Exiles v Victor Trumper Memorial XI, 21 September 1997

Wayne Holder weighs in with a Ton, Chris Cheshire grabs five wickets! Another loss for the Victors!

A beautiful day to end the season with, on a straw coloured wicket as dry as any we've seen all summer. The Exiles won the toss, did the obvious thing and batted. The Victors new bowling discovery Sheehy soon showed that this September wicket wasn't as pasty-faced as it seemed. It had plenty of pace but the bounce was a little variable and he beat the edge of Tony Brook's bat several times and was too quick for the keeper, the first eight runs coming from extras to long leg. When he overpitched he was twice driven sweetly to the fence by Tony but in the same over he dropped one a little short that didn't bounce as high as expected and knocked back Brook's middle stump. Dominic Wood also had a few problems with Sheehy, playing and missing at five consequetive deliveries before popping the sixth to gully off the shoulder of the bat. Nick Coleman didn't do himself any favours when he attempted a pull shot to the fourth ball he faced and had his middle stump knocked back too. Guy Sneesby who had managed to stay at the non-strikers end throughout most of this eventualy faced Sheehy and lasted three balls before he was caught at the wicket off his glove. So the Exiles were in some dissaray at about 40 for 4 after twelve overs. Keith Marchbank and Wayne Holder managed to see out the remainder of Sheehy's overs without further loss and started to punish the lesser bowlers, getting full value for their shots as the outfield was quicker than the outfielders, some of whom are getting a little long in the tooth. There was a marked deterioration in the bowling and the early batsmen had plenty of time to rue their "luck" as Keith and Wayne helped themselves to the runs. Quickly the Exiles were out of the doldrums and thinking of posting a big score and when Keith was out Phil James' wild hitting (and missing) increased the rate still further. There was even the rare sight of Phil turning for the third and being sent back by Wayne. It was now unrecognisable as the same game that had started so tentatively for the Exiles as Wayne surged onwards, passing fifty with a wave of the bat, and Phil passed twenty. Eventually a slog too far saw Phil fall on 25, his top score of the season. He had enjoyed himself making late hay in the sunshine. Paul Shorrock unfortunately could't carry on the joyous charge, lasting only two balls before Prendergast bowled him for his first duck of the season. Steve Howard, back from the wilderness, also failed to match Wayne in the run-making but got a few here and there before falling in the penultimate over. Wayne was now in sniffing distance of three figures for the first time in his many innings for the Exiles. Effie Gorme batting down the order because he showed up an hour late was just the man to steer Holder past the landmark, running like the devil to get to the danger end and get Wayne back on strike. Wayne made it with one ball to spare to rapturous acclaim, to finish on 101 not out, the Exiles total a mighty 205 for 8. Wayne would have been carried shoulder high from the field but the Exiles decided not to risk putting their backs out and made do with slapping him on his sweat-soaked back. Having spent most of his career batting at number 3 it is somewhat ironic that he should make his highest score batting at number 6. A splendid achievement that saw the Exiles head off to the Pavillion in confident mood.

Things stared well enough for the Exiles Effie Gorme getting massive swing with the new ball but Shorrock got the first breakthrough bowling the opener off his pads with one that seamed back after a series of ones that shaped away. Effie had a unanimous appeal for a catch at the wicket turned down to the man who went on to score a fifty.The other Victor batsmen didn't really get to grips with the early bowling as they needed to to be in with a chance of catching the Exiles and the required rate mounted rapidly so that Tony felt confident to bring Steve Howard and Chris Cheshire into the attack early on. Several key Exiles bowlers had been dropped for this last fixture and both the slow-armers were going to have to bowl long spells. The field was dropped back and a few hits brought boundaries and a glimmer of hope for the Victors as they started to build a partnership, but their confidence was shaken in one over from Chris Cheshire that precipitated a suicidal run-out then two balls later a mis-judged sweep shot that gave Chris the first of his wickets, clean bowled. To their credit the Victors kept up the pressure but some sharp catching by Nick Coleman and Effie Gorme and a stumping by Guy, who only occasionaly keeps wicket, gave Chris wickets 2 , 3 and 4. Paul And Effie finished off their remaining overs, Tony bowled himself for a couple which were good in parts. Keen outfielding inspite of the seeming inevitability of the outcome kept the Exiles spirits high. The bearded Prendergast hit a couple of straight sixes to show his teammates what they had been missing leaving him down the order. Steve Howard grabbed a wicket with a leg-break that actually turned, and up the hill too! Chris Cheshire completed his bag of five in the closing overs, his first for the club, and I think only the second bowler this season to do so (after Naem against Nuxley) but I may be wrong, and I'm sure "Statto" Middle will correct me if I am. After that there were only the two youngsters left, one on as a sub but being allowed to bat, and the excitement got a little too much for Wayne who threw a very flat return throw to Chris at the bowler's wicktet that went through his hands and smacked him right between the eyes with a cartoon violence "thwack!". Whether this was Wayne's way of getting back at Chris for stealing some of his thunder we may never know, however Chris was able to complete his over, the boys got a few more runs and the game ended in youthful innocence as the sun disappeared behind the oaks for the last time this season. Exiles ran out comfortable winners by 39 runs. A fitting end to our first season at Honor Oak.

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