We had less chance than Eddie the Eagle

Torbay Weekly

After winning the Brockman Cup Final, at the seventh attempt in eleven years, my team, Wellswood, would have been happy if the 1974 season had ended there and then!

But it was traditional that the winners of the Brockman Cup (the junior club competition) played an end-of-the-season match with the winners of the Narracott Cup (the senior club competition) for the Kendall Meek Trophy.

What chance did Wellswood, the six times losers of the Brockman Cup, have against Torquay Corinthians, the six times winners of the Narracott Cup? It was such a mismatch that, in the days before the final, we rarely even talked about it!

The match was to be played at Queens Park in Paignton, and the local papers quoted us as 50/1 out-siders. 14 years later, Eddie the Eagle had a better chance of winning the Olympic ski-jump than Wellswood had of beating Corries that night!

When the fateful day came, I sat in our changing room and watched the Corinthians arrive.

There was Don Satterley (He took a hat-trick in last year’s final), there was Stuart Gibson (the best all-rounder in local cricket), then there was Paul Edwards (from Torbay’s leading cricket family).  Add the experience of captain Mike Janes, to the promise of Roland Scott and Johnny Mather, and you had a recipe for winning any local Cup Final.

Thank Goodness, Wellswood were a cheerful bunch, and quite used to losing. Tonight, it would be just a bit of fun with a few drinks afterwards.

Dave Street was telling a joke in the corner, and Barry Page-Dove reminded us that the Brockman winners had NEVER beaten the Narracott winners in this match anyway, so let’s all go down smiling!

My brother Tony was our captain this year, and he started well by winning the toss and choosing to bat on an overcast evening.

Tony, himself, opened the batting as usual, but didn’t last long. I followed him, and lost my off stump to Don Satterley for just 12, a couple of overs later.

The score was 20 for 3 when Ray Scott joined Barry Page-Dove and threw caution to the wind.  Suddenly, Satterley and Edwards looked less threatening, and the Corries fielding began to disintegrate.

Two catches were dropped, and some boundaries followed. Mike Janes, at mid-off, was losing patience with his bowlers! At the end of the 15 eight-ball overs, we had scored 103 for 5. We hadn’t disgraced ourselves, but it was not many to defend.

If we were to make a game of it, Dave Street and I needed to take some early wickets……. but it was not to be! Even our first-change, Pete Walsh, was ineffective.

With 48 balls left, and seven wickets in hand, Corries needed just 20 to win. My four overs were now bowled, and my brother came up for a chat.

“Rog, it’s getting dark, and we’re going to lose, so I’ll toss up a few off-breaks”

With three men saving one, and the rest on the boundaries, he began his first spell of bowling for many months.

Suddenly, the game changed and in failing light, wickets began to tumble. We held some great catches, and as the deficit narrowed, the batsmen took more and more chances. Tony took a hat-trick, and we added two more run-outs.

With three balls left Corries were on 102 for 7 needing just one to tie the match.

Two more wickets fell, and their last man faced the last ball, and missed it completely! We couldn’t believe it! We had won by one run!

Tony, who was a part-time bowler at best, ended up with 7/18 in his four overs! He never came near to getting seven wickets in an innings again.

Wellswood never won the Brockman Cup again, and, two years later, folded altogether.

But, none of us, who were involved, will ever forget the year we won both Cup Competitions against the longest odds imaginable……………but, I guess that’s why we loved sport in the first place!