Headley: 265-4 (35 overs) – (James Midmer 99*, Mitch Pickering 55)
Old Freemen: 95 all out (Henry Elburn 3 -2, Steve Barton 4 -5)
Following Coldharbour calling off at the 11th hour, Headley were fortunate to find old friends from up the road Old Freemen in a similar predicament and a fixture was hastily arranged.
Old Freemen’s won the toss and chose to give Headley first use of the fresh looking strip. Regular opener Lee Dickinson (29) and trainee opener Steve Miles (31) raced the score up to 50-0 with relatively little trouble, before the 3rd wicket partnership of Mitch Pickering (55) and James Midmer (99*) upped the ante considerably, with Pickering in particular in brutal form despatching several huge maximums into the surrounding National Trust environs. With the score racing past 100-2, Midmer was more calculating and sensing a big score was available went about his business with a full range of pulls and cuts. Pickering’s onslaught continued with the ball now disappearing at frequent intervals into areas of the Heath that had hitherto been unexplored by human kind, one disturbing the middle branches of the Oak Tree that thankfully guards the downhill stretch of the B2033. He eventually succumbed for 55 to a slow straight one that would have either been despatched towards Walton on the Hill or bowled him; it was the latter unfortunately for him. At 180-3 Headley had almost 10 of the allotted 35 overs still remaining, allowing debutant Steve Barton (35), urged on by his sons, to play some aggressive shots of his own in partnership with Midmer, who reached 98 before finding only a single off the penultimate ball of the innings to finish 99*. Headley went into tea fairly confident that 265 would be defendable.
Tea saw another debutant in the form of a blueberry and vanilla cake which went down very well and partially caused a slightly longer tea interval than normal.
Headley’s regular opening pair had an average age of 47 but it was 14 year old Henry Elburn’s sharp pace that got Headley off to a flyer with 2 important early wickets, including strong bat and occasional Headley guest Ben O’Connor. First change bowlers Andy Pickering and Neil Sunderland kept the wickets coming with their left handed slow stuff, with Sunderland assisted with two brilliant catches in the deep by Alan Clarke, the second of which required moving towards the ball and then bending forwards! Two consummate catches that cost the local bookies a tidy sum! But for a number of dropped catches by Headley’s other slow left arm bowler the game could have been finished earlier, but ultimately it was left to debutant Steve Barton to show his prowess with ball in hand picking up 4 tidy wickets with his accurate off spin. Some beers in the sun with friendly opposition followed and Headley now move on to the challenges set by the President and his coterie of quality players.