West Chiltington & Thakeham’s Cricket Week came to a climax last Friday as they welcomed an invitation team lead by former Sussex captain and England player Chris Adams.
The legendary Hove batsman was not the only former professional on show as he also roped in the services of Neil Lenham (ex-Sussex), James Kirtley (ex-Sussex and England) and Paul Aldred (ex-Derbyshire).
With a combined 829 first-class wickets and 32,516 runs between their visitors, West Chilt had their work cut out as they took to the field.
Both sides had a good mixture of youth and experience and it was the Adams All-Stars openers who made a good start as father and son Neil (53*) and Scott Lenham (39) racked up nearly 100 runs for the opening wicket.
A few contributions from the middle order including a last-over cameo from the captain himself saw the All-Stars finish on 206-6 from their 30 overs.
West Chiltington captain Steve Hodgson clearly saw the game as an opportunity to rotate the bowling and perhaps unearth some hidden talent for the following day’s league matches, using no fewer than 10 bowlers.
After a brilliant tea, the response got under way in the mid-afternoon sun that had now broken through.
The game continued its youthful feel as West Chiltington’s Ross Lucas and Matthew Goring faced up to a cunning combination of the youngest Lenham son and James Kirtley.
Both batsman acquitted themselves admirably and when Will Chambers (44), Nikhil Grover (39) and Charlie Davies (35) came to the crease to boost the run rate, the home team were in a very strong position.
Unfortunately, they hadn’t accounted for Kirtley and Aldred’s second spells - which came off their more traditional longer run-ups - restricting the runs and taking frequent wickets, meaning the hosts needed seven with two balls to spare.
When overseas player Batra then drove a flat six down the ground to take the scores level the odds were stacked back in Chilt’s favour only for him to be stumped off the last ball trying to replicated the same shot leaving the result of the game as a rather fitting tie.
The day was rounded off with a small prizegiving ceremony. A watch was awarded for the champagne moment and the trophy shared between the captains.
The day rolled into the evening with a BBQ as Adams, Kirtley and co stayed around to offer advice to both senior players in the clubhouse and also lend a hand with the junior training that was taking place.
Adams himself saying: “I love coming here and seeing the club grow. I hope to make this an annual fixture.”
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