With a world-weary sigh, both regular readers of this column will note that we drag out the same headline for this fixture every year. Doesn't matter whether we win, lose or draw, it is a 'Steep learning curve' when we play this fine team from the Petersfield 'burbs. On this occasion, the curve was on experienced by their youngsters who had a couple of brave/painful fielding lessons.
It was their turn to come to us, on a fine June afternoon, and although they won the toss that was alright by Fernhurst's blossoming opening pair of Matt Westley and Chris Williams. Westley scored five boundaries on his way to 25 but this time he was outscored by Williams who made 72. Joe Unwin, at three, made 33, mostly from exocet boundaries before a craven Fernhurst collapse. Freeman, Langridge, Raymond, Kent, Ralfe and Vigar made just 17 between them, the latter being clean bowled by a substitute fielder he had leant to the other team. Fernhurst's Under 13 star Harry Adey was on top form despite clear instructions to 'not be too good'. But when the Fernhurst tail wags, heavens, what a wag it is. Bill Gourlay scored four sixes on his way to 47 while Geoff Howe made 20 pushing FCC to 221 from 35 overs. As Geoff would bashfully point out later, his runs would prove to be absolutely crucial.
After a lavish tea, at which Adey was tempted by a big money offer by Steep, FCC set about defending the target. Unwin and Gourlay made fantastic starts with several early wickets. Fernhurst's hapless skipper then released the choke hold, allowing his opposite number Jack Coles to show his run-making ability. Steep's skipper would end on 116 but it wasn't enough. Unwin finished on 7-0-31-3 and Gourlay 5-1-17-0. Rupert Raymond and Geoff Howe claimed wickets while Tim Freeman bowled two overs which will live long in the memory. Chris Williams finished it off with a superb spell of 5-0-10-3 as Steep ended on 203.
The Sunday XI only plays very friendly friendlies and this newish fixture with Steep was a great showcase. Cricket was very much the winner.
Along with Fernhurst.