The Park Hill debut of Dave Symons

To mark Dave’s role as Skipper for the 2015 league season, I did some digging to see what reports and articles he’d written over the years, managing to find a brief article that he penned regarding his Park Hill debut back in 2004….

My First Time by Dave Symons Jr.

Date: 2nd May 2004

Venue: Old Haileyburians Ground, West Ewell

Before the days of Duck and Chelski, but after the icy age of Blake’s debut, I played my first game for the mighty Park Hill. We took on CYPOS, an abbreviation of ‘Can You Play On Sunday?’ Chuckling at this humourous name I took to the Old Haileyburian changing rooms for the first time. Only really knowing Dangerous Dan Ransom and Quick Nick Williams properly and others on reputation this was a time to meet the odd Park Hill legend. Sadly, this was a Sunday and I would continue wondering if the likes of Blake and Spelling actually existed for a whole season.

Anyway, we ended up batting first, with my talent with the willow clearly being overestimated as I took to the field at number ten. My first batting partner was to be Mark Goldsmith, who looked like he knew which end of the thing to hold from what I had been watching, whilst crapping myself and padding up. I was wrong. He was clean bowled with the first ball he faced with me at the crease, failing to connect with an extravagant cut.

This brought out to the middle the only man at the club who was predicted to be a worse batsman than me, Tom Barford. Immediately I felt comforted by his summoning of me with one finger. Incidentally he’s given me many more one-finger gestures since, and explaining that if he said to run “then just f***ing run, got it?” I nodded and smashed my way to 1* by the close of the innings.

Bowling was less pleasurable. Hearing stories of Golden Arm Cluer I thought my first wicket wouldn’t be far away. Even human beach ball Cactus Jack managed to take a wicket with his second ball for the club, and that was whilst bowling with his hat in the other hand. It was somewhat disappointing then that I had to wait until mid-July for my first wicket to come. As a bowler and little else, not such an impressive record.

We looked like bowling out CYPOS relatively cheaply, but they managed to bat out the overs with one wicket in tact and survive for the draw. My ability to waste precious balls earlier in their innings proved crucial, rounding off a glorious debut and showing a sign of things to come. Anyway, despite this, everyone managed to muster some words of encouragement. Apart from Tom.

And that was the embarrassing loss of my Park Hill virginity.

Dave Symons