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Result - Odiham & Greywell

Sat Sep 12th Grannies win by 40 runs as Scottie makes century

Match report

Grannies 217-3 (35 overs)
Odiham & Greywell 177 all out (34.4 overs)

At 6 for 2, the decision to win the toss and bat on a greenish pitch in September seemed a little quixotic, even by the Grannies' standards. Openers Andy Minshaw and Jamie Williams both made half-centuries in this fixture last year - but both had stumps removed by Odiham's lively youngster Frome in the same over this time round. Such is the wonder of the game.

Rebuilding was required and the Grannies had two willing construction workers in James Scott and Charlie Walford. Working patiently against an accurate attack in testing conditions, the pair put on 87 for the third wicket, steadily pushing the run-rate towards 4 an over in this ThirtyFive35 match. Charlie was out for a fine 39, which included one cover-driven 4 that would have graced any match, at any level. He eventually skied one of the few bad balls he had received, but the contribution had been invaluable on a tricky day.

Scottie continued, finding his touch as he went, driving and pulling with increasing assurance, and was joined by candidate Andy Westley. The latter began slowly, as the pitch still demanded, but as scoring became easier he was able to open his shoulders to finish with a well-paced 43* in an unbroken stand of 124. Scottie's hundred - his second for the Grannies - drew admiring comment from the opposition and prolonged applause from his team-mates. He offered one chance, on 109, and finished unbeaten three runs later: a superb effort.

The Grannies' total of 217 was above par but, history suggests, still vulnerable on a quick-scoring ground.

With attractive symmetry, the opening pace attack of Jon Staniforth and Charlie Walford reduced Odiham to 9 for 2, thus putting the home side into a similar position to that which the Grannies had enjoyed a couple of hours earlier. After accurate spells from both, Jeremy Wynne then provided a touch of the exotic with his looping Chinamen, conceding some boundaries but also introducing real uncertainty before winning a deserved LBW shout.

The run-chase continued: Odiham batsmen are a cussed, admirable bunch, always keeping themselves in with a chance in these games. A couple made sensible, gritty thirties but at the same time catches were held, the Grannies' ground fielding was keen, and the "scoreboard pressure" so beloved of modern commentators was beginning to tell.

By this time, the newly-formed local rugby club and entourage had returned to the ground following their inaugural fixture: this meant there was large crowd (some of whom were even watching the cricket) and an increase in volume from the bar. For older readers, the atmosphere began to resemble one of those 1970s televised Sunday league games which Peter Walker used to introduce, in which Brian Brain was always bowling to Peter Denning. It was all rather pleasing.

Anyway, from the sunset end of the ground, Mike Fernie ignored the din and quietly did much the same as he has been doing for decades, tying up the batsmen and politely asking pertinent questions of their technique, for which figures of 3-43 were good reward.

Despite this, there was still no sense of foregone conclusion while Odiham captain Paul Voisey was at the crease. His 55 was a superb knock, full of cultured, powerful strokemaking - none more so than his 6 over long on which imperilled the pavilion clock, the relaxing rugby players and the many small children gambolling around. But the wily Siebert/Percival axis eventually did for him, Siebs (2-9) throwing up a wide off break and chairman Bob whipping off the bails as the batsman gave up his ground. Odiham continued gamely to go for their shots, but Stanners returned with the sun's rays disappearing and bowled full and straight to settle the matter, finishing with figures of 3-20.

It was a solid Grannies performance, with good contributions from everyone and - perhaps most importantly - one of the last games of the year was bathed in sunlight in front of a large crowd at an appealing ground. Odiham are staunch opponents, welcoming hosts and keep a well-stocked bar: much of the pleasure of this long-standing fixture comes in chatting to them about matches past and looking forward to matches future.

A victory is pleasant, of course. But as ever, the game is the thing.

Match info

A splendid end-of-season fixture just a few miles off the M3 in the north of Hampshire.
It's the last hurrah before autumn closes in: attractive rural ground, friendly opposition and a competitive game - with the Grannies coming out on top in recent seasons.

King Street,
RG29 1NF