HHCC 1st XI vs Purley Match Report

HHCC 1st XI vs Purley Match Report

17 May 2024

Another year, another season but things have changed a little for the HHCC. A new dawn heralds with James “the Spiceman”  Boulton appointed the skipper over the winter period. 
First up Purley who also had a new skipper this year - the Surrey league rejoices. Purley was the scene of one of the performances of the season last year, spirits were high, the sun was out and the deck hard. 

The Spiceman won the toss and the new look partnership of the world’s nicest man (Bennett) and the BBQ king (Robbie Coates) strode out. The going was tough with credit to the Purley openers who beat the bat on numerous occasions, Bennett was left groping at thin air more often than a trip to the Northcote in his prime. 

Robbie Coates was bowled, swiftly followed by partner Bennet and youngest cousin Tom Coates leaving the Hill at 26-3 after 14 overs. This meant it was the old and the new together as previous skipper JNS was joined by the Spiceman. The two worked hard in differing styles. Elegant, soft touched, graceful - words not often used to describe the Spiceman and words that this author won’t use but my word can the lad spank a ball, whilst JNS did what has brought him 6466 runs for the Hill. The two took the score to 101-4 before JNS was out stumped to some smart work down the leg side. 

Jake “Snakey” Wood came to the crease and walked back quickly. In stepped Widget (in more steps than most). A quick fire 20 showing what this lad really can do with the bat. Unfortunately he fell to a good catch low down by Scott of Purley. Disaster for the Hill followed shortly after as Boulton for a well made, belligerent 52 fell at 143-7 to one that many at the ground thought was sliding. 

In seasons gone past the Hill might have shutdown and found themselves 150 all out. But not this day. Baverstock swiped, launched and ran, whilst H Coates, prodded, poked and waddled the score up to 180, before Coates took on the Purley overseas’ arm and lost. Merchant fell last ball of the innings leaving the Hill with 180 off their 50. 

After a tea that left many questioning why they played cricket anymore, the Spiceman took the new ball. Hill fans will be delighted to hear that his new ball partner was none other than James “the Lobbyist” Robottom. That’s where the joy ends as Purley got off to a flier with Basit taking a liking to Robottom. 

The Spiceman and JNS then combined again to remove Basit, who was turned inside out by a swinging delivery. H Coates then dropped the other opener off Merchant, sorry Merch, although JNS removed him promptly with his first delivery. This brought the Purley overseas to the crease. A young Trinidadian by the name of Jeremiah Cruickshank. To quote the great Ian Bishop, “remember the name”. A sedate start from the young man was broken by a flowing off drive that quite honestly encapsulated everything good about this sport. An away swinging length delivery driven on the up through the covers. Delightful. 

Cruickshank settled in to his work from that point and although JNS (10-46-3) and the Spiceman (8.2-20-2) lead the way, the other bowlers struggled to make inroads, although opportunities were put down, a part of the game the Hill will need to remedy. 

Special mention must go out to TC whose sharpe work and direct hit removed one of the Purley batsman. He was in and in by a mile but still good work. 

In the end Cruickshank proved the difference as Purley chased the 180, 7 down  in the 39th over. A majestic 78* that has to go down as one of the best knocks by an overseas we have seen in recent times. 

Positives for the Hill but work to do heading into the season.