On Sunday 1st July, Penn Street Cricket Club was honoured to welcome the MCC, the most famous cricket club in the world, guardians of the Laws and synonymous with the game wherever it is played, to our little ground in Penn Street. Not that there can be many grounds that looked better – the sun was shining, the wicket immaculate and the crowd was genrous as the two teams posed for photos beneath the PSCC and MCC flags.
As custom dictates, the MCC batted first in a time game, starting 11.30am and finishing with 20 overs from 5.30pm, with breaks for lunch and tea.
Heaveyside and Smart opened the batting for the MCC, facing some tight opening bowing from Jack Mendy and David Adams. Initial exchanges were tentative. Suddenly, David Adams made the breakthrough, forcing Heaveyside into edging a ball to Peter Jupp at slip. Haynes came to the wicket and a strong partnership developed, with both batsmen scoring steadily. Club Captain Paul Goodchild brought himself on but sadly a longstanding back injury limited his contribution to two balls. Nick Loftus, however, was keeping the run-rate down with some accurate medium-pace.
Finally, it was Nick Loftus who made the breakthrough. Haynes holed out to Josh Tollerfield for 55. Chapman soon followed. Thereafter the innings followed a set pattern – batsmen would take time to get established, but as soon as they started to accelerate their wickets fell. Josh Tollerfield took that of the dangerous Smart for 77, whilst Friederichs and Cato fell to Dave Cranfield’s spin. David Adams took the final wicket to fall of Clayson, and when the MCC declared at 231-7 off 42 overs, PSCC felt that they had performed better with the ball than they could have hoped. Certainly it was no more than a sparkling performance in the field deserved – no dropped catches, no byes from Sam Martin behind the stumps and very few mistakes on the field.
PSCC opened their innings with Chris Russell and Dave Cranfield, but in a mirror to the first innings, Dave Cranfield edged behind early on off Haines. Chris Russell and Peter Jupp then started to build a big partnership, with Chris Russell taking the lead early on with some big shots, but Peter Jupp, after giving a sharp chance early on, got his head down and started to bat with style and determination. The quicker bowlers came off and PSCC started to accelerate. At 150-1 it looked as if the match was tilting in their direction when Buchanan dismissed Chris Russell for 53.
Out to the crease strode 15 year old Josh Tollerfield, brimful of confidence after a series of big scores. Buchanan by now was bowling quickly and aggressively. Josh drives his first ball firmly back to the fielder. The second ball, however, went straight over the bowler’s head for 6. Fired up, the bowler responded with a short-pitched ball that caught Josh on his helmet. Game on! Josh responded, and 9 balls later, he has scored a remarkable 30 off 12 balls.
The ebbs and flows were not over yet, though. Sam Martin received a snorter from Buchanan and was bowled for a duck. Dave Jones was starting to cut loose, when he skied a catch to Haynes. Peter Jupp was finally bowled for a splendid 91. At six wickets down with 20 runs to go PSCC looked vulnerable, especially as Buchanan had his tail up and was bowling with great menace and accuracy.
Dave Adams, though, on the back of 190 the previous week , was in the batting form of his life, and when Jack Mendy cracked a sumptuous cover drive for four off his second ball it looked as PSSC might pull through, and so they did, reaching their target with 5 overs and 4 wickets remaining.
After the match, an elated President Ian Jones presented the trophy to winning captain Paul Goodchild, Peter Jupp was named Man of the Match for his 91, Josh Tollerfield with a special momento for his blistering 30. A special day, cricket played in a fine spirit: hard, competitive but fair, and a famous PSCC victory, one of the finest in their long history.