A perfect bit of England helps make Tony’s day
BRILLIANT sunshine and the backdrop of the castle provided the perfect setting for the fourth President’s Day at Windsor CC – there was even a choir making an inpromptu appearance in the background, although not quite what you would expect, writes Andy Stiff.
Windsor President, Tony Monk, fielded a select XI against the club’s Sunday side and after long day’s toil at Home Park the sides retreated to the bar for a well-earned drink with an honourable draw.
It all started several hours earlier after a spot of lunch. The sides finally realised they would have to take to the field and the President’s XI, led by Beaconsfield’s Mark Shepherd made hay with the bat whilst the sun shone.
Gordon Morgan (Wraysbury) set the foundations of this big score with a well-executed 77, even though his left toe-nails would be suffering on Monday morning (see picture opposite). He put on 85 for the second wicket with Luke Shepherd (Beaconsfield) who made 36.
Hendrick Lowe (ICI Paints) played elegantly to contribute 37 to the total before Owen and Ieuan Watkins (both of Welsh side Usk CC), brothers of Saturday skipper, Deri, set about the Windsor bowlers with what Tony describes beautifully as ‘agricultural efficiency’.
The only balls landing on the nearby tennis courts were the hard, red variety as Ian (32no) and Owen (22) took a particular liking to Richard Charters. His figures of 3-17 after three overs became 4-53 after five. Tony’s XI closed on 269-7 and they still had their secret weapon, opening bowler Monk.
As it happens the veteran could not break through in his three overs. Matt Greene (23) and Andy Chorley (76) kept Windsor’s hopes high. The Celtic fire of the Watkins brothers put paid to any ambitions of Windsor. Owen took 3-35 and Ieuan also picked up a wicket.
Kevin Condon also returned figures of 3-35 and there was late hope for the scratch team when Shepherd took the ninth wicket, bowling out Wayne Spence with one ball left.
Warren Griffiths survived the last delivery and Windsor closed on 219-9, honours even – well almost….
“It was a draw but we were the better side, clearly!” joked Tony afterwards. “It was a splendid day’s cricket, you are always praying the weather will be good for you and it was spot on.
“I was also chuffed that so many players gave up their time to come and play. We had some really good cricketers from all around, I hadn’t seen Gordon bat before but knew he was a good player and he showed it.”
He also revealed his bowling spell was a little longer than planned. “I used to open the bowling many, many years ago and by tradition still bowl the first over in these games.
“I had the first over and it went well so the others said ‘Go on! Have another’. I did and again was not hit out of the ground so they told me to have one more.
“By then I think the batsmen had had enough and started to hit me so I quickly retreated from the attack!
“I was just very proud of everyone and the day could not have gone any better. I looked around the field at one point and it just looked like a perfect bit of England.
“You had Windsor Castle overlooking us and there were families having picnics in the shade, it was a lovely scene.
And as for the choir? “Well, some of the players were about to go on tour to Ireland and were leaving at 7pm.
“They could not play so I think were training their drinking arms,” added Tony.
“At one point they were all singing up on the pavillion balcony. I think some of them had taken a few too many liquid refreshments!”