The Downside Wanderers Cricket Club returned to Downside on Saturday 30th April for an exhilarating match against the School. Match manager George Hobbs (R17) shares his thoughts on the day.

‘There is no better sight for a cricketer than walking over the precipice of those famous green banks on a beautiful summer day to see the Downside Pavilion in all its glory. This was the case for the Wanderers as we strolled nostalgically over to our old stomping ground reminiscing about all the good games (and the bad) we’d had during our own school days. Steve and Andy, the School’s Groundsmen, had worked their usual magic. The pitch looked stunning and perfect for batting. This was to be the story of the day.

The game began with the Wanderers having a bat. We started well, posting a strong score of 151-3 by lunch. This was mostly thanks to Lawrie Graham (R16) and James Hobbs (R14) hitting 64 and 40, respectively. However, after the break, the School fought back, taking 4 more wickets. Despite great enthusiasm and determination being shown by the School, the Wanderers finished on 272-7. Leaving the School’s batting order with a big run chase of 273 off 40 overs.

The second innings began with the typical, and beautiful, Downside views, with the early evening sun casting a warm orange glow across the Abbey Church in the background. A single hot-air balloon was floating lazily overhead, no doubt in awe by the skill on show below. The School’s batters, led by Captain Louis, put on a good early display of patient batting. Seeing off our opening bowlers, losing only 1 wicket. However, before long, the Wanderers fought back with a brilliant stint of bowling from Anthony Pontifex (S60) who took 2 quick wickets. This stemmed the flow of school runs and for all money looked as if the game was out of sight for the School team. However, some late heroics from Vice-Captain Jacob, smashing a fast 52, kept the game alive. As the game came towards its end, Mungo Sheenan (B18) settled the Wanderers’ nerves by taking 3 wickets in his second spell. The innings finished with the School hitting 199-9, meaning the Wanderers won by 73 runs.

It was a fantastic day from start to finish. A massive thanks must go to Downside for putting on the day and, as always, for being such hospitable hosts. As well as to the grounds staff for producing such a brilliant pitch so early in the season. Finally, a special mention to Jacob for being the recipient of this year’s Gordon Hemming award for outstanding performance of the match.’