Headley- 164-9 (Vaughan-Davies 49)
President’s XI- 92 all out (M.Pickering 3-11)
By 72 runs
After another torrential summer downpour (Tot Hill might soon become some sort of Noah’s ark for the surrounding region) Headley CC was looking surprisingly shipshape when the President’s Day party began to show up at 12:30. It subsequently surprised no-one to hear that this was down to the exceptional efforts of the Pickard family, who combined with the groundsman John Vaughan Davies had been up at the ground since 8am mopping up standing water across several parts of the outfield. Ed Pickard, captain of the President’s XI, had made few friends in the village after accidentally throwing a bucket of water over a passing cyclist, but this was reluctantly accepted by a stony faced Pickard as the price to pay to get the game on.
Pre-match- the pavilion was abuzz with the news that ex Headley captain Phil Chapman had been traded to the President’s XI as part of a complicated transfer deal that involved Ian Hopton making his debut for the Headley side. Chapman was once such a colossus of village cricket that merely his name was enough to strike fear into visiting wandering sides. However, the delight of the President’s XI in securing his signature might have been tempered with the knowledge that Chapman now plays infrequently and was currently averaging 0.5 for the 2012 season.
After another magnificent lunch and a call to arms from the President for volunteers for the Olympic Cycle races on July 28th and 29th- the game was agreed as 25 overs per side, and an arranged toss saw Headley bat first on a damp pitch that despite looking fairly lethal played surprisingly well all day and offered only the occasional shooter or lifter.
Headley duly set a target of 164-9 thanks mainly to a swashbuckling innings of 49 from John Vaughan-Davies, who when not called up by Headley has to make do with captaining the Ashtead 1st XI. The left-handed Vaughan Davies hit some big shots, with a leg side pick up over the pavilion perhaps the pick of them, and was well supported by mid 20’s cameos from Josh Pickering, Ian Hopton and Barney Hesketh. In the field, Ed Pickard took three good catches, two from the bowling of his son Jack Pickard and one to give Chapman a debut President’s XI wicket. Chapman had initially been expensive, serving up half volleys to Vaughan Davies and Josh Pickering, but recovered well. The ever impressive slow-left-arm of Ali Hooper prevented Headley from pushing on in the final overs and he took three late wickets.
After tea, the President’s XI set out to chase this down but were initially restricted by accurate spells from Alan Clarke and Grant Waller, who were in their element on a slow pitch that required the batsmen to make all the running. The ever-classy Waller in particular impressed and he had the dangerous duo of Ali Hooper and Pete Russell out cheaply to reduce the President’s men to 10-2 after 3 overs. The hard hitting Charlie Pickard emerged at No.3 and was soon looking dangerous, although the required rate was continuing to climb all the time as Headley’s bowling and fielding was unusually tight, with Ian Hopton bowling some good off-breaks in the middle overs. Having hit some big shots, Pickard slog swept Hopton straight to James Midmer at deep square leg to leave the score 40-3. The President’s XI continued to go for their shots but it was never easy on a wearing pitch and some good Headley bowling continued to chip away, with Hopton taking the further key wicket of Chapman, and Mitch Pickering and Andy Pickering taking the final five wickets with some accurate slow bowling.
The game as always was a secondary factor to a social occasion that is always the highlight of the Headley season. Catching up with old friends is always the main aim of Sunday cricket, and thanks must go to the President and his wife for as always laying on a splendid occasion that is a superb advert for the values of club