Rovers week 2022
2022, the year we re-announced ourselves in the Cricketer Cup, and reclaimed the pavilion balcony.
I think this photo best sums up the week, scorchio, but not as scorchio as the one which would follow! Following yesterday's disappointing defeat to Bradfield in the Cricketer Cup quarter-final Rovers Week kicked off proper against the team we haven't beaten for about a decade now, although we did manage a tie last season, Uppingham Rovers.
Having won the toss Hector decided we'd have a bat in awesome conditions, and at 39-2 after 11 overs might have been ruing that decision. But our 'overseas pro' Rohan manufactured a beautiful century and with a little help from Pete Rayward and Matt Lee scrambled us up to a semi-competitive 216 off our 40 overs.
The skipper opened up with Matt but despite an early breakthrough, Uppingham's 2nd wicket fell on 105, and that was as good as it got as an unbroken stand of 107 saw them home with nine balls to spare.
Close but no cigar...once again!
So a few bevvies were taken in the President's arms before retiring to The Bridge, a stone's throw from our AirBnB, and a pebble's throw from the curry house.
And so to Tuesday, the Sussex Martlets in an 'all day' game. A refreshingly young Rovers side found themselves in the field on another hot and muggy day. Jeff Kerr-Dineen took the new ball with Matt and was soon in the wickets as the Martlets wilted to 69-5. But J Richardson who went in at 1 could not be shifted, and when he was finally out for exactly 100, LBW to George Welsby he'd put on 148 for the 6th wicket with 'Degsy minor' Felix, who scored a brilliant 62*, Martlets declaring on 245-8 off 49 overs. Jeff was the pick of the bowlers finishing up with 3-46.
Hector opened up with debutante George Nott, the latter going for a swashbuckling 8, and a couple of quick wickets put us in a similar to that which the Martlets had found themselves in. But another 'overseas pro' Jan De Jager steadied the ship, and he put on 53 with Hec before the skipper was out for 61, Jan went on to record another ton, finishing 102*, and the game meandered to a draw. The Rovers finishing on 220-7, an honourable draw.
Wednesday saw the return of the Old Canleighans to Lancing for the first time in over a decade, we play them home and away on alternative years again. On another beautiful day they decided to bat first, and soon found themselves 52-2 courtesy of a couple of Matt Lee wickets. But as seems to have been the pattern this week, a centurian appeared from nowhere. R Merry scoring a super 116, and with a little help from his friends the OCs posted a more than respectable 294-6 off their 40 overs, this would take some chasing.
We didn't quite manage it, but Jaime Chester scored a great 49 before being run out, Rohan knocked up 45 opening the batting, but it was Rocco Gamblin who scored a superb 73 batting at 8 who takes the honours, putting on 76 with Isaac Abatan which almost got us over the line. In the end we finished on 268, losing by just 26 runs, a great effort, and one which led to the Cottage Tandoori!
We should have been playing Oundle Rovers on Thursday but they had to abandon their tour unfortunately as they had too many late drop-outs. We need to make sure they get back on the horse soon as they're a good bunch of lads. But as you can see from the view of Brighton Beach above, it was another toastie day, and a day off was well received by some.
And so to the last day of the tour, the Ivy Club, this is supposed to be a nice relaxing, friendly end to the tour. Well it was certainly friendly, but having decided to play a 30 over game because of the weather, the Rovers then contrived to concede no fewer than seven free hits, as well as 20 other extras as the Ivy enjoyed first use of the deck. 20-2 became 136-5 became 182-7, a very decent target to set. The President even turned his arm over, bowling two overs of not too offensive leg spin!
In reply, the batting order, having been picked out of a hat at the behest of skipper George Holman - you weren't allowed to swap by the way - was a little random. Steve Crosby opening up with Matt Lee for example, 13-1, 41-2. A rare visit by Jamie Betts, fresh off his covid sick bed produced a surprisingly fluid 31 but we still found ourselves in a bit of a pickle at 73-4. But cometh the hour cometh the man, Franklin junior, Ethan strides to the crease, as far as were concerned more of a bowler than a bat, but wow. He played a cracking innings finishing up 49* and with the help of young Felix Aylett scoring his annual quota against the Ivy, a very fine 33, it was left to the skipper to see the ship home with Ethan with a brisk 20*. Rovers win by 6 wickets - huzzah.
The only outstanding issue was who would take home the 'Swordfish Trophy', probably the most famous and weird in world sport. It was a no-brainer, and he was extremely unlucky not to win it in 2021, but it went to Matt Lee who played all week, took wickets, scored runs, drank beer, ordered pizzas, disrespected the President and was brave enough to invite his lovely girlfriend to the ground, and out with the Rovers to The Bridge - well done Matt, top effort.
So a very enjoyable, if exhausting six days for those with the stamina to see it out, there were two visits to the Cottage Tandoori and sponsorship opportunities with The Bridge. It was a year too far for the Rovers gazebo though, but a new version will arise from the ashes next season. We blooded a number of Rovers, young and not so, all good lads who will hopefully serve the club with distinction in the coming years. We bowed out of the Cricketer Cup with our heads held high, our win percentage since being readmitted (which is a KPI of the competition) is double what it's been historically so well done to all involved in that campaign. And of course we got Mason to don the famous Rovers colours, just need to work on Alice Capsey now.
So we need to thank a lot of people, the College for allowing us to play there, the Foundation office for their support, both physically and 'on the socials', the catering staff, the groundstaff (there were 2,306 runs scored across the five matches at a rate of 5.8 an over!), Raj Maru, Midge Martin with his unique way of communicating with umpires, Nige, Nige & Nick from the Lancing Club, Dickie Dutton for his ridiculous unwavering support, and everyone and anyone who gave up some of their time to the Rovers in whatever capacity especially the match managers etc. Hector and George in particular.
So here's to going at least one better in the Cricketer Cup next year and we hope to see as many of you supporting and playing for the Rovers next season.
El Presidente - July 2022.