Willow Herbs v Epping Cricket Club Sunday Gentlemen's XI on Sun 20 Jul 2008 at 2pm
Match was Drawn BOOOOOO

Match report On a sunny and windy day the Gents XI went on a journey to Blackmore to play a very interestingly named Willow Herbs XI.

Epping got to bat first on what looked like a very good pitch and with the batting line up the Gents had Epping were in confident mood. Sending out the two Dans, Sly and Taylor, to open the innings Hancock, number 3, and Barrett, number 4, also put there pads on in case of a very traditional Epping collapse. Dan Sly started off in steady mood making sure to play the ball on merit but ensuring he put the bad balls away. If I am honest it was not really a steady innings by Sly, more like a punishing quality innings, but compared to Dan ‘Tonker’ Taylor, who was at the other end, Sly was Epping’s answer to Geoffrey Boycott. This was because Taylor was absolutely destroying the Herbs bowling and dispatching the ball to all parts of the boundary, well more like a certain area on the midwicket boundary. The Herbs did not realise the linking that Taylor was having for this area and just allowed him to free his arms and hit big, and that he did almost every ball. Taylor did allow the Herbs the chance to take his wicket but their catching was not going well. Taylor made a very easy and quick half century but he was not done there and with the assistance of the graceful Sly, who himself had moved almost unnoticed to his half century, pushed the score on to a formidable total. Sly eventually fell for a wonderful 74 after being in no trouble at all throughout his innings. He had been the perfect foil for Taylor and their partnership of over 200 must be a record for the Gents, although don’t quote me on that. Taylor continued his destruction and reached his century, maybe his first for the Club, with meaty blows galore. It is rumoured that Taylor did ask the Herbs wicketkeeper who, out of the team, he thought could catch. The keeper replied the guy at deep mid on and Taylor found him with pin point accuracy that is not normally associated with his brutal style. Unfortunately the Herbs player could not fulfil the faith the Keeper had in him and shelled what was really a very easy chance. This was much to the annoyance of crowd that were becoming more and more hostile towards Taylor as they were getting bored with same old shot and the same old outcome, although there was some interest to see if it was 4 or 6 runs. The crowed that was getting restless was actually the rest of the Epping team and their supports who were barracking Taylor at every opportunity. With the umpire, John ‘Alzheimer’ Newman, also getting bored Taylor was given one over to get 16 runs to reach 150 otherwise he would have to retire. Unfortunately he only managed to reach 147 and was sent off the pitch like a naughty school boy to a rousing cheer form his team mates. Young colts Andrew ‘Sly-Woods-Brades’ Hendley and Brad Sheridan were then given the opportunity to bat but unfortunately the Herbs bowlers saw some cheap wickets to be had and both her caught without scoring. The declaration came form Mr Newman and the Gents had amassed a massive 248 – 4 off about 35 overs. A declaration had been thought about earlier when the team had reached 200 but when we looked at our watches it was only 4pm and we had only had about 30 overs. The Herbs team were very demoralised and some of them did not think that this was the sort of cricket that should have been played on a Sunday and we had got in some ringers!!!!

After tea had been taken Epping fund out that Hancock was unable to take the field due to a back problem he had when he too evasive action from a very hostile couple of short pitched deliveries. This meant Epping were down to 10 but were still full of confidence. Sheridan and Davis opened the bowling with Sheridan finding good movement and good control but Davis took a while to find his line and length. When Davis did find his length he kept the Herbs openers quiet. Sheridan was very unlucky not to pick up a couple of wickets but the Herbs openers where not even trying to go for the runs but were rather trying to prove a point by batting out for the draw right from the start. The introduction of Mat ‘Wiggle’ Barrett changed the mood of the game as he had the batsmen dancing around with his extra pace and bounce but it was not until the introduction of Epping’s answer to Darren Pattinson that the breakthrough came. Alex Merritt, not known for his bowling, trundled in at the opposite end and immediately found a great line and length. He caused the batsman trouble with his movement and got his reward with the wicket of Madison for a stubborn 31. Jones, the other Herbs opener and Skipper, was starting to show that he was an accomplished batsman with some good drives and left the Gents wondering why he had not tried to score some runs from the off. This was also the case for the Herbs No.3, Harris, who decided to take a leaf out of ‘Tonker’ Taylor’s book and was punishing balls, good and bad, to the max. Sanger replaced Merritt and immediately had the Herbs Skipper caught by Merritt for 44. Smith had replaced Barrett and was throwing up some tempting balls that Harris was happy to put back over his head with amazing ease. Hendley replaced Sanger and the Herbs batsmen did not treat him with any respect and the Gents team were wondering why this assault had not happened earlier as the Herbs had now woken up and thought about winning the game. Sanger returned to replace Hendley and Barrett came on at the other end. With the game back on there was a new intensity in the game and Barrett was very fired up and got his rewards with 3 wickets, one being the prize wicket of Harris for a good 74. With Harris gone the Herbs smell of victory had disappeared and Epping new the game would end in a draw. Herbs finished on 215 – 5, a much better score than their gloomy attitude expected at tea. The Herbs had in fact had 49 overs to get 249 and if they had pushed from the start they may well have been able to get over the victory line. Barrett was the pick of the Epping bowlers with 3 - 40 but Merritt, 1- 28, supported him well on a rare outing as a bowler. Brad Sheridan also should be mentioned as he had bowled his heart out, without success, at the start of the innings against batsmen who’s priority was to secure their wicket. Although it was mentioned briefly, you should be reminded that the Epping lads had fielded with just 10 men which is something that was very much forgotten, even by the fielders who made up for the lost man with ease.

Barrett had started the fielding off with a comment that Alex Merritt and Dan Taylor were now looking very similar. This did not impress either Merritt or Taylor at all, Merritt thinking that his slighter figure was a give away. Unfortunately during the Gents fielding the batsman played a ball out to the cover boundary and the fielder gave chance. Sanger was heard to praise Taylor for his athletic fielding only to realise that Taylor was indeed standing about 5 yards from him!!!! Merritt was again unimpressed. To add insult to injury when the game was over and the teams were doing the polite ‘good game’ hand-shaking, Merritt was congratulated on his wonderful batting, much to his own disgust since he did not even get near a bat all day!!!

Epping Cricket Club Sunday Gentlemen's XI Batting
Player Name RunsMB4s6sSRCtStRo
for 4 wickets

(0.0 overs)
Dan Sly Caught  74
Dan Taylor Retired Not Out  147
Ian Hancock Not Out  19
Andrew Hendley Caught  0
Brad Sheridan Caught  0
Mark Smith  
Matthew Barrett  
Alex Merritt   1
John Sanger  
Tom Davies  
John Newman MBE   1

Willow Herbs Bowling

Player nameOversMaidensRunsWicketsAverageEconomy
No records to display.

Willow Herbs Batting
Player name RMB4s6sSR
for 5 wickets
215 (0.0 overs)
M.Jones Caught  44
S.Madison Bowled  31
I.Harris Bowled  74
I.Douglas Caught  26
B.Aldows Not Out  10
J.Walsh Bowled  0
A.Bramwell Not Out  0

Epping Cricket Club Sunday Gentlemen's XI Bowling

Player NameOversMaidensRunsWicketsAverageEconomy
Brad Sheridan9.003700.004.11
Tom Davies8.032200.002.75
Matthew Barrett12.0140313.333.33
Alex Merritt8.0128128.003.50
Mark Smith4.003400.008.50
John Sanger6.0128128.004.67
Andrew Hendley2.002200.0011.00