@Yas_Wisden 3 minute read
Anyone who’s ever played the game has most likely been on the receiving end of a drubbing, and hopefully, has dished the odd one out too.
Victories don’t come much more comprehensive than Southowram’s over Augustinians (Woodhouse) last Sunday in the Halifax Cricket League’s Parish Cup, who, after piling on 272-5 from their 50 overs, rolled out the opposition for just six. Yes, six. The odd mismatch in cup cricket is inevitable but what makes the scoreline all the more remarkable is that the two sides are actually from the same division; this sort of result shouldn’t have been possible.
The day didn’t even start that well for the eventual winners. On a damp day they lost the toss and were put into bat, quickly finding themselves 27-2.
“On the previous Saturday, we were in a very similar scenario,” Southowram skipper Dean Crossley tells Wisden.com. “We bowled first on what seemed like a straight up-and-down [wicket] but when we went into bat it was hitting the old divots. So at the toss I was thinking, ‘We should bat first here.’”
Fortunately for Crossley’s side, the lost toss didn’t come back to bite them. Half-centuries from Ashley Johnson (57) and Yasir Mahmoud (81) and quickfire 40s from Matthew Jones and William Darby propelled Southowram to an imposing first-innings score.
After putting on such a total, Southowram were always going to be favourites, but nobody could have imagined the scale of the eventual winning margin. Enter, Neil Eastwood, a wily 58-year-old left-arm seamer in the prime of his cricketing career. According to his Play Cricket profile, Eastwood had averaged 7.84 and 10.83 in his previous two seasons.
Today’s 1st XI @HalifaxCL Parish Cup game against Augustinians is set to go ahead as planned, 1pm start.
Thanks to all at Augustinians in their efforts this morning to ensure that their ground is clear of water and good to go.
🏆 #UpTheRams 🐏 🏏
— Southowram Cricket Club (@SouthowramCC) May 9, 2021
On that Sunday, everything went his way. “Neil is the pensioner of the team,” explains Crossley. “We call him ‘The Pench’. He’s very steady, you know exactly what you’re going to get. He gives you control, he gives you what you need up front. Left-arm over, swings the ball, loves bowling to right-handers. He bowls wicket-to-wicket, which is what we set out to do.”
After a flurry of early wickets Southowram had the aim of keeping the opposition down to less than 50, but the wickets just continued to tumble. Crossley said: “When we kept taking wicket after wicket, we thought, ‘What’s actually happening here?’ Their number five clubbed a four down to cow corner and I thought, ‘Alright, this lad could prove to be a stumbling block’ – not in terms of winning the match but keeping us out there – but a couple of balls later, Neil bowled him.”
Soon after, Augustinians were 6-9 with a single-figure total on the cards. The number 11 was then dropped at square point before Eastwood’s partner in crime Ashley Johnson, polished proceedings off to finish with handy figures of 3-0 himself. Eastwood went home with the kind of numbers worthy of a tattoo – 5-4-4-7.
What does it feel like to win so comprehensively? Crossley provides insight very few are privileged to be qualified enough to give.
“We were in territory we’ve never experienced before, I don’t think many have to be fair. It was surreal. It didn’t feel real. It’s the only way I can put it. We were in a position that was so unfamiliar, it didn’t feel real. In one respect, you’re feeling bad. I felt sorry for the boys who kept coming in and out, and after the game, what do we say to these lads? ‘Thanks for getting the game on’? Which we appreciated. On the other hand, do you say well played? Do you say thanks? Cheers lads? It was a position that was slightly uncomfortable in one respect but pulled away from the other team, it was like, ‘Wow, we will never experience something like that ever again.’ It was rapturous. A very surreal feeling.”