Continuing our popular series on sporting events involving the wine trade, Harry reports back from one of the most eagerly awaited fixtures in the Enotria calendar, the annual Enotria Vinturions v Griffin Inn match in Fletching, Sussex.
"This Saturday, in the village of Fletching, saw the latest cricketing instalment in the Vinturions CC vs The Griffin Inn CC saga that had seen 1 win to the Vinturions, 2 to the Griffin and, unbelievably, 3 ties.
The Vinturions team, as ever, was lead out to field first by Linton Neill who can count himself second only to Graeme Smith in the list of great South African cricketing captains (sarcasm? Ed). Summer had returned to the South East and the pitch was ablaze with sunshine. Unused to such conditions the Vinturion team were a mishmash of suntan cream, hats and sunglasses, with the most stylish award going to Riz Shaikh of the Columbo Group. Linton Neill led from the front dismissing the Griffin top order with pace and accuracy which brought the charismatic Griffin Inn captain, James Pullan, to the crease. Joe Wadhams, otherwise known as the 16.32 express from Dagenham, limbered up as a first change bowler and the battle of Sussex polish and finesse against Essex grit and steel commenced. After a couple of “looseners”, steel won the day as Joe got his scalp of the Griffin captain, cleaned bowled, leaving the Griffin at 10-4. The gentlemen of the Griffin Inn dug deep however and led by Ed Hooper put some good runs on the board, though were hampered throughout losing wickets regularly due to the exceptional bowling of Linton, Riz, John and Will. The last wicket fell at 115 and with 30 overs to chase the Vinturians were confident at tea.
Followers of previous accounts will know that a 115 run chase in this fixture means little. After over indulging on cake and sandwiches the Vinturions were 10-3 off 5 overs having seen a top order collapse due to some fantastic swing bowling from the Griffin. A steady middle order was needed and John Grieveson and Riz Shaikh delivered putting on a further 60 runs. 70-4 with 45 to get, easy in most books but not in the sweltering 28 degrees of September sun. ‘Hooper’ was back onto bowl and the wickets started to fall again with only “Keeper Joe” putting up a fight. With 16 to get, the last wicket partnership came together with “Keeper Joe” and “16.32 express Joe” looking the unlikely heroes, especially facing the Griffin’s form bowlers. “Get forward and keep a high elbow” Joe Wadhams repeated under his breath walking out to bat, taking his cue from Nasser Hussain’s masterclass on television the day before. Wise words from the ex-England skipper. Two off drives and textbook forward defensives later and the two Joes took the Vinturions within 5 runs. But the shot of the day was still to come. The No. 11, Joe Wadhams, unleashed a cover drive to the boundary of such finesse that Nasser would have taken his Essex County cap off to admire. A single at the other end closed this chapter leaving 2 wins apiece and 3 ties on the board. All to play for in 2013. Man of the Match: Who else? Joe Wadhams!"
Posted by Harry