Not the send off Pete would have wanted, but he can be proud of his own contribution, picking up the only two Wanderers' wickets to fall and 21 runs. The Exiles were caught cold on a damp wicket. Losing the toss may have exaggerated the gap in quality between the teams but there is no denying The Scandinavian Wanderers outplayed The Exiles in every department. Kevin was handed the chalice of Captaincy and a pretty strong team on paper but as was the case last year the Exiles adaptation to the great damp and windy outdoors after the hot dry nets at The Oval was not as smooth as you would hope for. The ball was soon nipping about on the green corrugated surface, Sean was bowled off his elbow for seven, Kevin Hobley more directly for the same score and Steve Du Preez skied one and also fell on 7, all to Hill. Kyle Holling declined the credit for 4 leg byes, repeated the stroke with some contact for four that counted then he too holed out. This brought Pete Watts to the crease for his final Exiles innings, the lump in the throat became the heart in the mouth when he slashed at a wide one and Prescott at gully failed to hold on to it thus saving Pete the embarrassment of a duck. Together with new man Graeme Van Rooyen he put on 46 in good time but neither batsman ever looked totally comfortable, some boundaries coming from lofted shots that only just evaded the fielders, who generally had an excellent day. Guy hasn't played for a few years and I doubt if conditions in his native South Africa ever came close to this. He hinted at the awesome ability lurking just beneath the surface with some crisp shots and a generally solid looking technique. I don't need a crystal ball to predict that some hapless bowler is in for a shellacking from him before long. Both fell to catches with the score in the seventies and with Roric seemingly intent to give the slips some practice The Exiles were looking very wobbly on 78 for 6. Somehow Roric survived long enough to start seeing the ball, and ended up top scoring with 25, and repeated his trick of a straight six against the same opposition last year. Rob Anderson cut fine for four through the slips but he too was caught before long. Guy Hatton and Stuart Lindsay failed to trouble the scorers but a last wicket stand of 25, with Roric the main majority shareholder, saw the total to three figures at least. It didn't look like enough but The Exiles have bowled themselves out of tighter corners before (against The Occasionals defending 82 springs to mind). All this time a brisk breeze had been drying the ground, and the forecast showers didn't materialise.
|S Du Preez||caught||Hill||7|
|G Van Rooyen||caught||Stetford||17|
|Total||34.1 Overs||for 7 wickets||108|
Scandinavian Wanderers bowling figures:
FOW:1-13, 2-16,3-29,4-46, 5-72, 6-78, 7-83, 8-83, 9-88, 10-113
The response by The Scandinavian Wanderers was decisive and brutal. The Exiles bowlers too were slow to adjust to conditions, worst of all veteran Paul Shorrock, who was honoured with the new ball out of deference to his record rather than his current state of health. After three overs of mostly tripe had been carted to all corners he wished he had stayed in bed with a supply of Lem-Sip. Stuart Lindsay at the other end was also given no time to adjust and in no time at all the initiative had been seized by The Wanderers and two consolation wickets for Pete only delayed the inevitable. Graeme bowled with great pace and beat every batsman that faced him, but they survived him, and the opener (name?) even prospered using the extra pace to bisect the square fielders as he moved to a classy undefeated fifty. Exiles fielding was pretty scrappy, and Steve Du Preez's exhortations raised a laugh as the winning run slipped by him off the unfortunate Rob who wasn't required to bowl a full over. Scandinavian Wanderers run out easy winners by eight wickets with eighteen overs to spare. As heavy a defeat as I can ever remember, and I go back a long way.
Lots of room for improvement next week , will it be backlash or whitewash? Watch this space. From now on Pete will be a spectator from afar. No doubt he'll be logging on in internet cafes from Cairo to Lima so lets hope we can supply him some good news to speed him on his way around the world back home the hard way. So long, missing you already!
Next up Battersea Ironsides away.