Martin Read – Sports Reporter
30 years ago Billingshurst 2nd XI famously won the Arun Valley League and went on their last tour of Norfolk – both celebrated at the club’s President’s day this year, when many former players were welcomed back – from all eras, especially those from the great days of the late 70s to early 90s, and, Roger Lusted told the District Post: “A reunion tour has been planned to commemorate the momentous League victory – the ‘Old Boys Tour to Norfolk’, and I’d love to recreate the photo that we took in 1989!” Ex players were contacted, their kit was relocated and spruced up and, earlier this month a tour party hit the road to the north Norfolk coast, David Sainsbury telling us: “We warmed up for the anniversary game with two days on the golf course and a series of dinners to mark the occasion. At the Friday night dinner it was lovely to meet some old some friends from the other clubs we used to play.” A special book had been commissioned to tell the story of the four Norfolk Tours – written by David, with photographs by Chris Holmes – and copies were duly presented to everyone at the dinner. Action then reverted to the field for the very special game, at Snettisham Cricket Club, against their quintessentially English village side, with its ground overlooked, as at Horsham, by stunning St Mary’s Church. The venue and opposition were highly appropriate, Snettisham having played host to the Billingshurst side on their last visit. David Sainsbury continues: “Our team included eight members of the 1989 tour and four others who had been on the earlier tours. Notably, the scorer on the day was Roger Lusted, current Billingshurst CC 1st X1 scorer, who had played in 1989 – and the umpire was Steve Message, once again donning the coat at the ground where he had stood 30 years earlier.” And, in the big game Billingshurst found themselves in the field in a 25 overs a side match, with the visiting bowlers pinning back Snettisham to 99 for 6 in their allotted overs. Ian Lusted was the pick of the attack with 3 for 32, David quipping: “Three more wickets than he took 30 years ago!” Billingshurst openers Ian Poysden and Mark Elliott replied confidently, raising Billingshurst hopes, but the lusty hitting of Francis Ward and John Odell at the end of the innings could not quite get the side over the line, Snettisham winning by 14 runs, with Billingshurst ending on 85-7. At the post-match presentations Billingshurst captain David Sainsbury, taking time out from his other passion – rugby – to fulfil the same cricket role of 30 years ago, suggested that as Snettisham had now tied the series at one apiece, Billingshurst should return for the decider in another 30 years, and he quoted from his book written for the occasion: “One of the great things about cricket is that it brings people together and creates lifelong memories.” Roger Lusted was granted his wish for a new photo – by Barry Taylor – which shows the Billingshurst Old Boys side before taking the field against Snettisham – Back row from left: Steve Message (umpire), David Rood, Francis Ward, Ian Lusted, Tony Petras, Nick Brown, Roger Lusted (scorer). Front row: Mark Elliott, Chris Holmes, Brian Joyce, Barry Taylor, David Sainsbury, John Odell, Ian Poysden.