Venue: Cholmondeley Castle, Cheshire
After six years of glorious sunshine at this event, the clouds overhead looked ominous; and after Nick Hancock has asked Chris England to captain his team, his decision to field and insert Mike Watkinson’s XI always looked the right one. The match actually started on time, but there was only 5 minutes play before the heavens opened for a 30 minute downpour. Sadly the 15 minutes played saw the loss of TV Antiques expert, and Taverner, Adam Partridge; who had excitedly tried to drive Gordon Kennedy back over his head, only to miss, and get bowled. This was the start of a 3 wicket haul for Gordon, who performed admirably.
The wicket still favoured the bowlers once play recommenced, although ECB man, Cookie Patel struck 4 boundaries with aplomb, out of a total of only 6 boundaries scored in the innings. Mike Watkinson, the former Lancashire and England All Rounder, batting at 5, was possibly the main hope for his team, but he fell to a well taken catch by Stoke City footballer, Danny Higginbottom. A swashbuckling 18 from former Aston Villa and England winger, Steve Froggatt and a run a ball from ex-Nottingham Forest man, Justin Walker gave the innings some respectability at 104 for 8 off the allotted overs, although the tight bowling of Neal Radford and Kim Barnett had really dominated proceedings.
At lunchtime, the Marquee fell silent to remember Gary Speed, the winning captain for the last two years. Gary loved this event and will be very sadly missed.
Scriptwriter, Chris England, put himself at 3 and sent in Nick Hancock and Danny Higginbottom to open. All cricketers know that low totals can be tricky to get, but by now the sunshine had arrived, which really would favour the batting side. However, we had a match on our hands when Writer and Journalist, Brian Viner took a smart catch to dismiss Danny Higginbottom. England and Hancock played a circumspect game for a while, knowing that time was definitely on their side, but Justin Walker struck twice to dismiss them both, Hancock bowled and England caught. Actors Dean Andrews and Howard Lee were now at the wicket. Dean is a new recruit this year, and kept wicket very stylishly in the field. Howard has been a regular run scorer at this event over the years.
The fielding side sensed an unlikely victory when both men were bowled; Dean Andrews done by a wicked cutter from Mike Watkinson, and Howard Lee not able to make double figures this year. So, at 54 for 5, it was ‘game on’. Ex-Derbyshire and England man, Kim Barnett and current Cholmondeley Captain, Chris Baker had other ideas, though; and steered the team to a 5 wicket victory. Chris England collected the Trophy, which was presented by Baker Tilly, the event’s Main Sponsor. The DTM Legal Man of the Match was adjudged by Nick Hancock to be Mark Braid for taking 2 wickets for 6 runs off 2 overs, although Gordon Kennedy could consider himself unlucky on that one. The ‘champagne moment’ went to Danny Higginbottom for catching out an England International Cricketer in his first ever game of cricket!
The final accounts are not yet done at the time of writing, but the event has probably raised between £22,000 and £25,000. Our Regional President, Nick Hancock and his wife, Shari, deserve massive thanks for their continued wonderful support; and Cholmondeley Cricket Club had the ground in superb condition under the circumstances. The show will go on next year, probably on the 28th June 2013.
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