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  • Sydenham CC won the toss and scored 154 all out from 34.2 overs

    Old Berkeley scored 150 for 7 from 35 overs

    Sydenham’s season is up and running after a fabulous last ball victory against Old Berkley and skipper Toby ‘Monty-come-here’ Roe was beaming from ear to ear after Sydenham secured victory with the final ball of the match. The Sydenham XI for the day turned out to be to be ten after Dan Bradley’s technology inspired recruitment drive fell flat. Our eleventh player promised to us via the means of twitter never materialised which left some puzzled looks in the dressing room as the team counted the players again and again, unsure who was missing. The team did however have rather an international feel about it. We drafted in Damian Hill from Australia as our overseas player coupled with a late call up (about 1 am Sunday) for Howard ‘Digger’ Innocent who travelled over from Essex.

    Captain Roe won the toss and unsurprisingly elected to bat. The pitch looked good – firm and true. The day was beautiful and the grounds stunning. The fact that we batted first was in fact on this occasion a good thing as some of the players had headed off to the Prince of Wales before the start in order to get some refreshments. Clearly it worked for some, but not for others. Damian was one of these and unaccustomed to Sydenham’s version of a couple of looseners, set about the oppositions bowling with glee. With Paul Reynolds at his side it was the best opening partnership for some years. With score on 87, Reynolds was eventually caught for 17. Damian went soon after departing with a super 65 to his name on debut. Dan Bradley and Nick Barker were at the crease and back in the dressing room the skipper commented (fatefully) about how good things were looking. Bradley slapped a wide long hop to cover for 16. James Ward played all round a straight one and was LBW for 4, debutant Digger was back in the hutch after his first ball and Frank the Bush, Paul Stevenson, Mark Kermack and Toby Roe were all bowled for next to nothing. Fortunately at the other end Nick Barker stood firm and finished 32 not out with some lusty blows to the boundary. All out for 154. A remarkably good collapse.

    Spruced up by a good tea Sydenham set about defending the total. Barker and Hill bowled a superb opening spell with Barker taking two quick wickets to peg back the opposition. Captain Roe then cleverly brought the two Pauls for a spell of spin whilst Old Berkley rebuilt. They rebuilt steadily but were behind the rate until the 15th over when their skipper went into overdrive and begun crunching the ball all over the place. Bradley and Roe came on to bowl – spin and fearsome pace respectively. Eventually the onslaught was stopped by a brilliant caught and bowled by Bradley; it will take something special to stop it being catch of the season. The game was then cat and mouse till the close. Sydenham chipping away with regular wickets followed by some big shots from the Old Berkley team that got them closer to the target. Roe bowled a super spell taking a deserved wicket from his last over. The last five overs were tense as ‘Jumbo’, Old Berkley’s star player, began emulating Gordon Greenwich. With a runner on for his a torn hamstring he took the game to the last over with some of the biggest whacks of the day. However, debutant Hill kept his nerve and bowled a faultless last over. With 10 to win from 6 Old Berkley could only manage 5 of the required runs, albeit the two spectators were on the edge of their seats as it did go the last ball.

    The victory is probably Sydenham’s closest for some time. It was played on the whole in good spirit and Sydenham naturally celebrated with a few ales afterwards back at the nearby Prince of Wales.

    Learning points:

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