On 30th July 2022, in a warm and muggy climate, 11 members of the Plough turned up in Woking to play
the world’s greatest game. Two from two on the same ground this season, although against different
opposition, added to the hopeful atmosphere as we turned up excited for the 1pm start, alongside four
members of the opposition.
Despite the opposing captain’s protestations, league rules were rightly enforced as the Plough claimed
the toss; the only way for captain Tom Lonnon [sic] to win one, it was remarked. With a plethora of batting at
our disposal, but lacking in the bowling department, Plough elected to field insinuating “whatever they
get we’ll chase ‘em”. Excitement was brewing to get started, barely marred by the frightening sight of
Plough’s part-time spinners turning over their arms in the warm-up.
Taking the field, and after a brief team talk warmly welcoming the two 2nd XI debutants, Alexander
Gordon-Walker and Hugh Lilburn, it was time to get going.
Wilbey [sic] and Spence opened the bowling, exchanging the earlier excitement for pure pace and precision,
with the opposition batsmen swishing at thin air during the opening overs. It wasn’t long before Wilby’s
excellent opening spell got what it deserved, taking an early wicket, as the openers were fully on top. A
second wicket was deserved for his efforts, but a magic moment felt missing for this reward.
Step up debutant keeper Alex G-W. A flashing blade produced an edge destined to head for the
boundary. But the debutant, showing the reactions of Peter Schmeichel to parry and the delicacy of a
mother with her newborn to cushion the second grab, produced a blinder. A special moment for him,
warmly greeted by the 10 other members of the Plough.
Wickets were regular as the innings progressed with tight lines from Benny Corbett and the skipper
producing breakthroughs until disaster struck. The captain, one of only five recognised bowlers in the
side, went down injured, with a limp that would surely see him on the sidelines before long. Drinks
came as some respite, but it felt inevitable continuing would prove too much.
Yet after drinks the skipper, with a look of Terry Butcher in his eyes, re-emerged from the dressing room
to continue and, in a Herculean effort, finished his quota on one leg. A truly inspiring effort from the
skipper, desperate to fight for the Plough in whatever way he could.
However, the opposition middle order became set after drinks and made light work of the Plough’s part-time spinners when they became required, taking control of the game in the middle overs.
A first league wicket for Alex Webster provided another special moment, but the game felt to be slipping with a strong
finish required to the bowling innings in order to restrict the opposition to a chase-able total.
“Ask and you shall receive” replied the returning Plough openers. Wilby (ending with impressive figures
of 8-2-35-4) got the set batsmen out, only for his partner in crime Spence to then take the last 3 wickets
of the innings, to restrict the opposition to 254: a target that felt chase-able with the good pitch and fast
outfield on offer.
After a brief interlude for lunch, the Plough were ready to produce a special run chase. The batting line-
up looked long and spirited, with the sense of runs galore almost palpable as the openers took the field.
In truth, the Plough effort never really got going and with regular wickets falling from as early as the first
over, the platform was never set to take on the task which felt so inevitable at the break. One by one
the top order, through the medium of poor shots (barring a couple of good balls), elected to exchange time at the crease for sitting on the sidelines: a dispiriting place to which even the local Mr Whippy couldn’t provide solace. A spirited 42 from Will Stevens was the highlight showing prowess through the cover region, but with changing faces at the other end, there was little left of the “partner in crime” spirit the opening bowlers had mustered but two hours before.
Once he fell, and despite Spence’s optimism on taking the crease of some tail-ender heroics, the writing
was on the wall, with Plough being dismissed for a meagre 110 – a disappointing effort from a batting
line-up that promised so much. Despite early spirit, a result to forget for Plough.