There are days when you just can’t wait to be beside the seaside, beside the sea. This was a day when you wished you were Swiss.

it was not clear whether the steady stream of vehicles past the pitch was going to the municipal waste recycling centre ( that must have been some Town Planning meeting : we need a site for a tip and we are proposing to put it next to the beach huts – all those in favour? – Let’s get tipping on the beach!) or whether the traffic was ferrying aspiring Special Services recruits to the start point in their Artic training module.

On the pitch the activity was clearly cricket and a cry of “There’s a turd at mid off!” which was in no way a form of sledging, allowed the form of cricket to be identified most clearly as “village”

Brockley got to bat first perhaps as a result of winning the toss or simply because Harwich looked at the already hypothermic Jones and Fisher in his bank robber/ invisible man outfit and decided if Brockley were to be forced to field first there could be a case of corporate manslaughter.

Whiley (36) opened the batting in the absence of the increasingly unreliable Jefferys and did far better than he expected. So much so that many thought he spent the rest of the day pinching himself in disbelief whilst the real explanation was more to with the onboarding of insulin.

Fisher(65) at the other end, was standing sideways into the wind so that it largely passed him by as he built a solid foundation to the Brockley innings.
From 28-0 off ten the rate increased to 89-1 at the halfway point as McCaffrey (37) picked up the rate. When Fisher finally fell he was replaced by Timmy “Fingers” Huffer (41) and the rate stepped up again.

Swift cameos from Geeves (23) and captain Boreham , sans second hand car lot coat, plus an enthusiastic appearance from Brooks ensured Brockley closed with an unlikely 227 for 5.

In reply the Brockley bowling looked like they were fresh from the plane crash in Emmerdale. By the fourth over two of them were already off injured and an even bigger surprise was that Sykes wasn’t one of them. Battling a range of ailments loosely grouped under the banner of old age, his loyalty of over 40 years was rewarded with a 10 over spell into the wind. His 4-26 probably had more to do with pity on the part of the batsmen but at least it left him with a story to tell at the arthritis clinic.

At the other end Walters-Smith weaved a magical spell of 4-24 and with wickets from the rejuvenated Whiley and the defrosted Jones, Harwich were dismissed for 104.

The only thing more baffling than Brockley’s victory was the demeanour of the Harwich team : despite having a tough time in the field on the coldest day since Franz Klammer won gold, they could not have been happier or friendlier. For this reason alone they deserve much success this season and we look forward to welcoming them later in the season on a sunny day with a warm cup of tea between innings.

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