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Brigands v Invalids CC, 9 June 2024

There were poignant scenes this week as D-Day veterans recounted stories of heroism, and loss, during the Normandy landings 80 years ago.

 

It was after the First World War in 1919 that JC Squire, Editor of the London Mercury magazine, formed The Invalids Cricket Club in honour of several players wounded in that war. Squire, passionate about the game, led his motley group of literary acquaintances to do battle against village sides wearing hospital blue and old gold colours, inspired by the army officers’ hospital pyjamas.

 

The Invalids bowled first and Gerry Northwood was caught at cover on the very first ball to earn a rare Brigands Platinum Duck.


Mark Flewitt (33) and Adam Jay (58) rebuilt the innings. At 13 overs it was 39 runs with 13 each for Flewitt, Jay, and Extras. Jay kept finding the gaps through the covers and Brigands had built a solid 64-1 platform at drinks.



Isle of Wight resident Harry Collier (50) arrived at the game via hovercraft and the acceleration came in the last ten overs when he came out to bat, supported by Tom Ladenburg (10) and Jim Morris (17). 92 runs were added and a Brigands declaration was made at 201-5.


In the marquee, players enjoyed some delicious home-baked scones and currant cake while spectators tucked into Coronation Chicken sandwiches with pork pie and pickled onions.


Sam Sargant bowled up the hill, Neil Wood down, as Invalids started briskly. Invalids were 61-3 with Wood getting a wicket with a yorker and then another with a straight one, adjudged the only LBW of the game.

 

The Invalids opener, Arnold, was on 40 and going well when he flashed at a wide ball and winced in pain as he strained the muscles around his ribs. With the famous Invalids club crest of a crutch on his shirt,  he hobbled off retired hurt.

 

Dave Turner is hard to figure out; when batting the ball rarely goes where you think it should and when bowling you never know which way the ball will spin. He’s like a crossword puzzle with lots of blanks and a few clues.

 

Turner's looping deliveries wobbled in the strong Westerly wind bringing two stumpings and then a high catch to Flewitt at cover. He was on his way to season-best figures of 4-24, and Brigands were in the hunt. Then there were two tight overs from Northwood and one loose one from Morris, and it was anyone’s game.

 

When Dave Henderson took a reflex catch in the slips off Tom Ladenburg, it forced the return of the injured Arnold to join Mitesh Patel to defend and survive the last 4 overs in the gathering twilight.


The Invalids first played at Broadhalfpenny Down on New Year’s Day in 1929 when it was so cold players and spectators retired to the Bat & Ball and drank it dry. Almost a century later, on a warmer evening and with a better-stocked bar, the Invalid cricketer Mitesh Patel marked his bucket-list achievement of salvaging a draw at the cradle of cricket with four fingers of whisky.




 

Brigands 201-5 declared drew with Invalids CC 179-9

 

 

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