On a warm sticky day at Warnford the Hogs welcomed the Royal Artillery XI back to the ground for the first time in 20 years and we weren’t disappointed! The Hogs put out a good balance of Hoggets, under 30 and over 30 Hog Members. The Royal Artillery had recently won the Armed Forces Cup!
Having won the toss, and perhaps eyeing the short boundary on the far side (we were playing on the further strip from the pavilion!) the RA elected to bat and came out with all guns blazing. C Ross hitting a quick fire 66 off 79 balls having negotiated good opening spells from Harry Foyle and Harry Bailey (oh…we had 4 Harrys playing for the Hogs!) who both hit the timber and deservedly so. However this only served to bring two outstanding batsmen to the crease – both of whom have represented the Combined Services XI so we were told – and who batted with elegance, power and timing. Thankfully we managed to dismiss G Wiseman for 46 with what proved to be the ‘champagne moment” of the match when Harry Bailey took an outstanding catch off Harry Came on the run from cow corner diving at the last minute to cling on to a beauty. What relief for the bowlers. However relief was short lived despite reducing the visitors to 180-5 at lunch off 30 overs.
In the afternoon session we started with high hopes of a respectable total to chase but in the next 23 overs we witnessed one of the most destructive, skilful and controlled assaults on the Hogs bowling many of us could ever remember – S Govender smashed his way with military precision to 137 off 76 deliveries being caught off the last ball of their innings. A small consolation for Captain Low! The Royal Artillery set a target of 338 to win off a possible 65 overs. Harry Came ended with notable figures of 4 for 88 while Harry Bailey took 3 for 77.
So a rather shell-shocked Hogs team retreated to the pavilion for a briefing and emerged with a mixture of youth and experience to open the batting. An early wicket for the visitors left Jonathan Grant and Harry Foyle to plot a course until tea at which point we were 95-1. We needed a big innings from our experienced players and Harry Foyle duly delivered. Grant made an important 33 to set a platform and then Harry Came joined Harry Foyle for the key partnership which took us to 241 for 3. Came’s thoughtful innings brought back memories of an older Came – a Hogs soldier from yesteryear – and he was eventually out for 53. Foyle motored on passed 100 and 150 with barely a misfire with some useful support from young hogget Freddie Egleston who looks a fine prospect with bat and ball. With Harry Foyle out for a punchy and impressive 186 off 192 balls and the score tantalising poised at 295 –6 with 10 overs left the Hogs could scent victory and with some firepower still in the tank we hoped for a memorable result. The lower order from 6 down had been sitting around for 50 odd overs and as we found out the Royal Artillery were never going to surrender – and so we made a mess of things with an England-like collapse with 4 overs to spare. Hogs all out for 316 – a great effort but no cigar but really proud of my men who never retreated.
653 runs and 20 wickets. 84 fours and 16 sixes. A battle royal indeed! The Royal Artillery will return next year with a full arsenal. You have been warned!