13 May 2018 v Sir JP Getty’s XI by Peter Eckersley

Playing at Wormsley against a Getty invitational side is always a highlight of The Ramblers fixture card. The ground is, in my opinion, the greatest cricketing haven that UK has to offer. The hospitability is second to none, with guests invited to enjoy champagne throughout the day. And the opposition always contain a couple of current / ex-pro’s to strike fear into their opponents.

On a glorious May day, it was with great surprise that, having lost the toss, I found myself informing the team that we had been put into bat. Chris St. George (the opposition skipper and a Rambler) obviously fancied the chances of Steve Kirby (ex-Yorkshire, Somerset and Gloucestershire with 572 first class wickets to his name) first up against a young and slightly under practiced Rambler top order!

The first 25 overs were a gritty affair with the Rambler opening batsmen showing some real fight against a high quality bowling attack. Special mention must go to Jack Rogers, who battled hard against the aforementioned Kirby’s quick and accurate bowling. At 12:30, it looked as though there may be a decent chance the Ramblers could make it through to lunch unscathed. However a moment of madness from this author (trying to play an unorthodox ramp shot to a left arm spinner) left the Ramblers 1 down at lunch following an opening stand of 74.

Generally, in jazz hat cricket, the theory of blocking out the oppositions 1 or 2 good bowlers and making hay against the change bowlers leaves one a decent chance of posting a competitive total. Sadly the left hand side of the equation was not in our favour in this instance, in that all 7 of the Getty bowlers used were consistent and accurate, making runs hard to come by during the entire innings. There were some late lusty blows from Felix Hartley Russell, but eventually a combination of quality bowling and early season rustiness invoked a Rambler collapse and we were eventually bowled out for 154, with the last 6 wickets falling for only 7 runs.

It was always going to be a tough ask of the bowlers to defend a low total, especially on a track where one needs to pitch the ball up to create chances to take wickets. The bowling was tight throughout, and fielding committed, but as with our batting innings, superior quality shone through with two of their batsmen Mr Blackwell (Australian) and Mr Jenner (MCC young cricketer and on the books at Sussex) making 89 not out and 67 not out respectively.

Whilst a defeat of 9 wickets is far from an ideal result, my feeling is that we were competitive throughout and definitively did not fold-over easily or too quickly, with only 7 over left in the days play when the game was eventually won.