Philip Thompson (Horsley 1963)
I think those that know me would agree that I was no cricketer, although I did open the bowling for Hawkhurst 2nd XI back in my youth! I enjoyed playing Lynxes cricket just for being a member of a side - all of whom had come together to enjoy a game, which they wanted to win but were not too disappointed if they lost and for the setting of Big Side, There are not many better.I believe my first game was at Tunbridge Wells against the Bluemantles. I went out to bat and had to face Bernie Thomas and his off spin, which was a struggle. Jack Fryer came in after I had been out there for a few overs and hit the ball to all parts of the ground. We retired to the Sussex Arms in the Pantiles and a bit later I looked round for my lift back to Cranbrook, to find him gone. I cannot remember how I got home. About Bernie - I was coming back to the Windmill after a game against the Bluemantles to find him outside coughing away and he told me he had swallowed his false teeth. I suggested he should go to A & E but he said he was sure they would make their way out in due course. They did not and he had to have an op to recover them.There were one or two needle matches in the week, with that against the Town being the most obvious. The opposition nearly always came to have a good day’s cricket, win, or lose. There used to be eight games in the week, and I think the most times I played in a week was six.I spent quite a few years sorting out sides with frantic last minute telephone calls and my 'phone bill always went up just before and during Lynxes week. My two sons, James and Charles, helped with the task once they started playing. I also took over, from John Taylor,the handling of the money for the week which at times was a nightmare and I did that for several years even after I had stopped playing. After James had got married, his wife, Viv,found herself having to come and watch him play but she was then persuaded to take on the task of scoring, which she did very expertly - after she had learnt what the game was all about.One or two incidents that I remember (I can’t count!)1. John Furminger after lunch, having found the keys in the car, driving round the boundary in Jonny Bell's Porsche.2. Tim Barlow always bowling his loopers from the pavilion end (usually after tea) with the sun behind and him bamboozling more than one or two batsmen. I only remember one person completely missing the flight and being hit, I think on the nose, Peter West in an anniversary game.3. There was a gentleman who played for the Old Roffensians who always createdMontezuma’s revenge and cleared the pavilion.4. Margaret Firminger, having a forced dip in the plunge bath and coming out dripping wet, announcing "David we are going home" and storming out of the pavilion, not amused!5. Mrs T., arriving in the Windmill with my supper as I was somewhat late getting home and she had decided to bring it to me.6. My son, James, in a game against Tenterden, after I had taken a smart catch at gully. Due to my age, I had been promoted to that position after many years of going from mid on/off to fine leg/third man). I remember James apologising to the batsman "sorry bat he does not normally catch those”.7. One of my final games against the Scorpions and taking another catch at gully low down to my right to dismiss their opening bat, who had opened the batting for Cambridge in the varsity match. I did split the webbing on my hand for my troubles. Again, James was surprised.8. One Sunday game against the OMT I was out at deep mid-wicket and a high catch came towards me and I completely misjudged it and the ball landed six feet in front of me, which did not please the captain, John Taylor.9. My son, Charles, at short mid-on, blinded after looking up into the sun, missing a simple catch.10. A wheelbarrow of Pimm’s being taken out to the middle during a Racqueteers game because they needed topping up. They used to arrive in the Windmill before the game and the kitty master would ask for a brown drinking voucher (£10) from each of the team to start with. This was in the 1970s, please note!11. A game against Tenterden who had two Welshman playing for them. I think one had actually played for Wales – anyway, I caught them both out.12. Batting against the Judge in Scorpion games - when he had the certain knowledge that he would be able to get me out.13. I was part of the team that got bowled out for 31 by The Scorpions, who had two reallyquick bowlers, one of whom (Hudson) bowled off the wrong foot, David Firminger went out to bat and he decided the safest place to be was near the square leg umpire rather than in the crease.14. Nigel Wheeler ran the Scorpions all the time I played against them and I always enjoyed his company, He used to arrive with mainly Lancing and Eastbourne old boys but also the occasional "outsider". One year he had the opening bowler from Natal (South Africa), who was 6ft 3in tall and started his run up 2/3rds of the way back to the pavilion boundary. The ball arrived at great speed. I missed two deliveries, receiving both on my legs. It took some time for the bruises to disappear.15. Philip Hawkins used to come up for tea and volunteer to umpire. We usually accepted if we were fielding because we knew if we appealed for an lbw the batsman was doomed. He was a very gentle and kind man who did enjoy coming to watch.16. I was standing in the bar of the Windmill after a game against the Racqueteers and received a “wedgee”, which was uncomfortable and a surprise. Womersley was the perpetrator but I had my revenge by pulling him through the window of the pub over the iron bar which went across it.17. Rex from Bluemantles used to bat in green pimple gloves and get hit all over the body. He was the worst keeper ever to be seen on Big Side and yes he always left something dying in the gents for anyone in the pavilion to enjoy!18. One evening, having parked the car over near the Windmill, I went to drive out of Big Side only to find someone had put the lock on the gate. So I lifted the five bar gate off its hinges and drove home.19. I was playing when John Townsend had a hattrick bowling his leg spin, the first one everfor the Lynxes?20. Andy Bond was an outstanding wicket keeper and a good bat. He used to stand up to the wicket for Tim Spelling's bowling.Happy Days as I have said, and thanks to everyone for all the memories.