Was it only 14 years ago that the first House Match took place? A petrol crisis nearly put paid to that match, while this time round holidays, old age and injuries seemed to be the reason why we struggled to get two full teams. With Rob utilising his family connections to get six Rydons into his team and two last minute cry-offs , we assembled at a damp and overcast Betchworth for a prompt 11.00am start with ten a side.
So much for the prompt start. Rob won the toss and as he had the most players on parade (and because of the overcast conditions and green pitch) decided to bowl. A tight opening spell from Rob and Will Wingfield Digby kept James and Sujay under control. Pressure mounted and a quick single to Will Rydon was cut off as a diving stop and throw broke the stumps. Sujay was out by a country mile, but Chunky who was (not) in position thought otherwise. Apart from a plumb LBW against James (who was walking to the pavilion before he realised he had not been given), both Chunky and John Marsh umpired with great skill and sympathy. Anyway, the trundlers didn’t get any wickets and so spin was turned to with Simons Leefe and Woolfries. Leefe induced a catch to Will R (with the compliment later returned by Simon off Will) and Alex Rydon affected a sharp run out with a pick up and direct hit. Hobbo entered the fray and started to show his class with some lovely on drives reaching the boundary (a particularly hard task, with the long wet grass and upward slopes). Muktesh and Subir came and went and Jeremy joined Hobbo to take on assorted Rydons (Will and Henry) and John Bryant. Lunch came after thirty overs with the score on 99 for 5.
Now lunch is always an important reason to play all-day cricket and James was particularly keen for this one to take on some significance. With a feast set for at least 40, the 22 Buccaneers tried their best to make in-roads. After and hour and half for lunch with many partaking of port, play was resumed.
Rob turned to the only sober player on his team (his 11-year old nephew, George) to restart proceedings. Various other Rydons tried their arm and along with Will W-D watched as Hobbo and Jeremy, skilfully followed by Steve Brandes (Rhino), smack the ball to most parts of the ground. Another seventy runs off the last ten overs indicated who had won the battle of the lunch. (For the stato’s amongst you 170 for 6 was two runs less than the first innings last year)
And so to the Rydon Royals’ innings. With young Henry and Alex leading off proceedings, a steady base was established against a tight attack of Richard Manyon and Hobbo. Henry chanced his arm once too often and was stumped by Sujay off Rhino. As father passed son to bat with nephew, the skipper settled down to watching his family tear things apart. But it was not to be as Will played on. Simon Leefe entered the frame and with Alex proceeded to quietly tick off the runs. Youthful exuberance put paid to Alex as he came back for a second that Simon was not up for and so was run out. Will W-D tapped the ball around (playing much more easily when he replaced his cracked bat) but was stumped when trying to up the run rate. Rob joined Simon with ten overs to go and six an over required. The game was evenly balanced. Rob swung a couple of sixes to relieve the pressure and swing the pendulum to the Royals. But then it swung back to the Super Kings as Hobbo strangled Simon down the leg side. Young George walked out to the crease. A swing and a miss. Two overs left and eight runs needed.
Rob discussed with George the necessity of running twos. James discussed with his fielders the necessity of stopping twos. The Rydon running between the wickets was up to it as George scampered back, turning his whites brown as he employed the full dive. So to final over with two needed and George on strike. A confident hit to backward square leg and a scampered single enabled Rob to hit the next ball for four to win the match. Ed, who was next in, proudly clapped his son off the pitch and was heartily joined by mother, grandfather, grandmother, aunts, uncles and cousins.
The season was put to bed in the adjoining Red Lion and Rob received the Mynott Thimble, with a moustachioed Hack grumbling into to his beer that it wouldn’t have happened on his watch.
Innings of Stringer Super Kings
J Stringer run out 15
Sujay Chakravarti st A Rydon b Woolfries 17
P Hobson ct H Rydon b W Wingfield Digby 71
M Ghatak ct W Rydon b S Leefe 2
Subir Chakravarti b Bryant 1
J Milne ct S Leefe b W Rydon 26
S Brandes not out 23
1-38 (2), 2-40 (1), 3-49 (4), 4-59 (5), 5-117, 6-170 (3)
R Rydon 8-4-19-0
W Wingfield Digby 7-1-33-1
S Woolfries 6-0-17-1
S Leefe 7-1-27-1
J Bryant 4-1-19-1
W Rydon 4-0-21-1
H Rydon 3-0-13-0
G Rydon 1-0-8-0
Innings of Rydon Royals
H Rydon st Sujay Chakravarti b Brandes 27
A Rydon run out 32
W Rydon b Brandes 2
S Leefe ct Sujay Chakravarti b Hobson 44
W Wingfield Digby st Sujay Chakravarti b Milne 22
R Rydon not out 37
G Rydon not out 2
1-40(1), 2-46 (3), 3-71 (2), 4-113 (5), 5-163 (4)
R Manyon 8-2-28-0
P Hobson 7.2-1-30-1
S Brandes 8-0-42-2
W Okines 8-0-22-0
J Milne 8-0-39-1