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New ground opened in style

The new cricket ground, kindly provided by Edward and Yvonne Thomas in Burton Lane, was opened in style on Sunday 2nd June. In the morning six local primary schools, Dilwyn, Shobdon, Canon Pyon, Kingsland, Almeley and Weobley sent teams to compete in a Kwik Cricket Tournament. Two matches were played concurrently on pitches cut on the outfield. There were two pools and the winners of each played the final on the square. The games were played between 10.30-1.00pm. After six hard fought matches, Canon Pyon and Kingsland met in the deciding match, in which Kingsland were the winners. Trophies were presented to the captains of the two teams by Bill Wiggin MP, who kindly stepped in at the last minute, when Richard Thorpe was forced to withdraw, through ill health. All the children who participated (60, including reserves) received commemorative certificates.

We wish to congratulate all the children not only on their performances, but also on their exemplary behaviour. Many of those attending commented on their huge enjoyment in watching youngsters playing with such enthusiasm and good sportsmanship. It was a great pleasure from our point of view to have been able to host what we feel was a very successful event. The presence of the children contributed greatly to the celebrations for the opening of our new ground, a view endorsed by Mr Wiggin MP. A fine photographic record was kept by Jayne watson, several of which appeared in local newspapers.

Annual Match
The History Invitation Team v Howard Davies Invitation Team

This game was first played in 1996 to celebrate 130 years of cricket in Eardisland, on the ground where it all began in 1866. The venue was moved from the old cricket meadow, to the new this season, to celebrate its opening. Those who follow the saga of this match will be aware that for the first three years the weather was glorious. There then followed three years in which matches were played in rain, thunder and lightening. Yet throughout it all, there emerged a bright ray of hope for the future prospects of the game, a crack gazebo erection squad was honing the skills of tent erection to new heights. However, this year, the training and encouragement they have provided to their young apprentices finally bore fruit. Master of Tents (with first class distinction,) John Gittoes had passed the mantle to son David (until now, merely Pole-Holder 3rd Class) with Second Mate, Spud Dyer as First Aid man (for the flying pole across the nut) and Senior Observer-Expectant with Andrew Davies (acting Master of Guy Ropes) taking notes.

It was strange to see the day of the match begin without the playful banter of Eric (Master of Cow Pat Removal Squad with bar) & Gill (Pole-Collapse-Catcher & Rapid Response Range-Finder) Richards and Cathy (Techno-Dome-Support-Director) Dyer, as they fought against gale force winds to secure the gazebos to Ian Watson's hub caps. There was some speculation that they had been head hunted by Burgoynes for an emergency job in the locality, and their presence was certainly missed.

How well one recalls the special systems they devised at the drop of a hat to drain 4 gallons of water which collected every three minutes from the central connecting channels of two adjacent structures in 1999, and the improvised lightening conductor which John rigged up on the central support post in 2000, just in case, which also served to call emergency services when it was feared that several cars would be stranded in the small stream that appeared in the outfield as the rain lashed in from the west.

But the new team, led by David Gittoes had learnt their job well and brought a new dimension to work. Calling instructions with surgical precision, each item was passed from one team member to the next and held securely in place with Spofoths Sealing Fixative. The field hung with expectancy as the orders began...
"three left hand threads, pole numbers 1,3,4, with groove attachment....times four; two flange adapters... spigot number three with undulating hinge.... two cross pieces numbers 2 & 4.. . black tape.. 3.7centimentres.... roof flaps, side vent, pergola.... guy ropes, two half hitches...and the work was done in less than 15 minutes....
So it is that history is made and a new chapter opens in the cricketing life of Eardisland.

The Presentations
As for the match, that too, had its special moments of magic. The Chairman, was deputed to meet Bill Wiggin on his arrival and invite him to take the first ball of the match. On spotting the entry of a large, vintage car into the ground, flying the flag of St George from the aerial, Martyn made his way over to greet the celebrity.
He bowed a little, in natural deference, as the guest stepped from the car; but was a little surprised to see him dressed a gaudy waistcoat, yellow shirt and green trousers, with union jack stickers on his spectacles. However, undeterred Martyn shook him firmly by the hand and directed him to the tent from which the awards were to be made....and was heard to say, "our esteemed MP, what a pleasure to meet you.." to which the guest relied ..."oh, no, I'm the conjuror and children's entertainer..." as he removed an egg from his ear.

However, Mr Wiggin arrived shortly afterwards and duly performed the opening ceremony on the square. He spoke of the importance of events such as this not only as a memory and celebration of the jubilee, but also as evidence of community spirit. He said he was delighted to have had the opportunity to open the ground, and wouldn`t mind a bit part in Emmerdale. He was presented with a bottle of claret by Ian Watson on behalf of the committee and thanked for coming to perform the ceremony for the club.

The game begins
The game duly began in warm sunshine, and as always on such occasions, the numbers wishing to play are uncertain. On this occasion we had 15 aside. It was agreed to allow the young cricketers (many of whom who had played in the earlier tournament) to bat and bowl for two or three overs each, so that they would contribute to the match. This then allowed a game of 24 overs to decide the outcome of the Eardisland Bat.

Non playing Captain Howard Davies won the toss and sent the Oral History team into bat. The youngsters played steadily and got the scoreboard moving. But it was when Chris Watson and Hugh Lowe came into bat that the tempo picked up. Both played fine shots all round the wicket, and Hugh, who is a one game a year player, looked in fine shape and he drove with great power. He was finally out to a good seaming ball from Andrew Davies, making good use of a slight cross breeze, which took his off stump. Chris drove a magnificent 4 through the covers before he was caught and bowled by a slower ball from Malcom Dyer. The catch was a fine one handed dismissal, which he managed to hold onto as he tumbled to his right in his follow up.

Middle order collapse
There followed a middle order collapse as four batsmen went in the space of four overs for five runs. Henry Simpson, normally a stalwart of the Howard Davies team, had been subject to transfer negotiations before the start of the match. His prowess as a hard hitting batsman, seam bowler and agile fielder made him an extremely marketable commodity. A transfer fee was negotiated, which Henry kindly donated to the bar, and he was duly signed on. It was felt that to have an GB International in the side (albeit Australian Rules) must be worth 20 runs and a couple of wickets. However, it was not until he fielded that the true value of the transfer was recognised. Unfortunately, the opposing captain, realising that he may have made a mistake in letting him go, was determined to undo his batting confidence. Andrew Davies bowling his leg cutters with accuracy was able to bemuse Henry into a false sense of security. The fourth ball he faced moved off the slow pitch with more bite. It moved from leg to off with unusual pace and turned him square. The ball shot through his defences and rocked his castle. But Henry was to have his revenge.

Sensational run-outs
Edward Thomas played well in his usual dogged style for several overs. He played a straight bat to the straight balls and attempted to cut and tickle to leg, those which were off target. However, Andrew Davies found a way through his defences when he came round the wicket and aimed for the rough. Edward endeavoured to pad up but mis calculated the turn on the ball and found the timbers rattled. Unfortunately, Jayne Watson`s long range telescope camera lens caught the moment.

For some reason she failed to capture the fall of the next wicket, namely the run out of Ian Watson. Ian saw that he was in trouble, as the ball was hit too firmly to Ben Probert and his partner had set off, head down as if he was on rails. None the less, Ian made a brave but futile attempt to make his ground as the ball whistled past his ears and thudded into the safe hands of Dickie Preece who whipped off the bails, to leave Ian stranded. A call for an adjudication went unheeded.

The next man in, was an unknown quality since he was making his debut in the match. Alaistaire Munns has only recently arrived in the village but having learnt his cricket in Zimbabwe, in the shadow of Graham Hick, no time was lost in making another signing for the History Team. He batted with elegance and grace for several overs, playing the ball crisply through the covers to get off the mark. He saw a mini collapse going on and batted with quiet confidence in trying to repair the fortunes of the team. However, he too, was left a yard short of his crease when a fine hook was brilliantly fielded by Darren Jones at deep mid wicket. The ball was returned like a laser and again Dickie did the honours. However, this was a fine debut and a regular place in this team is assured.

Respectable score
The last three batsmen, Dave Gittoes, Paul Selfe and another transferee, Edward Simpson, were able to add respectability to the score before the innings ended. Edward recently back from trekking in the Himalayas showed how fit he is, and scampered an number of quick singles. Whereas last year he played in wellington boots and shooting jacket, the only one to come prepared for the weather and every eventuality, this year he went for speed. Paul Selfe added 16 with him for the last wicket before he was out to a fine one handed slip catch by Martyn Connop. In this he again demoinstrated his skill as a slipper. His similar catch recently at Clee Hill was possibly the catch of the season, when he dived full length, and held the ball in his left hand inches from the ground, from a hard cut by the batsman which fizzed away in a blur towards an inevitable boundary. To see it in his hand was truly astounding.

The innings closed at 77 all out in 24 overs. Tea was taken and then the Howard Davies team went out to score 78 in 24 overs.

The Howard Davies innings begins
Once again the young players opened the batting and bowling and showed much promise for the future. Alaistaire Munns was brought into the attack and showed what a fine left arm seamer he is. He bowled with great accuracy and picked up a wicket with his first ball in Eardisland cricket. His athletic fielding is also a great asset to a team top heavy with the older generation.

First spectacular catch
The batting fireworks started when Malcom Dyer reached the crease. He negotiated some fine leg break bowling by Sam Gittoes, before opening his shoulders; first he attacked Ian Watson's in-swingers, creaming a beautiful 4 though midwicket and several quick singles off Hugh Lowe. But he was dismissed by a magnificent catch in the deep by Edward Simpson. Hugh attacked Malcolm's leg stump and in order to deal with this difficult line, he attempted to hit him inside out and moving over to the leg side, he drove with great power towards deep midwicket. Edward had been quenching his thirst and examining the quality of the grass in the outfield, when the ball approach in a high trajectory, against a strong sun. Aware that all eyes were on him and the batsmen had already crossed for two speedily taken runs, Edward moved back towards the boundary edge and then shuffled to his left. As he stumbled the ball reached his left shoulder causing him to readjust but was unable to retain his equilibrium. There was a possibility that the ball could have struck him a severe blow on the head, but dancing lightly to his left as if in a tango-mode he plunged forward and took the catch. Although not cleanly. The ball flew into the air and over his right shoulder. But turning his imaginary partner 90 degrees he fell back and held the ball as it plummeted towards the earth.. He stood, covered in grass with the ball raised in his hand. A sensational catch. Malcolm stood disbelieving, and then departed, a fine innings at an end.

Second spectacular catch
However, his place was taken by Andrew Davies, who quickly showed his fine form by on driving a ball from David Gittoes for 4 and then clipping one off his toes. However, David was now finding his line and length and he tempted Andrew to hit over the top. But there at deep long leg stood Henry Simpson, patrolling a wide area, trying to ensure that 5 runs were not conceded by the ball hitting obstructions left in the field as he and Edward changed fielding positions. Henry heard a shout of "catch it" and quickly located the source, as David Gittoes began to wave at him, sending what appeared to be semaphore signals as to the height and direction of the ball. Suddenly, Henry took off, running like a sprinter and then flying horizontally for several yards before he collapsed in a heap with the ball in his hand. Another extraordinary catch, which it is hoped was caught on camera by Jayne Watson who was situated at short mid on, braving the powerful hitting that was going on around her.

The winning hit
The last of the History team bowlers tried hard to control the final overs of the match, but Darren Jones playing powerfully with strong controlled hitting, and with Spud Dyer, a substitute for Darren Staples, made the winning hits. With two balls to spare, Darren drove the winning run and the match ended with a one wicket win for the Howard Davies team.

The Eardisland Bat was presented for the 7th year by Leslie Evans, to Andrew Davies. As always, we were extremely grateful to the umpires and scorer, to Ian Watson for marking out several pitches and all those who had helped provide teas, set up the equipment, organise the entertainments and of course to those who took part. Bill Blatchford has done a marvellous job in getting the ground into good shape for our matches, and David Gittoes and John have worked hard in cutting the square. It was a great day and we look forward to the future on this ground with great anticipation.

Annual match played on the new cricket ground 2nd June 2002
Result: win for the Howard Davies Invitation Team by one wicket
with two balls to spare.

The History Invitation Team
Sam Gittoes Run out 2
Rob Harper LBW M Phillips 11
Callum Anderson Retired 2
Richard Harper Bowled L Jones 0
Joe Longstaffe Bowled D Staples 0
Mathew Jones Bowled D Staples 0
Chris Watson C & B M Dyer 11
Hugh Lowe Bowled A Davies 10
Henry Simpson Bowled A Davies 1
Ian Watson Run Out 0
Edward Thomas Bowled A Davies 1
Alaistair Munns Run Out 2
David Gittoes Bowled B Probert 6
Paul Self Caught M Connop M Morris 12
Edward Simpson Bowled D Jones 9
Extras 12
Total 24 Overs 77
Howard Davies Invitation Team
M Phillips Retired 1
C Phillips Bowled S Gittoes 1
Chris Connop Bowled S Gittoes 1
Luke Jones Bowled A Munns 2
Malcom Dyer Caught E Simpson H Lowe 8
Martyn Connop LBW I Watson 5
D Rounds Caught H Simpson H Lowe 10
P Jones Bowled H Lowe 1
Andrew Davies LBW D Gittoes 11
M Morris C & B D Gittoes 4
Ben Probert Bowled P Selfe 7
Dickie Preece Bowled C Watson 2
Darren Jones Not Out 8
Spud Dyer Not Out 5
Extras 12
Total 23.4 overs 78

Umpires: Bill Price; John Edwards; Eric Richards & Bill Blatchford.
Scorer: Claire Price.
Eardisland Bat presented to Andrew Davies by Leslie Evans
Result to date: Howard Davies Team 4; History Team 3.

Junior Cricket News
The first meeting of the junior section was held on Sunday 23rd June when 13 young players turned up to play some Kwik Cricket and use the catching cradle. We hope to arrange 8 sessions before the end of the season to give them some coaching and an opportunity to develop their basic skills. The Club coaches are Will Hicks and Ian Watson. Other club members are welcome to attend these sessions to assist, as well as parents.

Anyone interested in joining the club should contact Secretary Bill Price and Treasurer Claire Price 388309.

Sam Gittoes has recently played in his first County Match for Herefordshire Under 10s versus Shropshire, played at Dales Ground in Leominster. He is due to play in further County matches in the coming weeks.

Sixth Annual Anniversary Match

The game was played on Sunday 19th August on the old cricket meadow where the first matches were played in Eardisland in 1866. It was initially the Burton Court Cricket Club, under the management of the Clowes family, who had recently moved into Burton Court. Most matches, according to old reports and score-books, were played in August. This is probably because it was the time when most family members were available to play, having returned from the Scottish estates and family visits.

As always we are extremely grateful to Leslie Evans for permission to use the ground. The Annual Anniversary match, organised by the local history members was first played in 1996 to commemorate the start of cricket in the village. The ground was used until the outbreak of war, and was not used again for cricket until the first anniversary match.. The winning team receives the Eardisland Bat which hangs throughout the year in the White Swan.

Pitch inspection: shock
The pitch had been cut a week before the match and as always it was showing some signs of uneven quality, but since the introduction of the Eardisland Rules (maximum run up to bowl 5 paces) it was felt that the hazards of the pitch had been overcome. However, a pitch inspection by Bill Blatchford (Master of Mowers and Member of the Umpires Union) two days before the game was due to be played, deemed it unfit and said that he would lay three tons of sand on it and organise Mike Connop to bring his vibrating heavy roller to flatten it. This was duly done, to the fascination of many experienced cricketers who turned up to assist.

Ian Watson, honorary Pitch Marker Extraordinary, said that painting white lines on sand was a new experience to him and one not given to many. It could prove to be a skill central to career advancement. Anyone who would like to become Ian`s apprentice for future years is recommended to take a tin of white paint to Borth and put in a little practice.

Crack Gazebo Squad in action
The gazebo erection team, under the usual direction of John Gittoes (Master of Tents, First Class, with Distinction) assembled at 10am and were surprised to find that they had a tricky problem to resolve. The pitch had been cut in a new direction and in a new position. An hour was spent discussing the best site for the tea tents and a sub committee was set up to make the final decision. However, once agreement was reached the team flew into action. Tribute must again be paid to John`s masterly skills in directing his team of Cathy and Malcolm Dyer and Gill and Eric Richards (sadly redundant this year as Master of the Cow-Pat Removal Men). They form an extraordinarily experienced squad, hand picked for the nimble ways in which cross-thread joints can be re-grooved in an instant; their knowledge of correct pole procedure, knot adjustment technique and gale-force wind alignment. Their ability to work as a harmonious team of technicians, is always impressive to behold. John is considering writing the definitive handbook for future erectors. Fortunately, this year, much of the erection work was placed on video, from which future members can take notes. Spectators not interested in the cricket are recommended to arrive early in the morning next year to watch the squad at work.

Weather forecaster makes prediction
Those who recall the report of last year's match may remember the day was somewhat wet, as it was the year before. Small bets had been taken that we could not have three consecutive years of torrential rain for this important event. The day was again heavy with cloud, but whilst the Gazebo squad worked, quietly and efficiently at their task, weather man Malcolm Dyer was again consulted for his local weather knowledge. By 11.30 the sky had aspects of blue and a warm breeze was blowing. He looked knowingly towards the west and said things could only get better by 2.00pm

At 2pm the organising group returned to check that everything was ready. The ground was in fine condition. The boundary markers were in place; the gazebos were still standing; the tables and chairs had been erected and the teas and refreshments had arrived. The urn of water was on the gas, the pitch was marked; the teams were arriving; the day was set fair.

At 2.20 the fifth light went on in Leslie's house. As the sky turned black.

At 2.22 Malcolm's weather predictions were again meteorologically a little duff. It was for the third year raining stair-rods.

At 2.25 the rain was so heavy that it was impossible to see across the ground (although someone did claim to have seen someone rapidly change direction carrying the bag of equipment). Again, the whole local cricketing community was brought together huddling in the central gazebo. We had 4 umpires, a scorer, a score-board operative, 6 people who had come to watch and 18 players. We have become used to the unusual intimacy the occasion provides since this is the third time we have been huddled together on a wet Sunday in August. Whilst it does generate warmth and some community banter, it is not conducive to cricket. Wrong.

Optimists in the gloom: shock
Tom and Will Hicks, emerged into the gloom and with water running off their helmets like figures in a fountain, they said as one, we should make a start, they at least were not fair weather cricketers. However, the clap of thunder overhead and the shafts of lightening which were observed by Howard Davies caused them to be out-voted by a considerable majority. Claire Price said that the last time she had seen the sky the same shade of purple was this time last year. But it was agreed that the thunder was louder this time. Within minutes messengers arrived carrying apologies from several of the expected team members indicating that they were unable to attend after all because they had important appointments and holidays arranged. Somehow, the bag of cricketing equipment mysteriously arrived by an unseen hand and Edward Thomas was deputed to make a new weather assessment before a decision was made to abandon the game.

Weather forecaster makes new prediction
Edward took one look out and said that the day would improve within ten minutes. Malcolm said he thought it had set in. At 2.50 the rain stopped; blue sky appeared overhead and the sun began to shine. At 3.00pm the game was underway.

The game begins
The Howard Davies Team won the toss and elected to bat. The captain, Andrew Davies sent out his two youngest players to open. Sam Gittoes and Luke Jones. This was the debut for both players and it was pleasing to find several young boys keen to be involved in this match.

Both openers showed that they are going to be extremely useful cricketers and struck the ball fluently on what was a slow a difficult wicket. Sam played a sumptuous cover drive off Ian Watson and scored 10 high quality runs before he was deceived by a slower delivery from Chris Watson which swung and dipped. He moved inside the line, aimed to drive through mid-wicket, got a top edge for Will Hicks to make an astounding one handed catch in front of second slip. Ian Watson, who opened the bowling with his usual steady seamers did not pick up a wicket with his first ball as he has done for the past two matches bowled accurately and kept the scoring down. He had his major success in capturing the wicket of Luke Jones who was bowled by the leg cutter that Ian bowls with great guile. Luke drove and cut and on a pitch with a faster outfield would have picked up many more runs. He has good technique and plays calmly. Rob Harper came into face Tom Hicks who was bowling his leg breaks. Tom has been man of the match in the past, and still shows his class on a hard dry wicket. But the sand made it difficult to get turn and Rob flicked him off his pads and pulled a ball that was brilliantly fielded by John Gittoes to prevent a boundary.

Oliver May, a young cricketer who regularly attends net-practice, took over at the Cornfield end and with his third ball in senior cricket got one to move off the seam and it kept low to deceive Rob into a false shot. John Speke came into the game having scored over 300 in just a handful of innings over the past months. Like Rob, he is clearly going to be a very fine cricketer, and both have been selected for Herefordshire Youth teams. But John found it difficult to get the ball to the boundary on this usual surface. He played a beautiful cover drive and a hook that stopped dead in long grass before Tom Hicks got one to deceive him. The flipper is a hard ball to bowl but Tom can produce one that would undo most players.

Big hitting
The score was moving along steadily, but slowly until Andrew Davies came to the wicket. Dressed in black, to match the weather at the start of the day, Andrew hit out powerfully. With three sixes and a four he punished loose bowling and when he reached 26 was obliged to retire (Eardisland Rules, No3, sub section 6(ii)). The score was now approaching 70, already a formidable one in a 24 over match. It took Spud Dyer only 10 balls to amass 14 runs with a 6 that scattered the tea-makers and a 4 that dissected the bowler and mid-off, before he was snapped up by Dave Gittoes, making a comeback after injury . Dave bowled him a slower out-swinger that moved late and in trying to hook, got a top edge. The ball looped high in the air giving all the players the opportunity to watch as it appeared to hover in the light breeze and descend like a meteor directly onto the middle stump. An extraordinary dismissal, but one well deserved for the cunning way in which Dave won the wicket.

Howard Davies debut
Russell Smith made a return to the match, having been unavailable for several seasons, but looked in good nick as he attacked the bowling with some ferocity. He held out well against some flighted spin from Paul Selfe and some left arm seamers from John Gittoes. It was only when he misjudged the flight of a ball that went on straight to hit his leg stump that his innings ended. This brought to the wicket for the first time, the organiser of the team, Howard Davies. In the past always an observer of the team, offering them keen support, but as a result of injuries and pressing appointments, he agreed to take up the blade on their behalf. He was accompanied in the last wicket stand of 10 by an ex-Leominster player, G.Evans, who showed that he had not forgotten his skills. Uncertain how to bowl at Howard, never having seem him bat before, the field was set for a potentially big hitter. In the event he showed great competence as a defender. He watched John Gittoes swing balls past the outside edge of his bat, and found the deceptive pace of Edward Thomas disconcerting. His single was scored by a clever defensive push which on faster out-field would have reached the boundary. It was only when his colleague called for a quick single that he was outpaced by a bullet like throw from Tom Hicks which clipped a bail and would otherwise have gone through for over throws. The team was all out for 86.with Evans not out 6.

Tea in the sunshine
Tea was taken in bight summer like conditions and the delicious spread was greatly enjoyed by everyone, including guests and visitors, there was so much of it. Tea and refreshments were served by Gill, Cathy and Claire and raffle tickets sold by Jessica.

The match resumed at 4.30 in delightful conditions. In fact the sun was shining so brightly that caps were required for batsmen.

The game resumes
Tom Hicks and Oliver May were deputed to open the innings. They faced Sam Gittoes bowling wrist spin and Luke Jones bowling seam up. Sam was getting quite a lot of turn and bowling with good control. Tom played some strong shots before being surprised by the googly which took the shoulder of the bat and flew low down the leg side. Spud Dyer took off like an acrobat about to turn a somersault and held the ball inches from the ground.

Spectacular run-out
Oliver was battling hard against Luke's fine opening spell and having played some good drives, attempted to get off the strike, but was brilliantly run out by a direct hit on the wicket by Russell Smith. Two wicket down for no runs. A bleak start. Ian Watson and Will Hicks were at the wicket whilst the score moved along. Will struck a powerful 6 over long on and pulled a ball to the boundary for 4. Ian with his usual careful defence nudged and clipped balls away to ensure that the score ticked over and gave the strike to Will. The team were looking to Will for another big score. He is an extremely accomplished cricketer who has the top score for ECC this season, 75 not out against Wellington. However, Luke Jones in his final over captured Will's wicket with a faster delivery that moved deceptively in the final yard after pitching in a sand divot. Will got an edge that was well held by Andrew Davies. A good over from Rob Harper saw the end of Ian Watson's defiant innings as he got one through the defences to clip off stump. Chris Watson played powerfully before being LBW to John Speke whose bowling skills put him in the all rounder class. Five wickets down for 16. Things looked bleak and when John Gittoes was also LBW to Rob Harper the score had only moved on to 17. Dave Gittoes responded with a huge 6 which cleared the square leg boundary before he moved to attack John Speke`s bowling. But the off break totally undid him and his castle was demolished. It was 8 wickets down for 27 and Edward Thomas took guard. He played with great authority, driving loose balls, running quick singles and taking the attack to the bowlers. In a flourish, with a beautiful straight drive for 4 he helped move the score to respectability 43 for 9, as Paul Selfe managed only 2, being completely mesmeroised by the floaters and drifters sent down by Howard Davies, in a very controlled spell of bowling. He brought any thoughts of an attacking last wicket stand to a halt.

When Bill Price came to the wicket, making a come-back after many years observing from the umpires position, he also seemed bemused by the ball's high trajectory against the glaring sun and although he played an immaculate forward defensive stroke, reminiscent of Tom Graveney in his prime, he failed to make contact. It was subsequently noted that Eardisland Rules (Para 3 subsection 5 (iii) specidically states that comeback players cannot be out first ball. Apologies to Bill. With the fall of that wicket, the Oral History Team was all out 48. However, it was agreed to play out the 24 overs and in batting a second time, managed to pass the score of 86 with two balls to spare.

Apart from good bowling and batting in difficult conditions, the two wicket keepers excelled, since neither normally take up the gloves.

Who has won? Shock
A short meeting of the senior professionals in the History Team agreed that since they had been bowled out for 48 in their first innings and the Howard Davies team had not used their second innings, they were the victors by 38 runs. It was also agreed that an amendment will have to be made to the Eardisland Rules for future years to take account of this anomaly.

The Eardisland Bat was presented by Leslie Evans to Andrew Davies after votes of thanks to all who had assisted in the preparation and organisation of the event which ended in warm sunshine. Donations received will enable a sum to be presented to the village Youth Club. The Gazebo team had done their work for another year. The video will be available soon.

Paul Selfe.