Johnno benefit T20 Glastonbury v Somerset
Glastonbury, 24th September 2006
Never having ventured to Glastonbury before, I thought I'd treat myself to just one last game this season. A £6 explorer bus ticket and a two hour journey via Bristol, over the Mendips, and on to Wells took me to this very picturesque town (or at least the bits I saw).
I had a couple of Blackthorns and a lunch in the Market House on Magdalene Street. Then walked back down Benedict Street, past the Mitre (which sounded packed), and into the King Arthur for a Tinners real ale. Suitably refreshed I walked to the end of Benedict Street, across the playing fields at the top end of the cricket ground, past the 8 tall firs, and on to the pavilion. First thing to note was the VERY few numbers who'd turned up to watch (only about 50).
Somerset (batting order): Woodman, Durston, Suppiah, Blackwell, Spurway, Hildreth, Gazzard, Andrew, Johnson, Francis J (although I suppose there's no need to qualify which Francis anymore), & Woody.
Someone won the toss and decided that Somerset would bat first on an overcast but warm dry day. Glastonbury took to the field in their whites, Somerset in their blue and red 'team colours' all with 'Woodman' on their back (okay just Woodman and Suppiah).
Woodman (genuinely Woodman) started confidently enough, pulling a short delivery for four in the first over. Unfortunately later in that very first over, another attempted pull resulted in a top edge and an easy catch at gully.
Arul came in next and got a bit of a partnership going with Wes. The ball didn't seem to come on to the bat too well and there were a lot of skied shots fortunately landing away from any cupped hands. Wes, on 15-ish (scoreboard operator was variable), was next to depart, in similar fashion to Woodman, getting a leading top edge and caught at gully. While the ball was up in the air, Arul & Wes had a chat about whether they should cross, what the weather was like, what establishment they might visit that evening ... and sort of crossed by the time the ball had been safely gathered by the Glastonbury gully.
That brought Cap'n Blackie to the crease amid rapturous applause from the mass of spectators. He didn't have to face the first couple of deliveries, able to stand at the non-striking end and gain invaluable knowledge from Arul exactly how this pitch was behaving. This knowledge was taken on board and used to great effect when Blackie managed to chip his first ball to mid-on and he departed the field without troubling that scoreboard operator too much.
Next Sam Spurway joined Arul. Not much messing about here. Pick your spot and go for it, and he did. Another good little partnership got going again, and Somerset looked as though they might post a decent total, before Sam was bowled for 19.
Hilders was next in, and as always he gives such an air of confidence, you really feel as though he means business. He was bowled for 1.
Next in was the Kernow Kid. "Gazzo! Gazzo! Gazzo!" was the chant from the crowd (okay a single cry then). Gazzard stuck around with Arul for a short while before Arul's knock (great in the context of everyone else's knock) came to an abrupt end, bowled for about 40.
Gareth Andrew then joined Gazzo for some very useful runs in an innings that wasn't quite going to be a world-record score! Gazzard was caught, Andrew stumped, and the beneficiary bowled off the last ball of the innings, meaning that Woody, the great number 11, didn't have to take strike.
138 was going to take some defending.
Somerset recently announced they've secured the services of the big-hitting wicket-keeper Kieswetter for next year, which means plenty of competition / cover for the keeping role. Even for this game Carl Gazzard and Sam Spurway were present so the crowd should have been treated to some top-class keeping. My understanding of the situation was though, that Carl and Sam couldn't decide which one would wear the gloves. There were same-sided coins tossed, cutting of cards, slapsies and nearly a fight before Cap'n Blackie stepped in and won a game of Scissors, Paper, Stone, so he kept wicket himself!
Somerset's beneficiary Jonno opened the bowling from the pavilion end with Andrew from the 8-tall-firs end. After an initial flurry of runs, the Glastonbury reply was checked and the required rate just crept above 7. Durston took over from Jonno and stifled the run rate further. There was also the added fear for the Glastonbury batsmen not to lose their wickets to a team-mate! To compensate for the good bowling from the pavilion end, Blackie brought on Carl Gazzard from the 8-firs-end! My, the runs flowed freely then! The now 55-strong crowd complained of stiff necks watching the Gazzo deliveries get dispatched over the boundary.
With runs coming freely at that end, Glastonbury decided they wanted to get after Wes. Their opener went on a march down the wicket, but Wes was too clever for him, deceived him in the flight, and it went through to Blackie. A simple stumping would have sufficed, but no, there ensued a dive, a pirouette and I think a triple-axle before Blackie had whipped off the bails - I even thought at one stage the beleaguered batsman was going to return and assist! No matter. The scorecard read 'bowled Durston, stumped Blackwell' but that seems far too ordinary.
Woodman and Francis got a bowl, and there was another stumping for Blackie somewhere amongst it, but alas 138 was a tad too difficult to defend and Glastonbury scraped over the line with about an over to spare, amidst an enormous downpour which most of the players made feeble attempts to shelter under their own tee-shirts, whilst Arul fielding on the boundary managed to grab one of the massive parasols in front of the pavilion.
What went wrong? What can we do? Where do we go from here? To the Bar of course! Just time for several more beverages before the 7 o'clock bus back home, and very careful planning of 'pit stops' at Wells & Bristol bus stations (Bristol charge you 20p for their 'pit stops')!
There, that's another season done. I sincerely hope that Frankie Snr finds another county, and that Jonno doesn't need to.
Winter well, everyone.