MATCH REPORTS FOR 2015




SUNDAY 27th SEPT -v- TATSFIELD - Lost by 72 runs

On a lovely sunny day Tatsfield batted first and despite a fine bowling spell by Dave "Donut" Hollands, of 8 overs for only 4 runs, reached a respectful total of 195.

Downe slowly built up a score of 83 before Matt Warne was out and then wickets fell steadily whilst the scoring rate required increased. Downe were eventually all out well short of the total required.
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SUNDAY 20th SEPT -v- EAST HAM CORINTHIANS - Won by 8 wickets

In this year's penultimate match the reins had once again been handed to Trub, as skipper valiantly stood down as 12th man!
Whilst usual practice is to bat first Trub had been studying the wicket and over head conditions and elected to bowl, which threw the team into confusion as they were beginning to settle down for an early nap, having expected a 1/2 hour session of the "Snail brothers". Quickly kit was adorned and the teams standard rigorous warm up was dispensed.
Sweet's first over began with a wicket, to the catch of the season by Josh at mid off. The batsmen had driven the ball and Josh leaping high managed to parry the ball. As both fell to the ground an outstretched hand caught the ball between two fingers merely inches from the floor. Josh, bowling this time, then took another with Spindles for once taking a clean catch at slip.
The impeccable standards were not maintained. Sweet and Doughnut tied up an end with 16 overs going for only around 30. Catches were going down, that is when the fielders were awake. With the score being kept under control, the choice of fifth bowler was crucial. Trub took the controversial decision of opting first with Spindles and then Nev and Rob.

It is often said that the scoreboard never lies, but as we all know that's rubbish. Spindles, despite bowling some utter garbage managed to take 3 for 4, the first of which was so embarrassing that no one could bring themselves to celebrate or congratulate him. Somehow the batsmen had pulled a slow, short ball, way down leg onto his stumps! Nev having seen the way to take wickets tried to out do him with a right mixture that was on a par with the famous Wickham Park over. Again the batsmen was at a loss as how to deal with such variety and another wicket was taken!
A total of 137 was made which was helped by the late Downe generosity.

Sadly the Snail brothers were still in tow. The oppo almost had the perfect start however as Spindles was dropped on one. Poor JD was then caught off a blinder of a catch, grasped in two fingers at silly mid off. The rest of the team now started to pay attention with the arrival of Rob but clearly they shouldn't have bothered. The usual swashbuckling approach had disappeared to such an extent that Spindles was looking aggressive. Time was literally standing still as the game drifted on and some elected for an early shower. Eventually Rob fell in the 20's having faced 53 dot balls!!
The bowling was now put into true perspective as Trub hit 4's and 6's and at last the game progressed. Spindles was clearly now thinking of end of season awards and was offering a straight bat to everything desperate for some red ink. Luckily Trub was not of the same mind and the game was quickly won with around ten overs to spare.

A very sociable team who filled in this fixture at the last minute. The result does not reflect how well they played (ED.)
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SUNDAY 6th SEPT -v- NORWOOD - Won by 11 runs

El Mago return inspires Downe !!

Once again August was not a month to remember for Downe and in particular the Hobbs household. As is now customary Downe once again struggled for form, shorn of their talisman ‘El Mago’ who was once again taking part in the Catalonian beach cricket festival. Sadly due to some minor equipment issues, after the junior team member failed to pack bat, stumps and ball, the event was cancelled - however as holders the trophy was retained. It appears that skipper has now recognised the futility of games in August without El Mago, and has started to leave blank fixtures and to even calling games off.

Glory was also not to be had for Downe taking part in their first 20-20 festival. Whilst not being present you only have to view the score card to see why. In a likely cricketing first Downe were beaten having set a total in which they only lost one wicket, which does not suggest the cavalier approach required !
To compound skippers woes he also had the pleasure of captaining a team full of grinning palace fans who would be missing no opportunity to remind him of recent results !

This week saw a change in opposition but sadly not the batting order as the Snail Brothers once again opened up on a rather damp track. Whilst runs trickled these were mainly in the form of extras while on the odd occasion bat hit ball this merely resulted in a dropped catch. The first wicket was not long in coming and was one of the strangest in Downe’s history when after tickling one down the leg side Spindles walked. Everyone was clearly stunned by this new approach, though clearly this ‘spirit of cricket’ approach did not extend to his ridiculous appeals or to buying jugs in the pub.
The phrase ‘sublime to the ridiculous’ would be a fair summary of what was then to occur and was a feature of the day and cricket in general. First up JD spooned a catch, closely followed by Doughnut who managed to hit a long hop from the spinner straight down the throat of the only boundary fielder, to become that bowlers first ever wicket. Trub then hit the same bowler for two monster sixes before Rob was bowled by a double bouncer leaving him in disbelief and both umpires openly laughing. Parf then departed having forgotten the golden rule for batting at Downe and going back to a short one. At this stage Trub was the only one troubling the scorer, but having hit further sixes he also departed this time caught in the covers.

As the drinks break came Downe’s total were 75 with 6 wickets down, which moments later became 7 after Nev was caught off a lifting delivery. Skipper by now was clearly panicking and looked a nervous wreck until he remembered El Mago was back. As his talisman strode to the crease the clouds literally parted and the sun shone bright. Having not batted for over six weeks one might expect a little ‘ring rust’ but fear not. First ball and the bowler lets fly, a vicious snorter of a delivery, that other mere mortals would have cowered away from, but not El Mago, who merely stood tall and pulled the ball for 6 and looked towards his skipper who now knew all was not lost. Having seen his 22 ball innings equalled in a single ball Spindles could be heard desperately questioning the umpires decision and requesting the 6 be changed to a 4!
Thus it was that the Bear and El Mago cut and drove with impunity leaving the oppo bemused as the scoreboard rattled. Sadly after a gallant partnership of 48 Bear was undone by a vicious yorker, and the same bowler quickly cleaned up Josh. Skipper as always showed his class as his first ball was caressed to the boundary and then carried his bat after El Mago dragged a wide one onto the stumps to leave the innings finished on 137.

Tea as always was an excellent affair this time provided by Bill and Kim.

On a tricky pitch with some erratic bounce the team were clearly confident on entering the field. Such confidence was soon rewarded as Josh picked up two wickets whilst El Mago dried up an end. The introduction of Parf proved inspired as he also struck early leaving the oppo quickly 4 down for not many picking up one with some genuine spin and another after the now customer juggling act at first slip ! The introduction of Doughnut had mixed results as an early wicket was taken, well caught by Josh, though some mighty blows also occurred including one which hit the top of the oak tree. A suicidal run out, in which both batsmen ended up holding hands was then followed by El Mago taking a skier on the boundary rope a late contender for catch of the season.
As the drinks break came there was a strange symmetry between the innings with the oppo on 71 for 7. The batsmen were now adopting a clear 6 or out policy and it was clear game would not go the distance. Josh had now changed ends, bowling up the hill, and first struggled with line as three sixes were dispatched over leg. Some clever cricket then occurred as seeing the batsman advance slightly the ball was dragged back allowing a sharp stumping chance taken by Trub. Next ball saw stumps shattered leaving him on a hat-trick for the third match running though sadly it was not taken.
At this stage around 17 was required at a run rate just over 1. Whilst some would have nudged and hurdled, not this team. Fear not though as Josh produced a cunning slower ball which bowled the batsmen on the full to give him his first Downe five wicket hall!
Clearly a superb bowling display by Josh whose speed of delivery was now matched in his speed to get changed and leave the ground before anyone could bundle him to the pub. In a moment of true irony Spindles was heard calling for his jug of beer as Josh’s car wheel spinned from the ground.

In case you hadn't guessed, this report is by "El Mago" (whatever that means) aka "Sweet". ED.
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SUNDAY 23rd AUGUST - TATSFIELD 20/20 CHARITY EVENT

Our first game was against Tatsfield and we batted first. After a slow start (only 47 in the first 10 overs) things speeded up somewhat and we eventually managed 130 after the 20 overs for the loss of only 1 wicket. Downe managed to steadily take Tatsfield wickets and the result rested on the last ball of the match which unfortunately went the way of Tatsfield.

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Our second match was against Chevening and was reduced to a 15 over game due to a heavy and prolonged downpour, earlier on, which threatened to cancel the whole event. Fortunately Tatsfield were able to cover the pitch and when the rain stopped the event was able to continue.
Downe, having now worked out that you have to try to score off every ball, raced to 156 for the loss of just 2 wickets and this proved far too many for Chevening who were all out for 58.

We even had the luxury of giving Bill and Danielle an over each and they would like to point out that they are now both top of the bowling averages. Spindles also asked me to give him a mention for his performance in both games but I prefer to point out that our wicket keeper for the second match, Darren Flint, making his debut appearance for Downe, took 2 catches and 3 stumpings.

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SUNDAY 9th AUGUST -v- NUXLEY....Won by 7 wickets

Following the sad events of last week, both on and off the field, all were in better spirits following the trashing of the Aussies. This weeks 'away' at Petts Wood had turned into a home v Nuxley as the original oppo struggled to field 11 no doubt due to the fearsome reputation of the openers Josh and Sweet.
As a new team Nuxley were an unknown quantity though clearly had not read the 'club rules' in the away dressing room which clearly indicate Downe will bat first. Disbelief soon spread among the home players when they realised skipper was not joking and we were indeed fielding under the hot August sun
The bowling struck a general theme throughout the innings of some snorters mixed with some dross. This theme started very early with Sweet producing some boomerang swing to bowl the opener round his legs. The innings was progressing but never looked to be getting out of hand. Another early wicket fell before a partnership was formed. This was eventually broken by some smart glove work by Trub, third time lucky after two similar appeals were turned down earlier. Wickets fell more regularly now and were spread around. The fielding for once was verging on impeccable, aided by the Bear being confined to drinking in the stands and being replaced by Danielle whose presence always manages to raise the bar. Rob was charging around shouting at himself and Parf unleashed a full length dive to palm one round the bar. Skipper pouched one and all was going well. With the skipper unsure of his fifth bowler 'club man' Spindles stepped forth literally putting his body on the line for the team, risking injury to bowl what can only be described as slow drivel. Apparently this was due to a muscle injury though one suspects it would improve before he was due to bat.

The innings progressed to 187 when the last ball of the innings saw what was probably the worst piece of fielding in the clubs long history.
"Spindles bowls, slow looper. Batsman licking his lips can't believe his luck, but only clips the ball to leg. Non striker charges down the track, only for Skipper to swoop and turn in one movement. Batsman , still wondering how he didn't hit a six, stands rooted. Single to the skipper are you mad. The non striker realised his error and turns heading for home. Skipper (still in one movement) unleashes a throw. Spindles stands by the stumps. All he has to do is collect, batsmen 5 metres short. Ball is fumbled and Spindles falls onto the stumps"

Following the laughter that followed everyone headed for tea, praying that Nev had been cooking again, but alas no.
Sadly Spindles had recovered from his muscle injury which to be frank confused all. Firstly he never moves quick enough to pull a muscle and secondly are there any on those legs !!!

Well it was the snail brothers striding forth, whilst everyone else settled down for a nap. Snooze time was sadly brought to a swift end when JD somehow played on for a duck. With form like that clearly a call up for the Aussies is only round the corner.
With a proper batsmen now at the crease things were progressing as Bob cut and drove with impunity. As the drinks break approached Rob sat on 47 with spins half his score. The following over I can only put down to sun stroke but somehow Spins managed to double his score in an over with 4 x 4's and a six. This was actually a proper six and not some dodgy top edge. The question was then rightly asked why he hadn't done this earlier having played three maidens from the same bowler !
Both quickly scored 50's before Rob was out. Frankly I can't remember how but most likely caught somewhere on the drive. Donut was the new bat and he took off where Rob left and the boundaries continued. Spins even hit a second six which hit the neighbours barn. Clearly he bats better when injured.
The rest of the team were now relaxing as it was clear that wickets would not be tumbling. Spindles looked on for a tun when in true 'Watson Style' he played round another straight one to be triggered by JD. Apparently this was again going down leg and he trudged off in disbelief for the second week running. Such was the imperious quality of Downe's batting that even the 'walking wicket' that is Trub scored a couple before carrying his bat.

Celebrations in the pub continued, especially among the Palace contingent, aided by Rob's first Downe jug. Spins however was MIA so we will no doubt have to remind him next match though I imagine the phrase 'only for tun's' will be muttered.
Mention must be made of Josh's last 2 balls of his last over. Both resulted in wickets so the 1st ball of his next over will be a "hat trick" ball. (Ed)

Dam - forgot about the ha trick. Also needs another line.
Apologies indeed to Josh who could create Downe history with potentially the clubs longest hatrick, which if taken will have taken 14 days to complete.

Another Downe record was possibly created when Donut scored an all run four. The original shot deserved a boundary but was brilliantly stopped and a single run. The return throw was a little wild resulting in a further two. This was then followed by another wild throw and a fourth was stolen!

Sadly there will be no proper match reports for a while as we now enter beach cricket season !

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SUNDAY 2nd AUGUST -v- CARLTON SPORTS....Lost by 107 runs

Last weeks euphoria has sadly turned to gloom as following an absolute pummelling, salt was rubbed in the wound as someone has stolen the pews !
There is something to be said in timing your arrival for 5pm. Firstly there is the benefit of missing an innings, normally Downe, and more importantly the cricketers have eaten and the guests can tuck in. I am not sure what happened whilst we were bowling but the oppo had clearly been tucking in all afternoon as the scoreboard showed 220 !
The gentleman of Downe were sporting rather different looks and clearly looked knackered having fielded in the sun all afternoon. Defibrillator's rather than bacon sarnies looked in order, especially poor old David who had somehow got through ten overs. The word on the street was that Marcus had been a revelation (clearly now a bowler), and that Spindles was appealing for everything. The figures all looked reasonable on what looked a good track with a quick outfield.
,br> Anyway enough of that and more on the teas which too be frank were superb, even if the greedy sods had already scoffed all the bacon. I am guessing we had lost the toss as skipper would never field in the sun, but if he knew what was coming for tea then you could have forgiven the decision as no one was looking to do any running after that spread

So kebab's in hand, cold tinny to celebrate the late birthday of club legend Brady, it was time to settle down on the now absent pews to watch some entertaining cricket as the snail brothers set about an imposing total!
Strangely watching them as a spectator is not quite as bad as when a player, and 28 came from the first ten, predominantly to Spindles. The bowling was not looking particularly threatening and things were progressing, albeit sedately, until the drinks break at 52 off 15. All was about to change as following a bowling change Spindles played all round his front pad (think Watson) and despite ignoring the umpire was sent packing. Had Downe invested in hawk eye technology I have no doubt the review would have been immediate (think Watson & Broad) and he would still have been sent packing with the skipper cursing a wasted review.
The new bowler had indeed found his mark as first JD and then Trub were bowled in quick succession. Things were more sedate from the other end though Rob edged one behind that even Hillsy managed to hear!
52 for 0 was soon 57 for 4 as (think England & Australia) a much vaunted top order was dismantled. Indeed the oppo captain, in what can only be judged as an act of mercy, took his strike bowler off with figures of 3 overs 3-9. The bowling was now a little more generous as I have never seen so many full tosses bowled. Indeed the spinner was persistently barracked by his own team as he evaded using the pitch. Sadly not many were dispatched until Martin sent a few to the boundary. The bowler was now chucking in long hops and Parf, clearly excited, played around two minutes early only to be bowled. Sadly wickets as opposed to runs were the only thing flowing as the score soon became 90-8. Included in this was poor Nev being running out after The Bear called a quick single. Now that is a collectors item for all Downe watchers, apparently he even said sorry as they crossed. This clearly is no way to treat the clubs greatest tea maker.
All that was left were some impeccable drives from skipper as he showed the others now to deal with a full toss!

Well after that things can surely only get better!

On Sunday evening in the pub after the match someone remarked on how good and enjoyable these match reports were. I was surprised,amazed and pleased that anyone actually reads them !!!!
I had to confess that they were not of my doing but that they were done each week by our very own ace batsman, bowler,reporter and good all round egg - Matt "Sweet" Walker.


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SUNDAY 19th JULY -v- BLUE STAR....Won by 58 runs

Having finally returned to winning ways this week brought an unknown quantity in the shape of Blue Star. Whilst no one could recall any previous matches usual service was at least resumed as Downe batted first.
Seasoned Downe watchers had come prepared with various forms amusement to kill time during the early overs whilst others had no such illusions and settled in for a nap as the openers walked to the middle.
I must admit that I am not too sure what happened in the middle as myself and Josh held the inaugural Downe speed sudoku championships which I am afraid was rather one sided. Coupled with live 'ashes footage' and some sun it was all rather pleasant and to be frank no one really cared what was going on in the middle.
For once the excitement on the pitch was matching that off it. This was largely due to the early demise of the snail brothers Spindles and JD. Not sure how they were both out but the oppo's euphoria of early wickets was soon dampened and the errors of their ways soon learnt as Donut dealt literally in boundaries. Surely they won't make that mistake next year.
Donut was in prime form and such was his dominance that a mere 6 runs out of 66 were not scored in boundaries. The oppo were now spreading the field but amusingly bringing it in for Marcus ! Oh dear. It may be a while before that is lived down by our once mighty batsman !! Whilst Donut flayed all, his colleagues chipped in, then out, around him with no one really making a telling contribution. A strange symmetry appeared to be occurring at Lords with both sides losing wickets simultaneously, though at least we were scoring runs.
Sadly Donut went lbw on 99, but unlike most batsmen given out there were no complaints here. Wickets continued to fall, though such was the total amassed a brief lull was of no concern. In fact the last wicket fell with a couple of overs to spare, skipper being the only man to hold his bat but over 200 had been scored.

Following an excellent spread the game resumed with the oppo progressing nicely against some useful bowling. The now customary 'ghost nick' occurred for the third week running which appears to be the only time Liam holds onto a ball! Whilst wickets were not falling the game never appeared to be in the balance and following a drinks break the opening stand was brought to a close.
As with Downe, and England, one brought two and then a few more. Such was the dominance now that Skipper could bring in his 'fifth' bowler safe that even Spindles couldn't blow it with his powder puff deliveries. In fact he even picked up a few lucky wickets!
Skipper has clearly been reading up on tactics this week as a new 2 over spell rotation was brought in for Sweet and Josh to keep the batsmen guessing. The fielding on the whole was not too shabby, except for old kipper hands behind the stumps who kept in true Downe tradition! The game was eventually won with a cushion of approx 50 though such was the slow over rate that the pub food was already on the table when we arrived !

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SUNDAY 12th JULY -v- BRASTED & SUNDRIDGE....Won by 5 wickets

Seven days on and the previous weeks events were still up for discussion with more controversy added when Bob helpfully pointed out we had bowled an over too many.

This weeks opponents were old friends from Brasted, Bear's Saturday colleagues. Bear as always had the look of a man who was ready for one thing....... bed !!

Skipper back in the helm strangely lost the toss and Downe were in the field. Both openers started well with Sweet amazed not to take one caught behind in his first over. Like last week the batsmen and umpire held firm. Josh picked up the first two wickets one to slip pouched by skipper, and one to Sweet at leg slip! Sweet then took the world's longest toilet break of 12 overs, though this was more designed to unleash Tom as sub fielder - though it's not a bad way to get through an innings.
Parf then began to clean up taking the next two and things were looking good. Even the Bear was in the thick of it, first catching the oppo captain and chief run scorer and then taking another after the ball popped up of Doughnuts chest, arm and chin. Not satisfied he then took two wickets the oppo batsmen not being able to resist themselves.
At the 30 over Mark the total was 90 for 7. The run rate did increase slightly with Spindles powder puff deliveries being spanked for a six to leave a total of 133.

Tea was a nice affair until Doughnut fresh from his stag do jinks gave Sweet the equivalent of the custard pie in the face as he was trying to eat a slice of cake with whipped cream!
I believe this assault may have resulted in concussion as my memory of the opening overs was of attacking shots and boundaries which clearly can't have been right. My condition clearly improved as things returned to normal with the batsmen grinding it out with a meager 55 coming off the first 20. JD then decided to retire, on 7, aware that 'we're on a road to nowhere'. Doughnut clearly frustrated with the previous fare hit out to be caught in the deep first ball. Spindles then went followed by Marcus to leave the innings teetering. Nev then unleashed his solid defence with Parf and Liam adding a few before both departed. Hillsy displayed his umpiring skills again, this time giving Nev out Lbw only for the oppo to call him back after an apparent blatant edge. Clearly he can't hear. Sweet had a brief cameo to ensure the winning position was not thrown away before Nev hit the winning runs and victory was ours!

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SUNDAY 5th JULY -v- CRUSADERS....Lost by 1 wicket

Following the dismal early season form experienced Downe observers looked on in trepidation as the team gradually arrived in various states of disarray. The previous day had seen the happy nuptials of Tom and his new bride Becky in what was a fabulous day. Some of the team were clearly suffering from over indulgence, the worst offenders being The Bear (excess drinking) and Danielle (sweets and lemonade!) Skipper was entertaining the Dutch and assorted family leaving the sinking ship in the hands of Marcus, what could go wrong.

Following a weeks sunshine an early morning downpour added a bit of zip to the pitch. Marcus won the toss and elected to bat on the basis we were not good at chasing. The new opening partnership of Spindles and Liam set off at the speed of a drunk snail, or indeed The Bear! The first 8 overs resulted in a paltry 8 runs with the sparse crowd beginning to chant for the return of JD.
Spindles soon departed gloving one down the leg to be taken smartly by the keeper. Strangely he walked and was later disappointed to hear the umpire wasn't sure what it had hit!
With the 'son of JD' gone the rate picked up a little before the day's first controversy. The Taylor household clearly shows no favours as Josh gave his father out twice in two balls. The first was caught of his pad, even though the ball was dropped. The second Lbw which from Liam's face was heading anywhere but the stumps. Josh later tried to justify his decision with a bit of coaching advice before admitting he can't see very well.
Bob continued in the vain of his debut hitting a series of boundaries before picking out the safe hands of spud. Marcus soon followed caught by the same fielder after the spinner found one to spit off a length. With the top order again failing all eyes focused on the middle order and especially The Bear. Having struggled to the middle it would appear his bat would be for support rather than any stroke play. Somehow he survived and gradually woke up. His mobility, already suspect, was further affected when he dived trying to make his ground injuring his ankle. He did now begin to find his range. Alas just as he was getting into full swing he too departed.
Parf and Nev were next and the score progressed though with around 6 overs left the total stood around 110. Parf provided a true comedy moment when having thought he had been caught began to walk off the pitch. Alas he had been dropped but his relief did not last long as he was then run out. Sweet provided some much needed impetus with Nev before the laters departure brought Zack to the crease. Sadly he departed without scoring to leave Josh to finish things off.

The target of 148 was considered rather light and around 40 below par. The Crusaders tend to be of the swash buckling type and the game was not expected to go the distance. Josh provided a great spell bowling out from the top and taking two good wickets. Sweet was generally tidy though the introduction of Parf with 2-19 helped keep the game interesting. At drinks the game was evenly poised at 70-5 off 20. In fact all the bowling was reasonably tidy as Marcus rotated his bowlers. Wickets gradually fell and both teams remained in the game. The fielding was also sharp with Zack sprightly in the field and Danielle taking a great catch off her brother

As the overs fell it became apparent that the captains sums were wrong and an over would have to be found from someone else. Bob was the chosen man and waited with trepidation. With four overs left 3 wickets remained and a run rate set around 4. Sweet given his first, and only over, down the hill found an extra 40mph to take one. Marcus then had another to leave the last pair. The next moment of controversy again centred on a Downe umpire however it was hearing this time that was questioned. Marcus and indeed everyone on the pitch heard a nick to Liam. With the batsmen cutting away from his body there seemed little doubt and indeed the other umpire was walking in to collect the stumps. The batsmen remained, as is his right, and Hillsy stood firm claiming not to have heard a thing! Bob's chance to regain the all rounder tag was now here with last weeks pace replaced by slow loopy stuff though I'm not sure he'd been practicing much. Marcus had the last over with 3 needed. The game was taken to the fourth ball before the winning run was hit.

Defeat was perhaps harder to take as victory had not really been expected but a great effort was put in by all.

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SUNDAY 28th JUNE -v- WAGGONERS....Lost by 48 runs

Following last weeks excitement all eagerly awaited this weeks fixture confident that the Downe juggernaut was finally moving. Under doctors orders skipper stood a side whilst Bill, still fuming, removed himself from selection. This meant the wheel was in the hands of young Trub which having seen him drive meant we could be in for a bumpy ride.
Making his debut was Rob, a recent addition to the village who in the true spirit of cricketers everywhere declared himself an all rounder!
The oppo were however two short and in the spirit of true generosity two players were loaned for the afternoon, Nev and young Tom Walker who therefore had the distinction of making his senior debut against his own team, not that it seemed to bother him much.
Trub lost the toss again and Downe were put in. The pitch was looking glorious with a fast short outfield. The boundaries this afternoon were rather large, having been set this week by the opening bowler as opposed to the batsmen. Arguably this may have had a bearing on the result, but more of that later.
The pitch was indeed playing nicely and both openers cut well in particularly off Josh using his extra pace. Sweet for once provided a very tidy spell that saw him bowl straight through. Despite a few close calls no chances emerged until a wonderful piece of fielding by Josh when a bullet throw lead to a run out. Rob was then given a run and soon lost the all rounder tag after his medium fast was reduced to a gentle loop however once Downe's rigorous net policy takes hold will surely come good. Wickets did at last begin to fall. Parf took a brace of lbw's in a tidy spell. Spindles actually bowled quite well taking 1 though appeared to go for quite a few more than I actually remember. Trub also bowled reasonably to complete the allotted overs.
Downe's fielding was actually not bad with the added youth and mobility in the team, helped by Zack's home debut and the return of club legend Liam. Mystery as to his lack of appearances seems to have been solved as it appears the Taylor household only owns one pair of boots meaning that only one can play at a time. This policy was finally sacrificed today though the team had to endure the constant changing of boots between them. Despite this Josh performed the rare feat of three run outs which I wager is a Downe first.
A rather healthy total of just over 200 was set

Confidence was clearly high and Trub showing his adventurous side produced a rather interesting, if not fluid, batting order. Spindles was this week joined by Liam at the top and a reasonable rate of around 4 was achieved during the opening period, until the most unlikely of dismissals saw Spindles stumped. This I might add was a genuine attacking shot, skipping from his crease, as opposed to falling out. Rob, now a batsmen, hit some crisp shots and looked in reasonable nick. Following Liam's demise he was joined by the Bear who made up the last of the new look top order.
Now in the acting profession it is often said that one should avoid working with animals and children. Now as far as batsmen are concerned a similar adage applies in that you don't get out to children and the fairer sex. The first of these was put to the test as a young lady for the oppo produced a wonderful spell in which she picked up two wickets and had a further four catches dropped off her bowling, two of which were identical shots from Rob to the same fielder, but she did eventually get her man. Now that she had dealt with the top order the second part of the equation was left to the middle order. The etiquette of 'making up the numbers' is that you stop a few balls play the odd good shot or bowl ok, not to produce career best figures. Young Tom, having turned up late in true Walker fashion, was clearly relishing this oppo lark, especially as you got your tea first. Many a 13 year old would be daunted at the site of bowling to Trub and Josh who had been promoted up the order, but not Tom. First to go was Trub who clearly had not bothered to check out the distance to the ropes and was caught on the boundary. Josh was then dispatched in the next over to bring Walker snr to the crease. Having told Donut that he would be staying at the other end to keep away from his son a single was strangely taken.
This family dual lasted only one ball as one went through the defences to take off stump. Next over then saw Donut hole out in the deep. Parf was then caught at square leg only for a "five for" to be denied by a no ball
Thus in four overs the middle order lay in tatters destroyed by Tom! The final throws of the game saw another unusual stat as JD then young Zack were both stumped which I would suggest is another Downe first.
The game was lost eventually by around 40 runs.

Star of the show was 13yr old Tom Walker (son of "SWEET") who played for the opposition and finished with bowling figures of 4 overs, 4 wickets for just 23 runs including the wicket of his father - CLEAN BOWLED.


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SUNDAY 21st JUNE -v- Tatsfield....Won by 9 runs

Following the calamitous early season form, which has not seen the side win since the opening week of the season, drastic measures were called for. Skipper clearly not happy with the resources available to him decided to bring back one of his big guns, who was selected contrary to medical advice. To say the team were buoyed by the news was an understatement as surely things would be ok now. The changing room was literally bouncing as the Mighty Bill strode through the door with that cheeky chappie smile. This week also saw the return of Donut, which meant everyone would have to be quick off the mark at tea time.
As the match was away skipper was unable to use his lucky coin but despite losing we were still batting. The oppo clearly had no doubts on what was a rather juicy looking pitch in which the ball was expected to do loads.
The first controversial decision of the day was a change in the batting order as JD was jettisoned down to number 5, apparently penance for last year, with skipper himself stepping up to the plate. The pitch did indeed do a bit as the first two deliveries leapt with edges flying short and wide of slip. It was clearly a pitch where you needed to cash in on the bad ball as sooner or later one would have your name on it. The openers chugged along in a fairly sedate fashion dealing either in fours or singles. The first to go was no surprise as a shaky looking Spindles was finally put out of his misery with a poorly executed defensive push seeing the ball roll back onto the stumps. More coaching clearly required! Next in was Donut who responded nicely to his pep talk and went big. Skipper then took a snorter to edge to a wide slip, Donut chased a very wide one slicing to third man, before Marcus chipped to mid on. Trub afterwards indicated he thought it had been a bump ball, which I admit there was a slight suspicion, however not with Hillsy who had the finger up double quick. This left the new look middle order of JD, Parf and Bear to save the innings. JD despite an early reprieve at point soon went, followed by Parf though Bear hit out to finish top scorer.

The key to limited overs cricket is about having key men coming in at the right time. Such it was that last weeks hero 'Sweet' came to the crease 6 down and ten overs left. Some mighty blows, and swishes, resulted as he gradually lost partners before the key man Bill arrived for the final three overs. Three overs of Bill is the equivalent of ten of Spindles or other mere mortals and the mood of the team again lifted knowing he was at the crease. First ball was a beamer from the left arm quick. No problem as he improvised a ramp shot only to be caught in the deep. Neither batsmen were concerned as it was clearly a blatant no ball, however neither had figured on the dithering umpires who looked longingly at each other like a pair of young lovers, before shrugging their shoulders and walking off! Bill desperately made all sorts of gestures calling for a review but this was in vain. Such it was that tea came 2 overs early and everyone ran to ensure a fair share of the spoils.

Having lost by ten wickets last year, clearly a marker needed to be set. The pitch still had life in it and both openers marked out their run ups. Strangely this was from the same end before Sweet was sent packing. To say there was a slight gradient is an understatement as had it featured on the Tour De France it would have been classified as a catagory 1 Climb! Josh didn't care as he bounded down the slope and picked up two wickets in the first over. Sweet however went for a few as he struggled up the slope though there was an improvement of sorts and the oppo were soon three down for not many, all being caught.
Alas Downe's exemplary fielding could not last. Sweet clearly miffed by the slope cut his run up to Parf proportions, ie two paces and immediately found an edge. After last weeks efforts Trub had been sacked behind the sticks. The edge hit Donut's chest coming at an awkward height but could not be clutched. There was to be none of last weeks heroics as strangely the specialist slip had been moved and skipper is not for diving. Another top edge then somehow looped over Donut and landed between him and our leader. Bill was by now amusing himself in the outfield with his own version of the Hokey Cokey, going in then out, before the ball bounced past him for four! A sequence of dives were then seen though all sadly were either over the ball or about a minute too late. Parf was particularly annoyed with his effort and was seen throwing his cap to the floor and kicking it in disgust.
As the drinks break emerged the oppo were still only 3 down needing approx 40 runs from the last 20 overs, which even JD and Spindles would have fancied.
The bowling changes were again rung with Josh making the key breakthrough and eventually taking his tally to 4 from his allotted overs. It was at this point that the day's most controversial decision was made as Spindles was given a run with the slope! Disgrace. Opens the batting, blahs in the slips and now gets the slope! Clearly he has some interesting photos of the skipper from that weekend away years back! Following Josh's breakthrough, Trub then took a blinder off Spindles who the batsmen had clearly decided to target, but then who wouldn't! Sweet came back, still up hill, and like a hot knife through butter picked up a brace. The first a caught and bowled after the batsmen literally smeared the ball back like an exocet missile. The ball was eventually held at the third attempt and there was much wringing of hands. Such it was that approx 12 were needed by the last wicket when a loose drive was expertly pouched by Trub at a widish slip, luckily no where near skipper !

A famous victory was thus achieved.

The team now euphoric could not wait for the next fixture, especially as Spindles has been promising all sorts for his tea, including bagels, vol-au-vents, home made cake and strawberries and cream!
I for one will be skipping lunch and praying we bowl first!!!!


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SUNDAY 14th JUNE -v- Cudham Wyse....Lost by 9 runs

Following what seemed like an eternity we at last had a game on. Poor weather and foreign exploits have somewhat burnt a hole in the fixture list this year.
This week also saw an early return fixture with Cudham being the opponents again. A little like a mini series without the excitement !
Whilst the skipper was travelling around South London in search of car keys and cricket kit the reigns were left in the hands of vice captain Trub.
For some strange reason, drying of pitch apparently, we chose to bowl. This is a rare occurrence and threw the team into confusion. A very tidy start was made in particular by 'Fraser' as the new ball moved about though wickets would not come. Spindles moving to first slip to cover for the absent skipper put down an absolute sitter. The first wicket eventually came in comical circumstances when Sweet endured an edge which Marcus dropped. Somehow the ball bounced to Spindles who took the catch to his delight and everyone's surprise.
To say lightening never strikes twice is clearly wrong as the exact same event happened again this time off Ben, leaving all in disbelief. With the overs running out Cudham start to throw the bat and the run rate increased. Wickets also fell with Parf and Ben being the main beneficiaries. Spindles took a third catch off his own bowling to one skied. There was no danger of any collisions as literally nobody bothered to move towards it. In fact most of the fielders moved away to leave Spindles to his fate. A third catch however failed to materialise into a jug which was poor form ! A total of 148 was finally set.

Tea was as always rather nice and special thanks goes to J'Aimee Catering' (Jess and Aimee) who produced four wonderful cakes! Sadly they were unable to be present but they did send their brothers instead to sample each one which they managed to do with ease.

Having recently watched approx 750 runs in a day clearly I was expecting more of the same as the Downe openers walked to the crease. Surely English cricket's new approach had rubbed off on all! Apparently not. I must admit that I didn't pay too much attention as I was on coaching duties with the youth team however all did not seem well. JD was caught off a one handed blinder and looked on in disbelief. Fraser soon went followed by Marcus who was bowled after shouldering arms. Bear and Spindles then seemed to have some sort of partnership before Bear departed. Spindles and Parf then seemed to get things moving in the right direction, Parf playing the shots whilst Spindles took anchor literally. Both however departed in the 30th over to identical shots to leave the innings teetering.
Spindles who scored 46 off 30 overs was clearly not being taken in by new England. With around 50 required off ten the game had clearly swung Cudhams direction. Sweet had a brief cameo smashing fours to all corners before one big hit too many saw timbers flying. A quick fire 22 off four overs left the team requiring 17 off four. Alas Josh quickly went the same way followed by Ben to leave Nev and Skipper requiring ten from the last which sadly proved too much.

Defeat was once again snatched from the arms of victory and the drought goes on!



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SUNDAY 24th MAY -v- Cudham Wyse....Draw

Moral Victory halts slump
Following the early season clearance of the trophy cabinet the gentleman of Downe took on near neighbours, Cudham, with a much altered line up. The team was sporting more than a touch of the Leigh’s as Ben resumed his Downe career and Jimbo made his debut, with Clive being welcomed from somewhere else which I have forgotten.
Downe is a club that has thrived on a tradition of ‘father son’ combinations over the years though some are now less frequent. The Hobbs, Taylors, Trevatts, Holdens and the mighty Parfetts have all graced the hallowed grounds but yesterday saw the beginning of a new dynasty as the Warnes were unleashed.

YOUNG ZACK WITH HIS DAD


Zack at the age of 10 took to the field and I might say looked rather smart. The excitement of playing cricket with his father soon dulled however, despite some early excitement as 2, yes 2 boundaries were taken in the first over. Spindles opened up with skipper who was clearly not taking doctors advice following his heart stopping operation on Monday. The doctor had said no strenuous activity though to be fair in 20 years of watching him play cricket that’s not a description I would have ever used and today was no different. Skipper was also hitting the boundaries before one was gloved to gulley bringing Clive to the crease.Clive clearly recruited on a like for like basis bearing more than a passing resemblance to JD, though clearly a younger and more agile version !
Whilst the innings progressed serenely Zack was finally being given some true coaching and cricketing nous from his g/f and the vice skipper Trub. Zack was clearly displaying wisdom beyond his years as the phrases ‘this is boring’ and 'get on with it’ were heard. Marcus mean while started coaching on the attacking shots his father had forgotten.
Spindles by now was actually progressing quite nicely and was starting to pepper the boundary though clearly no danger of a maximum. Clive’s similarities to JD eventually extended to dismissal type as he was run out by Spindles, which is a recurring theme for all his partners. With the game being ‘time’ the score was sitting around the 120 mark with half hour to go with par looking around 200 . Marcus took a single first ball before hitting the recalled opener for the innings first six and a succession of boundaries. The bowler had gone for more in 5 balls of Trub than in his nine previous overs. Trub went for a very quick 20'ish but had given the innings the momentum it required. Spindles was eventually out for 113 and there was still time for Parf to emulate his son with a mighty six. The last over also saw Zack walk to the crease and to score off his first ball with an angled push to third man and an eventual 2 not out.
The innings finished leaving a target of 199.

Throughout the tea interval the drizzle began however it was never sufficient to cause a halt in play. With a wet outfield the ball soon became soaked and clearly the option of swing would never occur. On a true batting track wickets were always going to be a struggle. A few play and misses occurred though neither the stumps or edge were found. The first chance went to gulley where alas our specialist was taking root and as usual there was only going to be one winner. Whilst the score increased the batsmen never quite went for it. Jimbo eventually took the first wicket with a miraculous catch by Spindles, as clearly the law of averages had to kick in at some point. Ben was now bowling and providing a nice line and length and was considered unlucky with some lbw’s and missed stumping. Another wicket did fall, though for the life of me I can’t recall how, as the game somewhat drifted to the inevitable conclusion and a ‘technical draw.’
The honour of the last over however went to Zack who had performed miracles in the field and showed his dad the proper use of a long barrier and the commitment in chasing balls in the field. Clearly son should be coaching father with regards to fielding skills. Despite no one telling him he was bowling on a track two yards longer than he was used to, a very tidy line and length was bowled. The Warne trait of appealing for everything has also clearly been passed on as an lbw shout went up but the mean umpire held firm. How he could turn down Zack's most sweet, pleading gaze is anyone’s guess but clearly a man with a heart of stone!!
A moral victory was surely claimed and the day belonged to the Warne’s !!
I am afraid I am unable to report on whether Spindles bought the first of the many jugs he owes, though clearly if not next week will be a cheap night all round !!

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SUNDAY 17th MAY -v- LEIGH....Lost by 5 wickets

Despite putting on a decent score of 192 for 7 in their 40 overs, with both Matt Warne and Marcus Parfett scoring half centuries Downe lost this annual game against Leigh for the Parfett Cup. Leigh getting the required runs for the loss of 5 wickets with 2 overs remaining.

DOWNE CAPTAIN, "JACK" HOBBS, RELUCTANTLY HANDS OVER THE PARFETT CUP TO THE
LEIGH CAPTAIN, IAN BISHOP


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SUNDAY 10th MAY -v- LOCKSBOTTOM....Lost by 5 wickets

This match is played annually between Downe and Locksbottom in memory of Gary Dohery who played for both teams until his early death in 1998.

BOTH TEAMS READY FOR ACTION

The sun was shining - but unfortunately not for Downe as they ended their innings on 156 for 9. Dave Hollands top scoring with 52, his second successive half century.
After tea Locksbottom reached the total required, fairly comfortably with the loss of only 5 wickets. Their top scorer being Dave Killpuck with an excellent 90 not out.

LOCKSBOTTOM CAPTAIN BEING PRESENTED WITH THE TROPHY


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SUNDAY 26 APRIL -v- CATFORD & CYPHERS....Won by 43 runs

You can always tell when a cricket season is due to start as the clouds roll in, the temperature drops and the drizzle starts. Under such conditions the gentleman of Downe once again reconvened all eager to see old friends and batting partners. Spindles was last to arrive barely visible in his Parker, pulled tightly round his face.

Skipper was clearly still using his lucky coin as once again the toss was won and Downe opted to bat first. Keen to set the season rolling off in style Spindles and JD were sent forth, and both quickly returned. Spindles to his trade mark spoon to leg and JD to his trade mark run out!
Trub and Doughnut then steadied the ship against some good bowling on a useful deck. Doughnut had the honour of the seasons first boundary shortly followed by Marcus with the first maximum. Just when things were beginning to look rather rosy wickets began to fall. The makeup of the team is cleary geared towards boundaries as opposed to running as The Bear, Parf and the newly acquired Dinky all struck a succession of 4'a and 6's to take the total over the 170 mark.

A very high bench mark was set with tea from Teresa and Skip - though what place lettuce has at a cricket tea I am not sure.

How Downe would bowl was anyone guess as the standard winter season nets policy had been adopted. The ball literally could be going anywhere. What followed has to go down as the best opening two overs as Josh picked up a brace in his first over, including a catch to the keeper, even more remarkable as it was The Bear. He even had the presence of mind to palm another edge away from the cowering first slip to prevent any injury! Dinky then followed with one of his own to leave the oppo in tatters. In fact all the bowling was remarkably tidy and wickets fell at regular intervals.
The pick of the bowlers were brothers Dinky and Doughnut who shared 6 between them. There was even time for a run out, Josh taking a direct hit from the covers. The game was fairly comfortable despite some hefty blows from one of the oppo youngsters, who was eventually starved of the strike, but hit an excellent 57.

Once again a successful start to the season. A cricketing first was also observed as the Downe team strangely declined all beer during their innings. Whether the team have become teetotal or succumbed to the cold can be judged next week when hopefully the temperature will have risen!

Report by Matt "Sweet" Walker
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