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Birkett Long vs Sound Financial

View profile for Keith Songhurst
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On a muggy summer’s evening at Hutton Cricket Club, the Birkett Long cricket team took to the pitch for its first game in a year against Sound Financial.  We don’t get out much these days but the opportunity to combine a pleasant evening in the sunshine with friends and business partners, with raising funds for the Rob George Foundation was too good to be missed.

Teams on both sides comprised a variety of colleagues, family members and business partners.  The BL team comprised David Cant, Tim Ogle, Mark Wrinch, Keith Songhurst, Martin Hopkins, Sam Francis, Calum Irvine, Barry and Ethan Read (Claire’s husband and son), Nick Forsyth (from Lambert Chapman), James Forsyth (Nick’s son), Alex Burness (Cheryl’s son) and his friend Ellis Critchell.

Sound won the toss and elected to bat.  20 overs a side with each player other than wicket keeper having to bowl 2 overs meant that everyone got a go.  It also meant that there was nowhere to hide!  Hopkins and Ogle opened the bowling and, despite some tidy bowling, Sound were quickly into their stride, scoring steadily from the start.  Irvine and Burness were next to bowl.  Burness slowed the run-rate down with some sharp deliveries but it was Irvine who got the breakthrough when the batsman played an awful delivery from the Scot back on to his own stumps.  There was, however, no denying Irvine’s class in the next wicket to fall, as he ran-out the other opener with a direct hit from the field when he had only one stump to aim for.

Then up stepped young debutant, Sam Francis.  In a breath-taking bowling display, many of Francis’ deliveries were completely unplayable.  The fact that this was because they sailed 6 feet over the batmen’s heads is neither here nor there!

Further wickets fell to Songhurst, Critchell and both Forsyth jnr and snr, with Ogle, Critchell and Irvine all holding on to good catches, but the runs kept coming, resulting in a formidable total of 163 being set.

Following a welcome cricket tea kindly laid on by the Hutton W.I., much of which Cant proudly wore on the front of his cricket shirt for the rest of the evening, it was BL’s turn to bat.

Burness and Ogle opened the batting, but some tight bowling and fielding kept the scoring down and the required run-rate began to creep up.  Burness (14) and Ogle (9) were both eventually stumped as they looked to move the scoring on, bringing Forsyth snr and jnr to the crease.  Forsyth snr didn’t hang around for long, caught for 0, and was followed soon after by his son, after a quick 5.

A BL victory was beginning to look more and more unlikely.  How we could have done with a steadying Rob George innings, who played many times for the firm over the years, to get us back on track.

Instead, BL’s hopes fell on to the shoulders of Wrinch and Irvine.  Irvine, showing his desire to win, showed the youngest player in the Sound team no mercy as he promptly despatched him for 3 successive boundaries.  Wrinch too began to find the middle of the bat with regularity and their partnership provided some much needed runs, Wrinch retiring unbeaten on 32 and Irvine eventually falling for 29, a new record for a Scottish batsman.

With overs running out, the remaining batsmen had to throw caution to the wind somewhat (well that is my excuse for being caught for 1 anyway!) with Critchell, Francis and Cant all sacrificing their wickets in swift fashion for the cause.  It was great to see the next generation coming through at the end of the innings, Barry Read being joined at the crease by his 9 year old son, Ethan, who confidently struck several runs, barely missing a ball, and easily outplaying his old man (and many of the rest of us) in the process!

BL were eventually all-out for a respectable, though somewhat lacking, 123, giving Sound a well-deserved victory.

The evening didn’t end there though, with a barbecue kindly tended by Cheryl Burness to be endured enjoyed.

Thanks to all who played and came to watch.  All players paid match fees, which were generously doubled by Sound, and a special mention to Hutton Cricket Club, not only for the use of their facilities, but also for the “subs” that were also donated by their players who were training down there whilst we were there.  All told, the evening raised £345 for the Rob George Foundation, and it felt fitting to have done so in an environment in which many of us had previously enjoyed Rob’s company on many occasions in the past.

A massive thank you from all of us at BL and The Rob George Foundation to our friends at Sound Financial. Paul, Andy, David, Tina and the crew did us proud and went to a lot of time and trouble to put this event together – a most enjoyable evening! We are already talking about a rematch in 2015 at Castle Park so watch this space.