Killerton House OB V Broadclyst Cricket Club
Sunday June 29th 2014
It was expected that team captains at Killerton complete and post a match report on the notice board in the Killerton hallway. I thought I’d better respect the tradition!
They came from all corners of the UK and beyond to answer the Killerton call to take up a challenge from Broadclyst Cricket Club. The challenge was circulated and team organisers Hatton and Thomas waited for the flood of eager responses to roll in. They were not to be disappointed and soon a ‘squad’ was assembled to take on the might of Broadclyst CC – a formidable, unbeaten force who had become the custodians of the Killerton ground after the House was abandoned by the University in 1978.
On a cloudless Sunday afternoon the gridlocked lanes around Killerton teemed with expectant spectators making their way towards the KEB (Killerton Estate Bowl). Many ticketless fans had travelled in the hope of witnessing the first Killerton CC fixture for almost 40 years.
It turned out to be a long afternoon for an aging Killerton team. Losing the toss proved to be costly. Broadclyst decided to bat and with temperatures soaring Killerton took to the field.
Sexagenarians Lewis (S) and Greenalgh opened the bowling. With Lewis deciding to come off his long run (12m) an attacking field was set with five slips, two gullies, short leg and leg slip – for one ball. Lewis with late in-swing and Greenalgh with deceptive changes in pace were able to contain and frustrate the batsmen, both bowlers combining to take the first wicket when a rash stroke to a vicious short delivery from Lewis was safely caught by Greenalgh. The stranglehold continued until both bowlers began to tire under the heat of the blazing sun. Gradually the Broadclyst batsmen started to grow in confidence and began peppering the boundary with a range of swipes, hoycks and stroke-play unknown to the MCC coaching manual. The opening bowlers were replaced by the medium pace of Pinner and Morgan. Again both bowlers in their opening overs were able to restrict the flow of runs and take important wickets at crucial times before again showing signs of weariness allowing the Broadclyst middle order to take advantage of the situation.
Throughout the Broadclyst innings the fielding was nothing short of heroic with the Killerton fielders resembling some of the larger feline species as they prowled the boundary edge. Halford patrolling the deep cover area saved countless runs with energetic kitten like scampering in the deep and Lewis (R) was cool, calm and unflustered protecting the cover region. Wicketkeeper Godwin behind the stumps looked good moving up and down and Page in the slips was excellent company. Rees built like a whippet moved languorously at deep mid-wicket and showed uncanny footballing skills to protect delicate hands. Highlight of the fielding was Griffiths swooping eagle like from long on and launching himself like a missile to prevent a boundary.
The Broadclyst innings ended when the prodigious Griffiths turned an off break alarmingly to bowl a disbelieving Broadclyst batsman. Score 178-7
And so to tea. And a wonderful tea was enjoyed by all.
Not since 1976 had two Killertonians walked out to open the batting – and so the honour fell to Griffiths and Halford to get the innings off to the flying start. Griffiths who had been banned from using a controversial new bat from his sponsors 3Bs (Big Bertha Bats) seemed to have been affected by the ECB decision and struggled to get the ball off the square or rotate the strike. Halford his opening partner was a helpless spectator as first Griffiths, then the stylish left-hander Page found runs drying up in the face of nagging Broadclyst bowling who, taking pace off the ball, strangled the Killerton innings. After a slow start wickets began to fall at regular intervals as the Killerton batsmen struggled with the alien conditions. With black, angry clouds gathering the teams were twice forced off the pitch. Unfortunately the KEB ground-staff failed to cover the wicket during the stoppages which turned the wicket into a sticky-dog making stroke play almost impossible. Pinner and Lewis (R) perished driving extravagantly at wide deliveries. Rees and Godwin fell in quick succession and the innings was reduced to tatters.
With the light fading there was an obvious case for the batsmen to come off but Umpire Daswani – a controversial figure throughout the Killerton innings – refused the request. Halford one of Daswani’s victims was left shaking his head in disbelief at a decision best described as scandalous with mutterings amongst the knowledgeable spectators suggesting links to betting syndicates in the Far East.
With the total at 30 for 7 all-rounder Morgan was joined by Davies to try and rebuild the innings. Morgan - better known for his abilities with larger balls - played sensibly, with a resolute defence and punishing anything short with a series of powerful pulls to the boundary. Davies kept him company, and together they moved the score on to 76 -7 at the close. A losing/draw?
The Killerton XI were privileged to once more represent the house in a sporting fixture and would like to extend their gratitude and thanks to Hatton and Thomas the organisers and all the supporters who offered encouragement, hope, sensitive counselling and advice throughout the day. Thanks all!