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Gents' fez match special

PUBLISHED: 11:28 30 June 2010 | UPDATED: 17:38 01 July 2010

Saxlingham Gents squad for  the match against Stansted Park.

Saxlingham Gents squad for the match against Stansted Park.

Milton Lindsay

Fez-wearing Saxlingham Gents cricketers blazed a winning trail in scorching sunshine as they recorded only their fourth match victory in 17 annual tours. The fun-loving veterans savoured a rare success by a one-run margin during their gruelling tour of Winchester and Mid Hampshire.

Saxlingham Gents in action at Stansted Park where cricket has been played since the 18th century.

Fez-wearing Saxlingham Gents cricketers blazed a winning trail in scorching sunshine as they recorded only their fourth match victory in 17 annual tours.

The fun-loving veterans savoured a rare success by a one-run margin during their gruelling tour of Winchester and Mid Hampshire.

With an average age of about 55, the hardy annuals played four ultra-social games in as many days at Steep, The Hampshire Bowman, Stansted Park and Hawkley.

Each year the Gents have a tour “motif”. Last year's was pipes; this year's, chosen by Tony Woodward, was fezzes.

Tour co-ordinator Pat Barrow explained: “We figured that if the Turks and North Africans could wear them in searing heat without succumbing to sunstroke, then so could the Gents. It worked! We started with a squad of 16 players, and, despite the scorching temperatures and an array of injuries, we were still able to field 11 fit (albeit slightly frazzled) players on the Sunday.”

The casualty list was headed by Roger Durrant who tripped and fell face first to the ground while fielding.

“He ended up with a multi-coloured face. We might have to fine him for such a poor showing in the field,” said Pat. The age of the players ranged from Sam Daisley (42) to Stewart Bradley (65), who made his annual pilgrimage from Cornwall to join the party.

Based amid the mediaeval splendour of Winchester, the Gents played against a backdrop of stunning South Downs scenery.

No venue was more atmospheric than a pitch adjacent to Stansted Park, a 17th-century stately home just inside the West Sussex border, where cricket has been played since the 1740s.

Here the Gents recorded only their fourth tour win ever with a final ball one-run victory.

In all four games, they were treated to “unstinting hospitality” by friendly opposition.

“We took away some valuable lessons from this tour, notably that fielding and batting in a fez isn't easy and that maybe four games in as many days is pushing it a bit at our age,” said Pat.

Some notable performances included Sam Daisley (25 not out v Steep on his tour debut), David Webb (25 not out v The Hampshire Bowman), ex-Norwich City physio Tim Sheppard (63 not out v Stansted Park); Nick Phelan (3-34 v Stansted Park); David Pointer (3-31 v Stansted Park); Richard Pearson (39 v Hawkley); Pat Barrow (25 v Steep and 36 v Hawkley) and Bob Turner (28 v Hawkley).

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