On, Adam Jay (20) scored briskly, and Brigands were on their way. Zeb Jay (38) played his best Brigands innings yet and, batting with Dave Henderson (34), he too started playing one-handed sweeps to leg and running on almost every ball.

Daniel Rickards, on debut, Mo Ali, and Sam Sargant didn't hang around and finished the innings off allowing a sporting declaration of 174-7 off just 29 overs which meant time for a 44 over chase.

The Horningsham openers adjusted well to the gentle medium pace of Reid and Wood putting on 37 runs without drama off the first 8 overs.

Then Mike Beardall came on with his magic arts; mixing up the pace, bowling downhill, and using three decades of experience bowling at Broadhalfpenny Down. He got the breakthrough when James Davies hit the ball straight to Andy Reid at cover; then got one to pop leading to a catch behind from Jay, and then another for a catch at gully for Ali.

Ollie Youngs came in to join Tom Obourne who by now was playing freely but when Youngs hit the ball high to Long On the score was 77-4 and Beardall had the first four wickets. The equation was 98 to win off 24 more overs, game on.

Like the Tom Curry red card in England's opening match in the Rugby World Cup, one moment changed the game. Guy Ladenburg came into the attack and his over featured two quick wickets; an exciting run chase and a one-off chance to win at the cradle of cricket became wicket-preservation in the hope of a draw.

Horningsham had 13 overs to survive; the art, science, and luck of timed cricket were in play.

The pitch was drying out and became benign, 7 bowlers were rotated, appeals were plentiful but Umpire Nick Harris remained calm, impeachable, and implacable. The Horningsham batters, Callum Widdows and David O'Connor, were single-minded, obdurate, and admirable.

With 9 Brigands fielding around the bat and the sun setting on a glorious evening the game ended in a draw, only the third draw all season.

The bar at The Bat & Ball was as busy as it's been all season; another local cricket team, Newport Gentlemen, had been playing nearby also turned up, still wearing their whites, so they too could squeeze in one last night of post cricket chat in its spiritual home.

Until next season, our revels have ended.

Brigands 174-7 off 29 overs drew with Horningsham 151-7 off 44 overs.

Brigands v Horningsham

A day that started in raim, ended in sun. Umpire Nick Harris, Groundsman Harry Bates, and legends Adam Jay & Guy Ladenburg.

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