A day for the openers as the Gents triumph

Despite the grave warnings issued by BBC Weather the day before, all parties were pleased that this year’s House Match could be played without a drop of precipitation interrupting proceedings, albeit with just as much time spent in The Red Lion as on the pitch. The Gentlemen won the toss and elected to field, anticipating that a sticky Betchworth wicket and sodden Betchworth outfield would dry up over the course of the day. What they did not anticipate was having to deal with a brutal C. Leech in form.

Rydon sr and jr took the new ball and bowled with their usual skill and accuracy, the father hitting his trademark line and length in the corridor of uncertainty while the son (rather miraculously) extracted some zip and nip from a wicket that did not look like offering much to the seamers. Hobbs fell early, undone by R. Rydon’s classic straight one (no swing, no seam, pitched on middle, hit middle). W. Rydon replaced his nephew from the bottom end and delighted the crowd with his guileful off breaks, eventually taking the wicket of Bowden. Harcourt put up some resistance but fell to O. Parvin’s quick, Michael Yardy-esque off-spin. A large and leisurely lunch at The Red Lion followed, with so much food and hydration on offer that one might have been forgiven for momentarily forgetting that more cricket was to be played.

Bellies full, the players returned to the field and in a masterful bowling change, C. Leefe was brought into the attack to bowl to the incoming batsman: his father. The car journey home could not have been pleasant as father top edged a long-hop from his son to the eager hands of W. Rydon at mid-wicket, without troubling the scorers. A. Marsh and Moroz put up some good resistance, but both fell to Okines – that canny operator – who bowled with fluency, ease, and grace. But while wickets fell around him, C. Leech was unperturbed. He despatched the ball to the boundary (and over it) regularly, with some exceptionally clean striking and a Dhoni-esque sense of calm, and made a well deserved century to take the Players to 210 (declared).

Tea followed, and would have lasted longer were it not for the very helpful chivvying of R Rydon, reminding all that one full innings was still yet to come. The innings of the Gentleman followed a very similar pattern to that of the Players. Wickets fell early to some good seam bowling from Wedge-Bull, ably assisted by Starkey at the other end.

The spin twins of S. Leefe and A. Marsh were a delight to watch, dismissing a good chunk of the Gentlemen’s middle order. But just as Leech did for the Players, J. Marsh did not allow the fall of wickets around him to stop him playing with his characteristic poise. He amassed runs calmy and elegantly, ensuring that the Gentlemen were always up with the rate. J. Milne entered the fray and looked in terrific form, driving sweetly his first three deliveries with impeccable timing, but sadly dragged his back foot out of the crease in his eagerness to take the attack to S. Leefe’s bowling. However, just when things were looking uncertain for the Gentlemen, R. Rydon took to the crease and steadied the ship. J Marsh finished the chase off in style with a six, and an excellent unbeaten century.

Innings of the Players

1. C. Leech                                                                                       126*
2. R. Hobbs (c)                                                  b R. Rydon                  0
3. A. Bowden                                                  b W. Rydon                 21
4. J Harcourt+                                                 c&b Parvin                  11
5. S. Leefe                   ct W. Rydon                b S. Leefe                     0
6. A. Marsh                 ct. J Milne                   b Okines                      19
7. I Moroz                   st Kalidasan                 b Okines                      23
8. E. Wedge-Bull                                                                                 1*

Total: 210 for 6 (37 Overs)

Gentlemen Bowling
T. Rydon         7-1-33-0
R. Rydon         6-0-29-1
W. Rydon        5-0-27-1
J. Marsh           4-0-28-0
O. Parvin         5-0-28-1
C. Leefe          1-0-7-1
W. Okines       7-0-45-2
J. Milne           2-0-13-0

Innings of the Gentlemen

1. J. Marsh                                                                                      125*
2. E. Kalidasan (c)+                            b Wedge-Bull                          8
3. C. Leefe                  ct. A March      b Wedge-Bull                          5
4. O. Parvin                 ct Wedge-Bull b S. Leefe                                17
5. J Milne                    st Harcourt      b. S Leefe                                2
6. T. Rydon                                          b. A. Marsh                           14
7. R. Rydon                                                                                       28*

Total: 216-5 (32 overs)

Players Bowling
E. Wedge-Bull             6-0-45-2
M. Starkey                   6-1-21-0
S. Leefe                       7-0-41-2
A. Marsh                     6-0-41-1
A. Bowden                  4-0-26-0
I. Moroz                      2-0-24-0
R. Hobbs                     1-0-8-0

The Gentleman win by five wickets

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