|Date||26 May 2018|
|Venue||Monkhams Lane, Woodford Wells, IG8 0NL|
|Result||W (Woodford Wells 105, Brentwood 108-3)|
Woodford Wells 105, Brentwood 108-3
Brentwood win by seven wickets
Career-best figures of 10.3 overs, four maidens, eight wickets for 20 runs helped earn the reigning Premier Division champions victory shortly after 3pm and might seem to speak for themselves yet, possibly, underplay the quality of Degg’s performance.
Those who have played on Woodford Wells’ idiosyncratic second pitch will vouch for its bowlers’ graveyard reputation. The slope unsettles rhythms, boundaries are so short a defensive prod can run away for four, edges can fly for six - 300 is a par score.
True, Brentwood captain Ryan Pocock won what seemed an important toss and chose to bowl first. The slope meant rain had crept under the covers overnight and, not benefiting from the morning sun and wind, when the covers were pulled away, the pitch was noticeably darker than a neighbouring strip that had been open to the elements.
Brentwood had a powerful bowling line-up and Pocock opted to stick with the opening partnership of the previous week, Dave Balroop and Peter Bainbridge, leaving Luke Wells and Degg chuntering in the outfield awaiting their chance.
With Bainbridge struggling up the slope, and Balroop’s line a little awry from the top end, Woodford Wells looked relatively untroubled as Mark Webb, who scored a century against Brentwood last season, settled in.
However, Balroop, as he does, made the breakthrough in the ninth over, knocking back Webb’s off stump with the score at 40.
Enter Degg, from the bottom end. His fourth ball, an outswinger, was chased by the young No3 and edged to Pocock to make it 41 for two. In Degg’s fourth over, opener Goodlet edged a full-pitched delivery to George Bull at point, 51 for three.
Balroop came out of the attack after eight overs and, possibly to Wells’ chagrin, gave way to new signing Suriya James. The young leg-spinner made an almost instant impact when his second ball, a long hop, was smacked straight to the square-leg boundary fielder… Wells. Unfortunately, the ball leaked through the trainee plumber’s fingers and rolled over the boundary.
Three balls later, the pain was eased when James produced a snorter that caught the same batsman’s top edge and popped up to gulley where Nigel Bacon pouched the catch, 57 for four.
From here on in, it was the Degg show, as the Campion School PE teacher launched a one-man advertising campaign for the benefits of being a vegan tea-totaller. Up the slope on a tiring, humid day, Degg’s lean, tattooed body thundered in. He mixed up his length, found away swing, frightened batsmen.
Home captain Scott hung around before gloving a short ball to Pocock - 75 for five.
Heyes swiped a couple of fours before being bowled - 89 for six.
By his 10th over, Degg’s breakfast of nut cutlets and falafel was really kicking in. From his first ball, he took a smart one-handed return catch well above his head. His fourth was full and straight and bowled Kingham. Ditto the fifth, which did for Bergh. The hat-trick ball was blocked, but by now Woodford Wells were staggering at 100 for nine after just 28 overs.
Degg wrapped up the innings in his next over, another clean bowled, leaving the pitch to the acclaim of his team-mates, grateful for the likelihood of returning to the club not only in time for the Champions League final at 7.45pm, but for the Championship play-off final at 5pm.
The sides turned straight round, with the Brentwood innings opened by Harry Hobson and George Bull. Hobson needs no encouragement to go out all guns blazing, but the sight of a boundary so short he could almost reach out and touch it, got his blood up.
Sure enough, by the end of the first over, Brentwood were 18 for nought as Hobson added three well-struck fours to a sumptuous straight six.
Sir Harold put in an early claim for the Riley Wallop by careering to his 50 in just 20 deliveries before mis-hitting a full toss straight to mid-off. Bull had fallen to an edge taken at slip, and Ash Medell went the same way shortly after.
However, last week’s centurion Bacon creamed a few fours, smashed a six that almost decapitated a picknicker in a nearby garden and, when Luke Brailey slogged a four to the midwicket boundary, the match was over in the 11th over.
Twenty points in the bag, tea taken, and it was only 3.30pm. For some, an evening of pints and mighty meaty pizzas awaited. For others, a soya steak and a cup of tea (black, obviously).
Report by Peter Bainbridge
|Name||Squad number||Position||Runs||Dismissed||Wickets||Overs bowled||Runs conceded|