Anderson and Broad, Dravid and Tendulkar, Warne and McGrath; some cricketing partnerships just make sense, are written in the stars and honed on the turf, whereas others come out of nowhere to form a cricketing version of fusion food. On Saturday this was very much true of Hill’s second XI who force fed Thames Ditton a serving of ying and yang, pairing 32 day dry aged sirloin with microwave paella, to hand them a big old bushy park beating.
The first course was served courtesy of the Tony & Guy styled Richard Bennet, as the old school opener played another innings full of stoic defence and classical drives, befitting of an approach honed on the squares of Sunbury, Teddington and Hampton School. Benoit carried his bat for 88 off 142 balls with cameos from Harry Coates (26 off 38), club captain Rob Fullicks (45 off 40) and Paul “Widget” Hennessey (20 off 9) helping to lift Hill to a declaration total of 225/7 from 50 overs.
It was in the field though that Hill’s mixed cuisine really did damage to the Ditton digestive systems; bowling fittingly from the KFC end and fresh from a few lusty strikes with the bat, it was the diminutive Hennessy that was soon dishing up a Saturday special, although a first over that went for 12 may have given some of the visitors a false hope of tucking in. Hennessy’s path to Hill heroics from the mean streets of Feltham has taken in a decade long break from the club, 4 children and a period as a plastic Spaniard, playing international cricket on the mats of Barcelona, Madrid and Seville.
Returning to the club that got it all going for Hennessy has not been all Sangria and sunshine but having produced an almost instant response to the initial Ditton onslaught, he soon set to work getting the ball to nip off the surface and making the leg stump his own. With side dish Harry Coates bowling a grumpy, effective supporting spell at the other end, Hennessy rattled through the Ditton line up as a series of bewildered looking batsman poked about, only to be undone by the length and movement Hennessy extracted on his way to no fewer than seis clean bowled victims and ocho in total.
With Coates allowing Exworth and Porter to at least contribute something to the game with catches off his bowling, Hennessy’s delicious return of 8/27 left Ditton nursing a Hill inflicted stomach-ache, all out for just 60 inside 18 overs.
Bennett & Hennessy; a somewhat unlikely pairing perhaps, but one those Ditton diners won’t forget in a hurry.