There have been so many wonderful memories since I started playing cricket in 1999
DISCO DOUBLE VISION
I was keen to watch my twin Neil play at the Sportsfield in the late nineties
LA were batting and only Stu S would have known Neil had an identical twin
As I peered around the pavilion, Disco spotted me and as shouted out “Hey Man, whatcha doing?! Get your whites on, you’re next in to bat!” Despite trying to explain I wasn’t Neil, Disco really wasn’t having any of it! After a while, all became clear as Neil came in to view.... Phew...
Neil was Sunday skipper for a local touring Sunday team - West Sussex Wanderers. He was short for a game in 1999 and I agreed to make my debut, at East Dean.
I was introduced to the Staight boys for the first time, and then made my way into the changing room
Old Boys Dennis and Brian began to tell me where they wanted to bat and their preferred fielding positions for the day etc etc. I tried to convince them I was Paul not Neil, but again they couldn’t comprehend and kept on giving me their instructions. Eventually Neil came into the room and their dumbfounded faces were a picture
MELONS FOR COLIN
We had a lovely LA Sunday trip to Lurgashall
Colin O-R went AWOL, but he was simply enjoying a lovely pub lunch. He had to depart before dessert, so we heard a rather buxom bar lady shout out “Strawberries for Colin!”
As time progresses, the fruit has changed to melons, as it seems more appropriate!
Matt Staight hit a rapid flurry of sixes, but we were then skittled and had to settle for a beer match afterwards due make the most of the afternoon
The game will also be remembered for my orange cap (I was known as hat man for a while afterwards) and Brian Sumners lurid yellow helmet
GAINY’S FIRST SLIP
In 2006, the Sat 3s were facing two crunch matches against B&H 4s in quick succession.
I needed a secret weapon and convinced Graham Gain to play for us on both occasions, as he seemed to relish the competitive challenge.
Away at the Neville Ground, we bowled first and Gainy wanted someone at first slip who could catch. Knowing this was a daunting prospect, I asked the troops and young Dazzler was up for it. I think it was the first delivery of the match that was schnicked off and flew to Dazzler. He juggled it for about 5 minutes, but eventually it stuck. TFFT I thought.... as we went on to win
LA legend Jim Brown was playing for the 4s and in consecutive weeks we played at Fernhurst Goring. The first match saw us in the field and Jim was keen to field in close. The opening bat middled one, and it hit Jim right between the eyes. He slumped to the ground, but recovered stoically and was ready to resume his position. His famous quote was that “the Arabs didn’t get him in the war, so don’t think that a cricket ball would!”
Little did he know, that the ball had pinged off his forehead to first slip, where Tony Brogan snaffled the catch. The batsmen was speechless!
A week later, Jimbo took a similar fielding position. This time, the batsmen drilled it sweetly and like an Exocet missile, it wiped out Jimbo’s undercarriage. He was in all sorts of trouble, but Lloyd got him on his haunches and Jim just asked for someone to apply the witch hazel to ease the pain!!
I’ve always enjoyed making the teas, and I get it done early doors so I can concentrate on the game.
One home game at Fernhurst, I opened up the tea hut and continued to hoik all the produce from the car. As I approached the hut, all I could see was a tail wagging in the kitchen. A large mutt had mounted the counter and had polished off two whole trays of cheese and onion baps! I accosted the owner, but he simply laughed and walked off. All afternoon, we had to be wary of melted cheese on the ground as the temperature rose.
I hate West Wittering
It stems from the first game I skippered on a Sunday for WSW
In fading light, I was umpiring and they had some rapido youngsters bowling at our Old Boy lower order. One of our players instructed me to demand the bowlers were taken off. Their skipper wasn’t too happy with this request, but obliged and the game was drawn.
Years later I was umpiring at an U16 festival match and the same skipper was involved with Horsham and was unhappy with some decisions. I recognised him straight away, especially due to his bad attitude
A few years later, we played West Wittering in a league match and despite it being a very soggy day, they were pressing for their 12th win from 12 matches. The same guy was in attendance and then proceeded to chastise his groundsman who said it was unplayable. We played for a few overs but then collectively LA decided to get changed and head to tea and force their arm for an abandonment, and we succeeded
A few years later, I encountered the same guy who was now playing for Stirlands. After three deliveries, I sent his middle stump cartwheeling (an exaggeration I must admit), but the send off I gave him, was most enjoyable.