Big Bash 2022 - Old Fonthillians win on last ball of the day!

So, the 9th year of FPCC’s very own Big Bash was celebrated in fine style this weekend, with swash buckling cricket, many champagne moments, teamsmanship and sporting gestures. The report below was written by Charlie Nichol, founder of the tournament and Weeping Willows skipper.

The tournament welcomed two new teams in the names of the Wilton Wobblers and the Langford Lads and welcomed back two entertaining old faces in the form of the Dorset Knockers and Tisbury Full Tossers.

The Wilton Wobblers were predominantly made up of youngsters from South Wilts, with two Dads. One young player drafted in had barely lifted a cricket bat before the tournament, and yet showed great hand-eye co-ordination with the bat and brilliant ball skills in the field. As a unit, they were competitive and will no doubt be an even greater challenge to their opponents in years to come. The Langford Lads displayed an even greater appetite for success and with tremendous grit, determination and skill, battled their way to the final, ably led from the front by Andy Bazen.

The group stages were hard fought, with several tight games going down to the wire. Indeed, having registered a slightly below-par score themselves, Dorset Knockers came close to a HUGE upset, restricting pre-tournament favourites Old Fonthillians, to needing a run off the last ball to win the match. Had Old Fonthillians failed, resulting in a tie, Dorset Knockers would have won the game on Net Run Rate, which was an irony in itself given that

the man in charge of the Net Run Rate calculations was the meticulous Peter Catarinella, a playing member (and stalwart) of the Old Fonthillians. Facing the last ball was skipper Rupert Murray who guided the ball with a “wafted” drive (he didn’t hit it) through the legs of Jim Chetwode, the the Dorset Knockers wicket-keeper and skipper for the winning run. Thid was perhaps the only moment of the tournament when tempers flared; understandably, Jim was mauled by his own players.

While rain threatened for much of the morning session, it held off until the Wooden Spoon play-off. Rain swept in and the covers were swiftly brought on and, for a brief moment, there were murmurings that the net run rate might dictate the victors, not just for the wooden spoon but for the whole tournament. On that basis, the Weeping Willows might just have had a chance of being champions. They showed solid early form in the group stages with bat and ball through the likes of big hitting Janes and skills with the ball from a strong bowling unit, including Partons junior and senior, Phillips, Pearce and Peters (the five P’s), not to mention Cranmer, but that was the closest they got, beaten in the second semi-final by a brilliant fielding performance of their own from the Langford Lads.

After the brief rain interruption, the Dorset Knockers set about their business with gusto, scoring a massive 78 runs in six overs. However Wilton Wobblers weren't perturbed and came close to overhauling their opponents' big total, falling just short in the last over. This was in fact the Dorset Knockers' first ever victory in the tournament, in their 7 years of trying. They now have the Wooden Spoon trophy to show for it!!

The first semi-final was a great spectacle, between the Old Fonthillians and Tisbury Full Tossers who, it must be said, took entertainment to another level. While the Full Tossers gave everything, they were out-gunned by a solid all-round performance from the OFs.

The final, between the Langford Lads and the Old Fonthillians was played in great spirit. The Old Fonthillians went in to the match with a degree of confidence, having already beaten their opponents in the group stages. This was almost their undoing, when they posted a below-par score of 51. This in spite of the heroics of the swash-buckling Ed Hobbs, who hit one six

over the road and almost in to the lake, retiring undefeated on 20. The Langford Lads batted brilliantly but despite their best efforts they came up short, coming a close second.

In amongst some brilliant cricket were moments of amusement. The Wilton Wobblers providing one particular moment in the Wooden Spoon final just after the rain delay, when both their batsmen went for a quick single but a decent throw stopped them in their tracks.... they both turned back only to slip in unison. A run-out seemed inevitable but, in the melée, the wicket keeper failed to take the ball cleanly. Instead, it skittled passed the back-up fielder away to the boundary for four overthrows.

The champagne moment though belonged to a Full Tosser, when fielding against the Old Fonthillians in the first of the semi-finals. The batsman skied a mis-timed pull shot towards the oak trees and, from the pavilion at least, it looked a dead cert that the “fleet footed” fielder was about to take a brilliant catch. He dived…. swan-like….. The crowd fell silent…. The fielder crashed to the ground, face first…. it was only when the ball landed that the packed pavilion realised that the fielder was some 10 metres from the ball; the catch was never on! It took some three minutes before the match could continue, while the fielders, batsmen and umpires composed themselves. This epitomised the way in the which the Full Tossers played their cricket, with a smile on their faces. They have been missed these last few years but we hope we will see them again next year.

Honours went to the Old Fonthillians and Young Player of the tournament was awarded to Charlie Prior, from the same team, for his excellent fielding throughout the tournament and a brilliant wicket in particular that went some way to ensuring that Rupert Murray was, once again, able to hold the trophy aloft. The team are pictured above with the Oldest Fonthillian but evergreen Dave Roberts can be seen with his feet off the ground!

Trophies aside, cricket was the winner. A great day was had by all, players and spectators alike, of which there were many. Our thanks to all those who took part and all those who came to watch, the captains for pulling their teams together and most particularly to all those who helped in the build up and on the day; ground preparation, admin, on the barbecue, behind the bar, selling raffle tickets and so much more. You know who you are. Thank you. What a day! Thanks too to those who donated raffle prizes; particularly to Frieda Yeo for her self-woven cushion, the Grosvenor Arms in Hindon for a meal for two and Gardner & Beedle for a magnum of rosé. Thank you. Until next year.

Charlie Nicoll

The other aim of the day was to raise funds for charity, through the barbecue, raffle, bar profits and players' match fees. Our principal charity this year will be the Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal, but with support also for local charities the Wilts Air Ambulance, Seeds4Success and Solent Mind. In total we raised a superb £1255. Thanks to everyone who contributed to the success if the day and submitted photos, some of which can be seen in the slideshow above.

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