I turn my back to the wind, To catch my breath, Before I start off again
Driven on, Without a moment to spend, To pass an evening With a drink and a friend
I let my skin get too thin; I'd like to pause, No matter what I pretend
Like some pilgrim; Who learns to transcend; Learns to live As if each step was the end
Time stand still; I'm not looking back But I want to look around me now
Time stands still; See more of the people And the places that surround me now
Time stands still; Freeze this moment A little bit longer; Make each sensation A little bit stronger
Experience slips away
Time stands still

If I’m honest I don’t remember my first senior game of cricket. If it wasn’t at home at Victoria Rec. there’s a very real chance it was away against BBC Caversham. Both my senior debut and my first game at BBC Caversham were at least thirty years ago. If I’ve played at an away ground more (perhaps Purley?) there aren’t many.

I have lots of memories of playing at BBC Caversham. I remember me and Ed having a few beers in the old bar in the portacabin before a game there once and both doing really well. We were both scared we had to drink four pints before a game to play well.

I remember bowling an opposition player and him putting the bails back on WG Grace style and saying he wasn’t out; remarkably he wasn’t.

I remember an opposition player being given out against a much younger Jamil when he shouldn’t have been. When I tried to call him back as captain he declined the invite and carried on walking off.

I remember Alan Crisford bowling Khadim leaving his first ball with the one than nips back after Ed had told him he was an away swing bowler.

I remember Bob tailgating someone in and getting his car stuck on the security ramp. Perhaps a highlight of any ground!

When I look back at the scorecard for the first time T&T played there in June 1997 my five-fer wasn’t enough: the BBC won the game by 4 wickets chasing 124.

But perhaps one interesting thing is whilst I’m the only player from either side that played today and I can perhaps understandably remember all of the T&T players I can also remember most of the BBC players. Tim and Mark opening the batting, the late Neil at no. 3 and amongst the others Alan, Eamonn O’Donnell and Derek Watkins (who played for us earlier in the season).

Which reminds me I have played for the BBC against T&T: I remember me and Derek playing out Mikey and Rob with a stick of rhubarb for the draw at Theale: my type of game.

Going back further I remember Gilksy being one of the best bowlers we played against. And I remember recruiting Phil Stephens from the BBC; and not just because I was so fed up of bowling against him.

But perhaps this is it; my last game at the BBC. It seems the grounds are finally to be sold off and the club will have to look for a new ground. Who knows where we will be playing them next year. Progress moves things forward for better or worse.

One of the reasons I moved in to the house I’m in now is because it was near our home ground at Victoria Rec. I’ve spent 21 of the last 22 years travelling to and back from Theale. Things move on. And mainly for the better.

I turn my face to the sun; Close my eyes, Let my defenses down
All those wounds; That I can't get unwound
I let my past go too fast; No time to pause; If I could slow it all down
Like some captain, Whose ship runs aground; I can wait until the tide comes around
Time stand still
I'm not looking back; But I want to look around me now
Time stands still
See more of the people; And the places that surround me now
Freeze this moment A little bit longer; Make each sensation A little bit stronger
Make each impression A little bit stronger
Freeze this motion A little bit longer
The innocence slips away
Time stands still

It was perhaps appropriate that today’s  game was a facsimile of so many I have played against BBC Caversham. In short we batted first and they batted out for a draw.

In slightly longer form they won the toss and not confident enough in their batting put us in. On a predictably difficult BBC Caversham wicket James and Paul opened up and worked hard against some tight opening bowling.

With Paul and James opening and Mike and me opening the umpiring the scoring was in interesting hands: keeping the total score on the clicker was a new challenge for me as umpire.

The scoring rate slowly built as the openers got used to the conditions and the bowling was shared around. The score was well past the 100 mark for no loss but seemingly no batter had reached the half century mark. Hammad sat down and helped the scorers and at least one of the batters was then clapped for their fifty with the other on strike and scoring.

Both James and Paul batted really well for their fifties; scores worth far more in other conditions.  The first wicket fell with the score on 127 in the 37th over. What followed was the entirely predictable flurry of runs and wickets that left the score on 168-6 in our 44 overs.

After tea George and Mike opened the bowling. George was unlucky not to get the first wicket when a very simple catch went down. His mood not helped by the next ball going for six.

Mike was bowling tight and well and took the first wicket with a very good caught and bowled. His second wicket was probably the ball of the day as he bowled Williams.

I then had a strange feeling of déjà vu as I had a perfectly good wicket given not out but it was soon followed by Sam’s first stumping for the club. With what was not a good ball it was soon followed by my 1400th wicket for the club. If not at Theale perhaps this was an appropriate game and place to do it.

Tom was bowling really well once he’d put Jamil’s spikes on and was taking wickets. He was also learning some bowling lessons from Jamil that he probably should not have been!

At 98-8 and one batter retired hurt we had about 8 overs to get the last wicket but couldn’t get across the winning line. We had played the last 15 overs or so in intermittent rain and when we finished it really was quite dark. There was genuinely a sense of something ending that to me at least seemed greater than the game. I walked off trying to take a mental picture of the scene to keep with me.

If this was the last time I have played at BBC Caversham I have some great memories of playing there. And as always with cricket the memories are mainly about the people rather than anything else. And that is something that can continue wherever we play them in the future.

I'm not looking back
But I want to look around me now
See more of the people
And the places that surround me now
Time stands still
Summer's going fast; Nights growing colder; Children growing up; Old friends growing older
Freeze this moment A little bit longer
Make each sensation A little bit stronger
Experience slips away
The innocence slips away
Time stands still

With thanks to Neil Peart