Stransky, Garner and Walters-Smith : the holy trinity of international sporting Joel’s, but only one of them ever hit a six at Brockley so sweet it could be called fructose or could spin the ball so far they could be called Doctor.
But before the main event, we had the start of the Nacton innings – some may have wondered at the wisdom of Dan Boreham asking Nacton to bat first on a baking hot day when your opening attack has a combined age of 97, but an LBW for the increasingly frail Sykes (3 for 34) in the first over led to a swelling of pride in the Brockley ranks.
Unfortunately, as my mum always told me, pride often comes before a fall and in Sykes’s case it was a lumpy one on the A1092. At the other end, Geeves (1 for 36) toiled with much skill and little luck whilst Nacton made it clear that no matter what the ball was doing, or indeed how many wickets were down, they weren’t yomping across the Orwell bridge for anything less than five an over.
After 20 overs the ageing support acts – like Blondie and The Stone Roses at Glastonbury – were politely applauded and shuffled of stage whilst the fans excitedly awaited Coldplay and The Killers in the shape of the iconic Walters-Smith and his right hand bandster McGann (no!! not like the bloody car!!) to take to the Brockley Pyramid .
And what an event the crowd were in for! : even at sound check time, the fielding of Walters Smith at point had them murmuring that it was like Simon Howe and Mike Turner in their Woodstock hey day and the stars didn’t disappoint. It was a set that had everything : style and guile from Walters Smith, variety from McGann, even catches from Brockley fielders with it all set to the throbbing bass beat of runs, runs, runs at the metronomic 5 an over.
Towards the end Nacton got a little out of step for the purists and hurried their final number to squeeze an extra 10 runs to finish on 235 for 7. It was impressive in a way but it was McGann, Walters Smith and the Brockley team that understood the virtue of leaving the arena with the fans still wanting more.
Brockley carried this theme into their batting in that they left their fans wanting more, an awful lot more, indeed about 180 runs more. As they limped to a paltry 55 all out the Nacton fans who had stayed in the bar with the intention of just popping out to see the headliners discovered the roadies packing away the gear and heading back over the bridge. The Brockley fans just shook their heads in bemusement : how inexperienced must the Nacton support be to think that matches at the badger Oval ever run the full course and in delaying their arrival they missed the irrepressible Walters-Smith signing off with two more fine boundaries to keep the faithful faithful
The good news for the home side was that for the second time this season Nacton showed themselves to be a decent group of guys with real depth in skills – they deserve to be at the top end of the table. Also Birder Bob has provided match photos – below – many of which must have been on a fast shutter speed as they feature Brockley batsmen. Apologies if page load speed is measured in days but image adjustment is as much a club mystery as runs accumulation. At least Google may one day solve one of the challenges.