Spectators were treated to a run-fest at Bowden’s President’s Day on Sunday in a match which featured a true cross-section of the club. Players from all its teams were represented: women’s, juniors, friendly and league, as well as some illustrious guests.
Batting first as per tradition – this year ratified by a coin toss - the President’s XI made a flying start thanks largely to a scintillating display of clean hitting from guest player Mitch Carey, the Australian overseas at current Leicestershire Premier League leaders Leicester Ivanhoe. He scored an unbeaten ton before being retired.
Around him, there were cameo contributions from club captain Karl Pollard (30), Collette Wale (10), and another Leicester Ivanhoe player, Jake Beaumont (35). Amid the carnage, credit must go to young off-spinners Henry Linsell (8-1-41-2) and Harry Wilford (7-0-35-2), for economical and wicket-taking spells.
With ten overs remaining, skipper Charlie Standley entered the fray to exploit some tiring bowlers with a chancy but hard-hitting unbeaten 69. The Presidents’ XI lost their final wicket in the penultimate over, resulting in the return of the retired Carey for the last seven balls. While not quite emulating Garfield Sobers’ 1968 feat of six-sixes, the two sixes and four fours he struck from the final over were nevertheless punishing and allowed the Presidents’ side to post an imposing total of 315 from their 40 overs.
With a great deal of league experience and talent in the club’s ranks, it was expected that the President’s side would need every one of those runs. However, the club’s reply stuttered with James Pickersgill (4-2-7-1) and Bowden old boy Sam Keenan (4-2-3-2) – now bowling his swingers for Streatham & Marlborough CC in London - taking vital wickets in their first overs. The third wicket pair of Hyman and Frith set about the repair work with a century partnership before Frith holed out for 64 to the wily left-armers of Fleckney CC’s Frank Smith.
With Hyman still going strong and plenty of big-hitters to come, the club side was well in the game at the 20-over mark, requiring 180 to win: a gettable target in the T20 era. However, they did not reckon with the grandfather-and-son combination of veteran Lee and 11-year-old Freddie Wilson, who stymied the club’s middle order: the former with his usual searching off-spin; the latter with nagging seam and indefatigable fielding.
Lee claimed the scalp of club skipper Sam Gomez while Freddie picked up the wicket of hard-hitting Jack Bellamy (22). With that, the game was up. Although Hyman remained unbeaten with a gritty 84, the President’s XI was victorious by 93 runs as the club’s innings concluded on 223-7, claiming the Roger Funnell trophy.
As always, thanks go to President Ian Whyte, umpires Simon Linsell and Ray Medland, the ladies who put on a sumptuous tea, and the various club members who manned the bar, all of whom contributed to a highly successful day.