Last Saturday was one of those special days that we get now and again at the club, the days you just don’t want to miss. Winning our first league title in 2010, the 2nd XI v 3rd XI cup final in 2013, winning back to back evening league titles in 2014 and 2015, the visit of Bairstow and Balance for a net in 2014. All special days and hopefully we have many more to come.
Top of the table Green Lane were visiting, looking to do another job on us after their 200+ run defeat in week one and who arguably have the best bowling attack in the league backed up by some very good batsmen.
It is fair to say that our confidence wasn’t very high, with 8 of the 15 man 1st XI squad unavailable and going into the game only a week after not being able to chase down 117. With the recently reseeded wicket looking as good a track as had been seen for a few years, it was vital that captain Lander won the toss, which for the first time in six weeks, he did. Choosing to bat first was the easiest decision he has had to make all season.
So, on the stroke of 1pm, Ewan and Sachin walked out to the crease with the expected verbals from the opposition already starting. First ball to Ewan flies past the edge of his bat and the verbals get louder. Fortunately both batsmen knuckled down and grafted out 50 runs in the first 10 overs and with the next 50 coming in 5.5 overs and another coming in 4.4 overs, Chads were well on top and momentum was building ball by ball.
The opposition verbals were long gone apart from one player on the boundary who had realised that sledging on the field was no longer an option and so decided to inform the groundsman that we had a small s**t ground. Small yes, s**t no. If only he hadn’t rushed off so quickly after the game we would’ve been able to highlight that both the wicket and outfield were awarded the maximum 5 out of 5 by the umpires.
Anyway, Sachin fell with the score on 185, just as discussions had already started about what the club record 1st wicket partnership was, which despite the website showing 193 between Mark ‘Bails’ Bailey and Howard, a 200+ was recalled in a 2nd XI game (we must update the records more often).
Despite captain Lander coming in at three to play his usual attacking game, this is where the rest of the team began their supporting role in The Ewan Show.
In the 35th over, Ewan reached 100, having faced 108 balls and hitting 17 fours and a six. With the relief of reaching three figures, the floodgates opened. His next 50 notched up after only 20 balls and another 50 off the next 17 balls saw him not only pass the club record for the highest innings in a 1st XI league match of 163* held my Matthew ‘Taffy’ Stevens for over 20 years but also the club record for the highest innings in any match of 182 held by Nick Revell in a 1st XI cup match in 2015. Never before had the club seen a double ton.
The team eventually reached a mammoth 427 and with another 23 added in his remaining 12 balls, Ewan reached 223* with 172 of them coming from boundaries after 25 fours and 12 sixes. With plenty of cheers, clapping and hand shaking, Ewan finally made it back to the changing room to start collecting the match fees before he went out to open the bowling. No rest needed.
A fantastic innings, which may never be surpassed, not only at our club, but also in the Aire Wharfe. No other batsman has reached such a score in any of the tens of thousands of league matches over the 126 year history of the league. The record had been held by a player from neighbours Kirkstall Educational since 2003. One of their supporters kindly bought Ewan a pint in Woodies after the game on behalf of their club to say congratulations. Nice touch.
Back to the game. Green Lane then batted, didn’t score anywhere near enough and lost. 20 points in the bag for Chads and hopefully the start of a promotion charge.
Fortunately, with 60+ years of Chads between them, both club Chairman, Paul ‘Bez’ Berry and Taffy were there to watch.
The Chairman said, “I have not seen, and will most likely never see anything like that again. It is fantastic to see any player in our club reach goals that they never thought were possible but for it to be a player who has come through our junior ranks, makes it even more special. To put in this performance against a very verbal team sitting at the top of the table, as opposed to an understrength relegation contender, shows the mental toughness of Ewan. Also, what many won’t know is that Ewan was at the club from 9am that day coaching our All Stars kids before rolling the wicket and square for an hour or so. A Chad through and through”. Asked about clubs approaching Ewan, the Chairman said, “Let them waste their time. Players like Ewan only ever play for one club. If any club thinks they can tempt him away by waving some cash, they should be embarrassed. They should spend their money bringing their own kids through as we have always done at Chads”.
As for Taffy, he said, “I was at home on Saturday afternoon with an hour or two to spare and after checking the live scores on the website I thought I’d pop down to Chads for a quick watch and hopefully catch Euey make his ton (he was in the 70s I think when I left). I don’t get down that often on a Saturday after retiring a few years ago and I didn’t think I’d still be there 2 hours later after he’d caned another 150 from the league leaders’ attack!! It was incredible and went way past the 163* I scored against Sicklinghall in the Wetherby League over 20 years ago now, but Euey’s score on Saturday was on another level though and you never know, Euey might have a few more of those days and double tons in him – he’s good enough”!
Overall, an unforgettable day, not only for Ewan but all those who were fortunate enough to have played alongside him or watched from the side lines.
To have a player like Ewan as a role model for our current crop of juniors is fantastic. Hopefully he will inspire them to reach their potential and join what will then be ‘Old Man Brannan’ in the 1st XI.
Well done Ewan!
Click here to view the scorecard.
Updated 18:24 - 8 Jul 2019 by Paul Berry