Honiton CC roll back the years to revisit the 1990s!

PUBLISHED: 20:19 07 August 2017 | UPDATED: 20:19 07 August 2017

Back row are the pick of the league team from the 90's L-R Alan Osler,Derek Wellman,Phil Spong,Mike Summers,Gary Kennard,Barry Flicker,Steve Downton,Rob Johns,Phil Holland,Adrian Pullin,Connell Dunbar,Mike Wheeler,Josh Cann and Joel Seward. Front row are Honiton CC 1990's team L-R Paul Lapping,Andrew Lapping,Dave Hartness,Kevin Slynn,Brian Cann,Terry Linsdale,Phil Townsley,Gerry Carpanini,John Connett,Doc Wheeler and Paul Holland at Honiton cricket clubs 90's reunion match. Ref mhsp 32 17TI 9056. Picture: Terry Ife

Back row are the pick of the league team from the 90's L-R Alan Osler,Derek Wellman,Phil Spong,Mike Summers,Gary Kennard,Barry Flicker,Steve Downton,Rob Johns,Phil Holland,Adrian Pullin,Connell Dunbar,Mike Wheeler,Josh Cann and Joel Seward. Front row are Honiton CC 1990's team L-R Paul Lapping,Andrew Lapping,Dave Hartness,Kevin Slynn,Brian Cann,Terry Linsdale,Phil Townsley,Gerry Carpanini,John Connett,Doc Wheeler and Paul Holland at Honiton cricket clubs 90's reunion match. Ref mhsp 32 17TI 9056. Picture: Terry Ife

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Mountbatten Park, Honiton, became something of a time tunnel last Sunday when Honiton Cricket Club rolled back the years to stage a 1990s reunion.

The idea had come from Dunkeswell-based Brian Cann who captained what, in the mid 1990s was arguably ‘the top’ cricket side in the area as they won four successive league titles.

Cann, who still plays cricket – this season with Seaton and also Devon Over-50s – had the idea of gathering together as many as he could of that all-conquering Honiton side to play against a team comprising of players who played for various clubs against Honiton over that time.

There was one obvious candidate to bring together the Select XI – Barry Flicker – who had been a stalwart of the Axminster side of the 1990s that were arguably the side most likely to topple Honiton in any given game.

The day itself went like clockwork, the result between the two teams after a 30-overs-per-side contest, was a narrow win for the Select XI, but the outcome was not important – of far greater significance was the reuniting of old friendships from the cricket pitch of many moons before!

A marquee had been acquired in which Tracey Cann and Carol Kidson had put together a delicious pre-match ploughman’s lunch for all the players who also enjoyed mid-innings tea.

Brian Cann said: “In all my sporting years – and there’s been lots – I can’t think of any other time when I was quite as emotional. It was a day I’d have been happy had it never ended.

“It was almost as if we’d turned the clock back and been together every day for the current season. Seeing the lads again was just awesome.

“I’d not seen Connull [Connull Dunbar, his wife and three children travelled from their Cambridgeshire home to Honiton for the game] for a good 10 years, but it was like we’d been seeing each other daily over the past decade.”

Barry Flicker said: “It was a terrific occasion and we must praise Canny [Brian Cann] for what was some time-consuming effort to pull it all together.

“It was certainly a real honour to asked by him to assemble and skipper the team top take on his ‘all-conquering’ (his words by the way not mine!) side.”

“The teams were treated to some magnificent catering, with a splendid lunch before the game, including a delicious option of brownies and custard (which was clearly designed to slow down the opposition in the field!), a beautiful cream tea between innings, and a barbecue lovingly tended by Paul Lapping at the end.

“And aside from the game itself, the day presented an opportunity for a bunch of old diehards to reminisce about the good old days, with general agreement that the East Devon League had been the best league around, providing competitive cricket without all the travelling that has had to be undertaken since we were subsumed into the county-wide Devon League. Some might say I am wearing rose-tinted spectacles with that view - that might be so, but it was great fun to recall those good times.”

So, what of the game? Well, here’s the thoughts of Barry, skipper of the Select XI who says: “My team had been drawn from the other clubs in the old Fox’s (later the Exeter Bank) East Devon League. We managed to find representatives from quite a few of the clubs of that era, including Axminster, Uplyme and Lyme Regis, Yarcombe and Stockland, Upottery, and Ottery St Mary - the oldest being Axminster legend Phil Spong, who, despite being now in his 70s, managed to bowl four tidy overs and take a wicket.

“The match itself was a 30-overs per side affair, for which I won the toss and asked Honiton to bat.

Eighty-one-years young Honiton president Terry Linsdell started off the umpiring, but was eventually replaced when his concentration started to waver (or perhaps the bar had opened!?) Rob Johns (0-13) and Gary Kennard (2-7) each bowled their allotted six overs tidily - Johns using his enormous height to good effect, beating the bat on numerous occasions. “Mike Summers, Al Ostler, Mike Wheeler and Steve Downton all bowled well, Wheeler being the most successful with three wickets, and Honiton were restricted to 135 off their 30 overs.

“Adey Pullin, who retired after bludgeoning a quick-fire 53, and Canny himself, with a hard-hit 24, were the pick of the Honiton batsmen.”

“In reply, my side got off to a steady start with Derek Wellman and Joel Seward seeing off the dual threat of Phil Tansley and John Connett, and, after Seward had posted a stylish 32, Josh Cann came in to smash a fine 50, including a huge straight six off his father’s bowling, before he too retired.

“At that stage, the game was all but over, and we were winners by some four wickets with three overs to spare.”

Winners of the match the Select XI certainly were, but the biggest winner on the day was the game of cricket and friendships that have stood the test of time and will no doubt be just as strong next time the two clans gather.

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