A Great Occasion; A First for the Wick

Date: 16/08/2020
Opposition: Bushy Park Ladies CC
Venue: Hampton Wick Royal Cricket Club
Man of the match: Euan Cole and Ralph Higgins
Prat of the match: Alex Browning

The final over the match was bathed in beautiful early evening sunshine, which was a perfect conclusion to a lovely occasion. The two senior members of the Bushy Park Ladies (BPL) team, Dawn Goodwin and Suzy Higgins survived the best efforts of Suzy’s son, U13 Ralph Higgins, and the match concluded with BPL 115-9 chasing a target of 180.

As a community club, the Wick seeks to be involved in all aspects of cricket. Three members of the visiting team have represented Wick sides in the last two seasons – Imogen Higgins, Paige and Erin Goodwin – illustrating the continuing ties between the Wick and our local Ladies Cricket Club. Previous attempts to schedule this fixture were thwarted by the weather, so it was with great relief that the first match between the Wick and any ladies side could take place.

Early, under dank skies and with the threat of rain, Wick Sunday skipper Jack LeFeurve had negotiated that the hosts should bat first in a 30 over contest. The Wick total of 179 had rock-like foundations; the skipper (28) and Alex Browning (52 retired) putting together a stand of 80 inside 10 overs. During this period the BPL team were under great pressure, with Browning smiting deliveries to all parts of the ground on his way to a maiden half century for the club, which befitted his nickname, Thor. That the BPL team were able to maintain very high fielding and bowling standards during this assault was a credit to both their skills and the evident team-spirit within the group. The remaining two-thirds of the Wick innings saw two Higgins 20s; first Duncan (29) and then Ralph (22) were able to keep the scoring rate moving. Other batters were troubled by very accurate spells from the bowlers, with Eve Abbott (1-29) and Imogen Higgins (2-19) extracting movement and gaining wickets.

Rain interrupted proceedings just as the teams started to enjoy some tea. Fortunately the shower was short and the BPL pursuit of 180 started on time, with the Goodwin sisters opening the batting and the sun starting to beat away the clouds. For the Wick, debutant Ralph Higgins was partnered with Tom Dunmore in a left-arm opening pairing.  Higgins most jnr bowled a flawless line and length and was unlucky to beat the outside edge of both batters. At the other end Dunmore delivered full deliveries with pace and carry and commented that he liked bowling on ‘a quicker pitch than the King’s Field’.  It was Dunmore who made the opening breakthrough – after Browning had dropped a catch at second slip – by bowling Paige with a delivery that cartwheeled the leg-stump. It must be noted that Browning, despite taking two simple catches, had a shocking day in the field. By some measures, Browning shelled 4 catches, though he maintained that this was merely 2!

After the opening bowlers retired for a well-earned break, it was U15 Euan Cole who dominated the innings. Bowling his much-improved off-spin, Cole produced two spells of bowling which challenged all of the BPL batters. Accuracy, control, spin, flight and guile are all features of Cole’s bowling this season and he was rewarded with career best figures of 4-25 from 6 overs. The innings also featured a solid display behind the stumps from James Flint and wickets for Harry Crawshaw and both Higgins snr and Dunmore snr. That Ralph was able to take his first senior wicket in the final over meant that the Wick debutant had succeeded with both bat and ball.

As the teams and supporters enjoyed a drink in the sunshine, everyone agreed that the match had been a very enjoyable and very sociable event. The standard of cricket for two young sides had been good and importantly all players had contributed. A lovely Sunday and a great occasion for all of the players involved.