Probably the most unremarkable statistic of the Pocklington Pixies’ 56th annual tour, was the fact that they were able to play five full fixtures (and it should have been six had Eastbourne not called the game off too early) when the weather back home might have allowed only one day’s play.
At Holmesdale on Sunday, the hosts stuttered to 156 all out, with David Suddaby (3-10), Joel Hughes (2-24) and John Micklem-Cooper (2-32) causing problems.
In reply, Charles Lambert (89) played his best innings for the Pixies and, with long-serving tourist Phil Balderson (22 not out), saw the side to victory.
On Tuesday, at Haywards Heath, it was a similar story.
The hosts struggled to 154, with David Suddaby (4-24) again to the fore, backed up by brother Chris (2-2) and tour debutant Marcus Smith (2-30).
Steve Burdett, also on debut, led the reply with 45, Henry Mitchell (33) batted confidently and skipper Hughes (26 not out) saw the tourists to a comfortable three-wicket victory.
At Marden the next day, it was the Pixies’ turn to bat first. Miles Pinknett (31) got the side off to a steady start and Iain Moorhouse (23) reached his highest ever score.
But, at 109-7, the Pixies were wobbling. Steve Burdett (49 not out) and Matthew Atkinson (44 not out) then blasted their runs off 28 and 29 balls respectively, allowing skipper Joe Moore to declare at 202-7.
The hosts were never really in the hunt after meagre spells from Matthew Stacey (2-25) and Burdett (2-5), but looked like hanging on for a draw until Atkinson (2-9) and John Burrans (2-17) struck vital blows, and a match-winning catch by the skipper at forward short leg clinched the win in the final over.
Thursday’s game at Hastings also went to the final over and was a close encounter.
The hosts reached 217-6 off their 40 overs, with the Suddaby brothers taking two wickets apiece.
Again, a good start by Pinknett (58) and Moore (27) put the Pixies in charge until a minor collapse caused concerns.
Burdett (36) and Atkinson (36) rallied, but both were out in sight of victory.
With seven needed off the last over, Chris Suddaby found the boundary fielder who turned a six into an excellent catch, leaving the Pixies all out, six short of the target.
In the final game at Ashford, tiredness was creeping in and the Pixies’ total of 140 was never going to be enough.
Atkinson (33), Smith (29) and David Suddaby (22) all battled hard.
The hosts looked comfortable at 120-3, but two quick wickets apiece for Burdett and Moorhouse revitalised the Pixies and made Ashford work hard for their victory.
Andrew Inns had a couple of games and gets nearer the record for the highest number of appearances, and Iain Gladstone must be thanked for dashing down to Haywards Heath when three late call-offs nearly caused embarrassment early on in the week.
Also, thanks go to Graham Thurlow for all his umpiring duties, except on the day he was badly stung by a wasp!