Eymet, Sunday 26 September 2010.
St Anne’s Allstars 113-6 beat Eymet 112 (Paul Bowman 4-5, Paul Nicol 4-9) by 4 wickets.
Report by Garreth Duncan
A converted rugby field in the charming French town of Eymet is a place that will be forever Allstars. For Sunday 26 September 2010 will be a day that will go down in our history as the day when, finally, gloriously, the Allstars won an overseas game.
We prepared for the match in true French fashion with a game of boules on the outfield. But ours was not the only game in town, as the Mayor was in attendance for the local ladies’ football team’s first game, in which Eymet’s girls beat a team in, er, red and black, by the crushing margin of 14-0. Great entertainment for the local crowd, perhaps not the greatest omen for the Allstars.
After captain for the day Vivek Seth had decided to field first, Paul Bowman gave us the perfect start by having Rhodes caught behind by Jon Hautot before wrecking left-hander Tim Smith’s stumps with a perfect swinging yorker. At the other end, Nick Chadwick probed away on a tight line, keeping the Eymet batsmen in check.
Paul Nicol had surprisingly not been asked to bowl against St Aulaye the day before, and he showed us what we’d missed with the spell of the day. After removing Hinds and Fabb to catches to Tarka at slip and Ben Hampton at gully, he then had Bailey caught by KP and castled Morgan. Although the leader of the Nicolite faction couldn’t quite add another “Michelle” to his collection, by the time he’d finished Eymet were 46-6 and we were in complete control.
Eymet skipper Sam Hawell stood alone against the Allstar onslaught, playing strongly off his legs as he went to his fifty. But he had little support at the other end as skipper Vivek joined the wickets party, bowling Taylor with a full toss I can only describe as a “Rain Men delivery”. KP returned to mop up the tail, and we faced a victory target of 113. A modest score, but could we keep our nerve?
Vivek boldly sent in Ben to open the innings, and “Le Grand Cheval” rewarded his captain with a flying start, crashing 17 off just 11 balls, including a huge six over cow (horse?) corner, before having his off stump knocked out. Squadron Leader Rob Jackson continued the Allstars assault, crunching a couple of fours off the usually parsimonious Bishop. By the time he too was bowled we were 53-2 and nearly halfway there.
KP joined Tarka in the middle, and the Village pair took us to within 20 of the target with plenty of overs left to come. But it wouldn’t be the Allstars if we didn’t do it the hard way, and Tarka’s dismissal brought out the inevitable middle-order wobble, and it was James Abrahams who had the honour of hitting the winning runs.
We all celebrated à la français with post-match cheese and wine with the opposition. Vivez les Toutes Etoiles!
Man of the Match: Paul Nicol. Che Guevara’s guerilla assault wrecked Eymet’s middle order.
Champagne Moment: Ben Hampton’s monster six – sending us flying out of the starting stalls.