It’s Cricket – but just not as a we know it.

The traditional smell of willow and leather, freshly mown grass, and the enticement of a Vitoria Sponge at tea is now mixed with that of Aloe Vera hand sanitiser and anti-bacterial wipes for the ball.  Batsmen must now run in ‘socially-distanced’ lanes and swing bowlers will lament the lack of sweat on a ball desperately in need of a shine.  But for all of these things, cricketers in Walsham rejoiced at, once again, taking to the field.

Following the trial of the intra-club match the previous week, Saturday saw the return to competitive cricket with Walsham 1st XI taking part in a hastily arranged mini-tournament with local sides.  The opening fixture was against a competitive Stowupland side – keen to score a victory over the higher-ranked Walsham team.

Under leaden-skies, with the portended rain expected later in the afternoon, Walsham won the toss and elected to bat.  Cricket is very much a game of momentum and firm foundations, so a slow, but uneventful opening stand of 36 between skipper, Liam Bryant and Oli Jackson was just what the side needed.  Stowupland switch to spin to break the partnership and were rewarded when Bryant, looking to force the pace, was bowled by the off spinner.  The loss seemed to catalyse Jackson, who started to shift through the gears efficiently.  

Ashley Forbes joined in the party with some lusty-hitting form the young butcher, before perishing in the deep, but Jackson continued to romp, depositing the Stowupland attack into both the Clubhouse and the neighbouring field in a run-a-ball hundred.  Jackson eventually carried his bat for the innings, leaving undefeated on 157 not out, with a challenging total of 225 posted in the 40 overs.

Both sides retired for their solitary teas – no communal tea urns allowed under government guidance.  The skies had darkened, and there seemed little chance of completing the game.  Nonetheless, the Walsham attack, led by Forbes bowling up the hill, did damage early.  Forbes took early wickets nipping the ball in off the seam, accounting for the opposition top order – Bryant taking a sharp chance at second slip, one nicking to the keeper French, and the third seeing his off-stump pegged back from an in-ducker.

Stowupland were in dire straits at 45-5 when the heavens opened, and with the covers in place – there was no chance of resumption.  Jackson and Forbes will feel aggrieved that their form with bat and ball respectively had not seen a victory – but it will give the side hope heading into the next fixture away to Battisford on the 1stAugust.

Sunday revealed a glorious day, and a friendly match against local side Risby did end in the deserved victory for Walsham.  Sunday cricket is very much about the spirit of the game and getting families involved.  Father and son, Richard and Jono Boucher, Suffolk Girls cricketer Sylvie Melvin and new member James Gray all contributed to a wonderful 57 run victory.  In another match where a stand out performance with the bat was the difference between the sides, and elegant 91 runs from Adam Howe saw Walsham outclass the Risby side.

If you are interested in getting back into cricket or learning new skills – please do contact the Club at 


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