Woodbury

To be honest, it was with some trepidation that I made the journey to Woodbury on Sunday afternoon. They are a great bunch of lads and give one of the warmest welcomes around, and the pitch lies in just the right place to stare back towards Haldon hill – a wonderful setting. The beer is at just the right temperature and the tea is good.

However they are a very good side and I do wonder what tribulations have brought them to the brink of relegation this season. We did rather well against them last year with Dion, Chris and Si all batting well, but I always got the sense we were swimming against the tide then rather than getting into a strong position. And the fact that we only took two wickets tells its own story. We were comprehensively beaten in 2010 – it’s just that not many of us realised it at the time. Partly because we batted first, and that tends to limit the pain.

This year we fielded first.

Jarmin loves batting against us. He scored 63 off 38 last year and this year retired on 51. Jarvis, who came in late last year and was unbeaten, also retired on 52. Chris bowled exceptionally as ever in that opening spell – his two maidens in the opening spell were remarkable given the carnage at the other end – and was unlucky on a couple of occasions, but quickly there was a sense of ‘let them retire at 50’ as we tried to limit and share the damage. Once they did Chris got one to seam back in to hit the top of middle stump, and Jon found his range to have a curious lbw against Plowman upheld, but Woodbury were already in the driving seat.

After drink we sparked a collapse in the Woodbury middle order, adn this is something of a tradition in these parts if the barman is to be believed. Si took a couple of overs to find his line but when he did he was as tight as ever, and as we rotated bowlers at the other end Kev, Chris and Dion all got wickets. Special mention must also be made for Karl, who bowled three overs to a field set for a tactic we weren’t used to and were still tweaking. His figures for the season definitely ‘took one for the team’. Woodbury finished on 232 for 9, and we had a lot of batting to do.