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Tabard Pilgrims Cricket Club

SUMMER’S DAY IDYLL AS PILGRIMS DEMOLISH BEST TEA IN HISTORY

Sunday, September 21 v Beddington.

By our skipper, Penthouse

A summer’s day, new opposition, an idyllic ground, the perfect setting: “mmm” this smells like it could be good!

The game was to have a 13.30 start as demanded by our new opposition waiting for us at Beddington Cricket Club, somewhere near Croydon.

All Pilgrims assembled at 11.30 for a departure time of 11.45 prompt, except that Captain Penthouse was at home stressing over his failure to print out all the directions – before he was reliably informed by his youngest bearded brother that everyone was “satnavved” up and ready to go. My word, the Pilgrims really are a team equipped for the 21st Century!

The journey quite frankly was very tedious as the world and his wife were all out to experience and enjoy our last official day of summer. Yes, Autumn is now with us folks, which means Christmas trees will be in our High Streets in a month’s time (that long? Ed). Now there’s a cheery thought!

Anyway I digress.

After much traffic pain we arrived at this most idyllic of grounds – a boundary surrounded by trees (some commenting on it being the size of Lord’s), church bells ringing, birds twittering and a jolly polite bunch of opposition to greet us.

Everything that we Pilgrims love about cricket was there right in front of us!

They even had 12 men, and as we too had arrived with 12, thanks to Hansie Jnr, the stage was set for 12 Pilgrimites vs 12 Beddingtonites.

Losing the toss has become a strong Pilgrim tradition that endured for the last game of the season. The hosts elected to put the young, energetic and keen Pilgrims into the field and that was where we stayed for a long 45 overs.

Xero and Juggs opened our attack with a supreme effort that the rest of the team couldn’t seem to muster in the fielding dept. Fielding, it has to be said, was pretty slack but as the boundary was so goddamned big the scoring was very slow.

Of course this was also down to some pretty fair bowling from the already mentioned Xero (1) and Juggs (0) but also from the Chill Factor (1), The Whipster(2), The Hansie (2) and The Bishop (3).

Beddington declared at 210 for nine, a mere three hours or so in fairly tiring conditions – especially for those nursing hangovers!

The Pilgrims were tired, exhausted and hot, so it was going to take something pretty special to kick us into shape – and by Jove did we get that kick!

This was without doubt the Tea of Teas.

Beddington’s fixture secretary told me in the week that they prided themselves on their idyllic ground and alternative teas.

Alternative indeed they were. Not a single sandwich in sight. I wish now I had taken a picture – Egon you missed something spectacular!

As a flavour this is what I remember:

Game terrine pie with fresh turkey; sausage meat and apricots served in a nice puff pastry; home-made pizza; home-made bite-sized toad-in-the-hole; pasta twirls in a fresh fine tomato sauce; potato salad with shavings of spring onion; mini roasted sausages with a choice of mustard; fresh roasted vegetable and cheese concoction; three-bean salad with rice...

I could go on...

...and I will: chicken satay served on crispy, crunchy savoury pastry which fitted perfectly in the palm of your hand; chocolate sponge; chocolate brownie; trifle; strawberry cream gateau; apple crumble; cheese selection; jugs of cream; and of course a nice cup of tea. Oh yes, and a choice of two squashes when we were in the middle of our fielding session. Nice touch!

To be honest I am probably doing it a disservice, so feel free to add any food I may have failed to pick up on. I was so impressed I took the cook’s number!

Now try eating all that and the going into bat. To be honest I would prefer it to fielding, but it was still pretty tough if you have a boundary the size of Lord’s to deal with. And too much cake meant running between the wickets was a bit of an ordeal.

Back into bat at five-ish would mean we had an hour plus 20 overs from six o’clock. This was to be too much to ask for a team laden down with every type of cream pie you could ever ask for.

A short sparky innings of 12 from Warrior kicked us off before his stumps were removed courtesy of one of those familiar cross-bat shots the Tabard specialise in.

Penthouse popped in for a weakfish 38, but due to his rugby exploits the day before, a large night out and a huge intake of tea he was unable to run as efficiently as he would have liked. He was bowled going for one of those rash shots just mentioned.

Omlette had a crack spanking the first delivery for four while at the other end The Bishop tore through the opening bowlers and ended his innings on a fine 36. Omlette was to go for ten while Bumpy couldn’t make it into double figures – a paltry nine.

Juggs marched in having been showing off to his elder brother and mother with his athletic bowling and fielding earlier in the day, but the cake obviously had got to him too and was bowled for six playing – oh yes – one of those masterstrokes!

Frodo and Moggie then signalled the of the falling wickets. Not known for his batting technique, Frodo nevertheless seemed to connect with every moronic swipe of the bat. Out of the game for the best part of three months his energy was impressive – shades of Botham. Couple that with the fact his younger brother was trying his hardest to look like Flintoff with his new facial hair – good grief! What on earth is going on!

So shocking was this innings he managed to post an unbeaten 21 which now puts him third in the batting averages and knocks his captain down a position. Whatever next?

I thought this team was fit for the 21st century, not a team that was going backwards in time!

A splendid day. The opposition are of a similar mould to The Tabard Pilgrims in their jolly ways and this is a fixture I hope will continue for many years to come.

It’s been as entertaining a season as ever. To all those who have participated by reading these reports or taking part on the field of play – I thank you!

Delighted, as ever, “To be a Pilgrim.”