2000 A MEMORABLE GAME
If Brentwood CC didn't manage to turn the corner in the 2000 season, it can certainly be said that we got far enough round the bend to start accelerating out the other side. An influx of new players (the majority of which, it must be said, seemed to be bowlers!) brought new strength to the Club, and although the first team was largely unchanged from the previous season, the seconds and thirds would benefit from the likes of Perry Lawless, Mike Hornsby, Darren Clements and the return of Richard Wall from university and Joe Fryd from injury. The knock-on effect therefore, was that myself, my brother Neil, and Rob 'Robert' Coote were consigned to a season in the fourth team having all spent the majority of the 1999 season in Ken Lingwood's third team.
The 1999 season had seen the first team consolidate their newly promoted position in Division One, the second team winning their league to gain a deserved promotion to their Division One, and the third team marginally missing out on a second consecutive promotion. 2000 would also see success, this time for the third team and the fourth team, both of which sealed promotion to their Premier Leagues and their respective championships with games to spare.
The fourth team, under the wise old captaincy of Alan Houston, swept all before them, finishing the season unbeaten and some 68 points ahead of South Woodford in second place. It was, to some degree, a weak third team with Webb, Webb and Coote joined by Jim 'Bum-Face' Lingwood, Steve 'JP' Lennon, and Shane 'Sewage-Belly' Surujbally, all of whom had been basking in third team glory in 1999. As well as Houston and Andy Fryd, we were joined by a good helping of young, emerging talent in the likes of David Smith, Julian Ashby, Dwight Johnson and Rob Brett.
One particularly memorable game was away to Old Parkonians. It pains me to say it but the previous week, I, along with Neil and JP, had been dropped to the fifth team. Neil and I apparently weren't capable of bowling a side out and JP had a bad attitude and couldn't buy a run. Neil was called back up before the game, but myself and JP remained behind to play on a plastic artificial school wicket in Upminster. Not an experience either of us hope to be repeating. This week, however, we had all regained our places in the 4's and we all had points to prove.
We arrived early at Old Parks and made ourselves comfortable in the nets. It had rained a lot during the week and the going was verging on soft, although the sun was shining and the pitch was drying nicely. Alan strode to the other side of the field to where we would be playing, and lost the toss. We batted first on a damp wicket (considerably preferable, however, to a plastic one!), opening up with the reliable run-machine David Smith and a determined JP. Both batted superbly, David was batting for a third team spot and JP was intent on displaying what he was capable of. Our first wicket fell at 90 with JP out for 60. Alan joined David in the middle and a fine combination of youth and experience took us past 200. The declaration was imminent, once Smithy got his maiden ton, but in a display of jug avoidance not seen since Michael Atherton slipped and ran himself out on 99 at Lords, he fell two short and was dismissed on 98. Alan was unbeaten on 70 not out and promptly declared on an impressive 238 for 2. Shane however was less impressed having been padded up for the last two and a half hours!
Old Parks needed to get off to a good start if they were going to have any chance of winning. Neil took the new ball and beat the bat on several occasions in the first over before the Old Parks batsmen attempted a single that was never there. I swooped at cover-point and threw the ball to Julian Ashby behind the stumps who removed the bails with the batsmen comfortably out. 0 for 1. I had the second over and took the second wicket. 1 for 2. In the fourth over, the batsmen once again attempted a somewhat optimistic single, pushing the ball again to cover-point, this time to Neil. Neil picked the ball up and threw it to me at the bowlers end at which point I removed the bails. 2 for 3. Neil had the fifth over and took the fourth wicket. 2 for 4. I quickly took the fifth wicket and my second to leave Old Parks floundering at 3 for 5. Then followed a couple of rare, wicketless overs helped by Dwight dropping his customary dolly, before Shane (yes, Shane) showed Dwight how it's done and took a rare catch to help Neil pick up his second wicket and the teams sixth. I then followed suit in the next over with my third wicket and Old Parks were in turmoil at 4 for 7 (not that they weren't in turmoil at 3 for 5!). As we crowded the bat, I picked up my fourth and fifth wickets while one Old Parks bat had the nerve to not get out ... even having the audacity to score a few runs! Under instructions from Alan, Neil bowled short in an apparent attempt to unnerve him, a ploy which only succeeded in allowing the bat to smite a couple of boundaries. Old Parks dragged their way up to 31 before I wrapped things up in only the 23rd over with a caught-and-bowled.
Brentwood had won by 207 runs. Neil finished with figures of 2 for 16 and a run-out. My figures were 6 for 14 and a run-out. Between us we had bowled out the entire team.