Harry Burden Memorial Trophy, Staplegrove, 1st June 2003
I only saw this being 'advertised' on the official messageboard on Saturday afternoon, so decided to nip down incognito (no daft tee-shirt nor hat).
I went to the 'same' match a few years ago and thoroughly enjoyed that evening's entertainment especially the pro-celebrity game. The match then was at the County Ground and featured the likes of Dredge, Harden, Breakwell, Marks, Cook & Ecclestone along with the current Somerset first team. This year's event marked the Gala Opening of the new ground at Gipsy Lane.
It was a longer event, starting at 12 noon through to late evening. During the afternoon, there was a Taunton CC v Somerset Academy XI (the Academy XI won), whilst several of the Somerset first team spent considerable time batting in the nets facing deliveries from those contributing a pound to bowl an over at them. I was dying to have a go, but the queues which formed seemed to be mainly youngsters aged between 4 and 8, and I was scared they'd show me up! The ground, featuring a smart new pavilion (selling Blackthorn at £1.75), was officially opened by Andy Caddick, just before the 'main event' of a Somerset XI against a Taunton CC XI umpired by Headley Thorne and Ray Julian (obviously still trying to promote last year's book!). I wish Grockle could have been there - Rooster was playing for Somerset; I'm sure they could have nutted, sorry netted together! Peter Bowler once again showed he could bowl left or right handed. Also 'playing' for Somerset once again was one Peter Anderson - my, the years haven't been kind, but he did show the value of what a fitter fielder and bowler might have done! But credit where credit's due, I don't think there's many of us who could still play cricket at that age! So with the likes of Van Troost, left-handed Pete Bowler, and James oops sorry Peter Anderson bowling, you can imagine the keeper's job was always going to be a bit tricky, but Blackwell seemed to cope ok! What? Blackwell I hear you cry? Yes, our favourite left-handed all-rounder was on keeper duty, with Robbie giggling away at mid-on.
This was a great afternoon to get rid of those C&G blues, BUT Somerset lost in the last over! It was almost as though they weren't taking the game seriously! The selection was bewildering, the tactics strange, and the fielding was second-rate. On this showing, I can't see many supporters turning up and paying £1 or £2 to watch it (ouch, just bit my tongue)!
I had to leave at the end of the cricket (7pm), and this was just as the band were starting up, so festivities were obviously going to carry on for some while. Wish I could have stayed. Thanks to all involved for a great afternoon's entertainment.