With Paul Webb getting giddy at the thought of a sunny Saturday with a fast outfield and no defeat for Manchester United it was hardly surprising that Brockley arrived at Halstead with a spring in their feet.
Sadly it was a spring in only their twenty feet as they continue to rival TheHundred with their new format(s) of the game trademarked as TheEight (see Chappel and Wakes Colne) TheNine (see Witham II) and their Roman inspired, TheX, that was unveiled to an unwitting Halstead public.
Their confusion wasn’t helped by the late arrival of the Webb’s which had the team trying to locate the discarded PoS from the Chappel game before captain Dan was presented to the media.
In all the melee, the victor of the coin toss was difficult to identify and so the Halstead openers filled the void by padding up.
Rob Webb opened the bowling with a great spell of 12 overs straight off for virtually no runs and absolutely no wickets. Whilst he was roundly applauded absolutely none of his team asked him if they could borrow his lottery numbers.
At the other end Sykes made a brief return between spells of injury, holiday and alleged multisport events. He squeezed in 7 overs for a couple of wind assisted wickets before returning to the real battle of fielding Strava records with the non-stop McCaffrey.
This brought Joe “Renault” McGann and Joel Walters- Smith into the attack. Their mixtures of style, guile and non rhyming good fortune saw then up the wicket count whilst still keeping the run pressure on a Halstead team fighting to get above 3 an over.
Eventually the innings closed with another four wickets for Walters-Smith and three for the French car man. The final wicket was taken by McCaffrey whose wanderings around the ground left him inexplicably beside the umpire at the point a new over was to be delivered. Still needing another 200m for the 10km he grasped his opportunity with both hands. And two incessantly moving feet.
Chasing 103 on a great wicket was within the grasp of event the Brockley X Men although spirited bowling and enthusiastic fielding from the Halstead team delayed the visit to the Melford Chippy (Garfish?!) until Jefferys and McCaffrey had fallen and the twinkle toed Webb, a sort of Jack Grealish of the front foot shot, had brought victory to the visitors. At the other end it was with yet another score from Stu Fisher (48NO) that provided the reassurance that the House of Cards would not fall. At least not this week.
If a win wasn’t enough fun for one day, there hospitality of the host team was extremely well received before the pilgrimage to the Melford shrine where Captain Boreham spoke to the congregation as the bride and groom left the scene.
Halstead are a great bunch of people to spend an afternoon/early evening with and good team whose league position belies their results and I am sure the return match will be a close affair.