Legends and Wizzy served up a spectacle to celebrate 275 years of cricket in Wisborough Green – by Steve Calder Smith – Chairman of Wisborough Green Cricket Club.
What a great day. It was really a shame if you missed it or didn’t get involved. The green at Wisborough looked at its best last Thursday as Phillip DeFreitas brought his Legends team to West Sussex. The iconic setting was enhanced by a marquee where 250 guests enjoyed the most relaxed of lunches with a Pimms tent and a wine bar to slake their thirst. The tables – carefully named after cricket positions – were beautifully decorated and a special thanks must be made to Sheila and Brian Goodchild for their floral arrangements which helped to create the perfect atmosphere.
During lunch Roger Dakin had the audience crying with laughter as he compered the lunch brilliantly and told a string of totally outrageous stories and jokes. Maybe it was the wine, maybe it was his humour or maybe it was the singing of Robert Houston who was also a star performer, but the auction in the tent proved to be very successful. Lunch was incredibly relaxed , and a cooker malfunction affected neither the quality of the food nor the good humour in the tent. When the food was finally plated it was delicious and the Three Crowns Events Team should be proud of their efforts.
During lunch, and as a fund raiser for Chestnut Tree House, the appearance of a camel added a certain whimsy to the day. Selfies with the camel led to money being raised for this charity. It was great to see the interest it created and for one of my guests it was a real highlight.
When the match finally started the Legends team batted, with strong performances from Owais Shah and Phillip DeFreitas taking them to a total of 187-5. A lucky score for Chris Francis who bagged the first prize in the guess the score competition of £250. Once again this competition raised significant funds, (thank you to all who supported it) as did the raffle whose first prize of a barrel of booze (although I am not sure it was needed!!) went to Tommy Howard.
A couple of Wisborough Green colts starred with the ball and congratulations to both Tommy Colbran and Hughie Ragg for capturing the wickets. The latter being able to claim former England batsman, Owais Shah as a scalp.
The crowds had spilt out of the marquee and others had arrived to swell the numbers as Wisborough Green pursued the score. Ultimately they fell 17 runs short of the target with Byron Napper scoring an impressive 65 not out.
After such a day some decided to return home, but the Legends and many of the supporters sought refuge in the Cricketers where Craig and his team supplied more food and the essential lubrication. We were royally entertained by the man of many hats. I know when I staggered away as the clock tipped past 11.30 that I had had a great day. The e mails, texts and correspondence I received over the next few days assured me that the event was a real success. We are still not finalised in terms of accounts but hope to have raised more than £10,000 for the club junior development fund and Chestnut Tree House.
It is impossible to thank all those involved on the day and during the set up, but special mention should go to our main sponsors AJW, who contributed not only a donation, but a considerable amount of time and effort into making this day a success. I would also like to pay a special and massive thank you to Rachael Sadler of Lifestyle Sussex for her unflappable, hardworking support for the event. Everything that happened on the day, apart from the cricket match itself, was organised and coordinated through her. If any of you need an event planner look no further.
Finally, its days like these that help to put the cricket club on the map and show that even after 275 years of the sport in the village it can still be its heartbeat. Where would we be without the green and the sound of bat on willow. As another year passes, all of you who still would like to play the occasional game be you 15 or 65, fit or less fit, male or female, a novice or an experienced player, a batsman or a bowler; please make contact with me at Steve@is-health-group.co.uk . , we would love the club to be able to provide cricket for all comers, and if we know you are interested we can start to plan the fixture list for next year accordingly.