Vinturions CC gathered together on Saturday for their annual match against The Griffin Inn in Fletching. Although the Vinturions team is made up of some of the finest cricketing talent the wine industry possesses the stats sheet read 0 wins, 1 draw and 5 losses against the mighty Griffin led by their charismatic captain, James Pullan.
It has become custom for the match to be played on one of the last days of summer and Saturday did not fail, with beautiful sunshine blessing the West Sussex countryside. Vinturions CC skipper Linton Neill won the toss and decided to bat, and as a captain should do, led from the front scoring a fine 69 in quick time. He was supported at the other end with a solid 44 from Paul Havell, otherwise known as “Havlar”. Half way through the innings it looked as if a big score would be on but on came Ben Pullan junior for the Griffin Inn, who dismissed the top 3 batsmen without adding many more runs. A worrying thought that there is another generation of cricketing Pullans coming through for future encounters. In previous years a tale of a Vinturions collapse would follow but not so.
Ryan Morgan got a couple of runs before launching one over the stands, unfortunately that’s where he thought it had gone and was looking for the ball in the air, in fact it was lodged between his middle and leg stump. Will 'stumper' Phaure and Harry Fawkes put on 40 with some lovely stroke play, and as Will departed Lee Atkins played a lively cameo scoring quickly. With Harry (36) and Lee (13) seeing the innings through Vinturions ended on 195 off 30 overs, a score they were quietly pleased about. After a great tea in the pavilion the Vinturions took the field, with one or two of them moving gingerly after consuming too much cake. After a tight couple of overs, The Griffin’s openers got stuck in, scoring 59 and 48 respectively. Half way through the innings and the familiar feeling of the game slipping from their grasp started to come over the Vinturions. Linton “the 12.49 express to Brighton” Neill stepped up to the mark again and clean bowled the Griffins opener, with the Paul “I’m going to bowl spin until I get angry” Havlar dismissing the other opener the very next over. Game on. (The grunting when bowling from the both of bowlers would have put Monica Seles to shame)
With the wind back in their sails, the Vinturions upped their game, with new-found bowling sensation, John Grieveson cleaning up both Pullan brothers. The required run rate continued to rise for the Griffin with some fine fielding especially from Ivan Vuckovic, an overworked Victor Chapman at long on and one of the stops of the day from a sliding Tim Sykes on the boundary. But the Griffin were kept in the game by the no balls of Harry Fawkes. Rumours about mobile phone links to Karachi, and suitcases full of unmarked notes were never proved. And so it came down to the last over once more. The Griffin needed 13 to win, with Linton keeping form bowler John Grieveson back to bowl it. After 2 off the first ball, the 2nd ball was right on the money knocking back the middle stump. A tight rest of the over closed the game out and the Vinturions celebrated like there was no tomorrow recording a wonderful, long-time-coming win. Man of the match: Linton Neill