Baker Street Irregulars v St Annes Allstars, Saturday 29th June 2013
By Neale Adams
Despite an onslaught of injuries and last minute commitments depleting the initial team roster of several players, others soon came forward to fill the spaces for the game in Ham near Richmond. The eleventh man Sam MacDonald was recruited on the morning of the day of the match and was to prove pivotal in the outcome of the game, but more of that later.
Also of note was Robert Jacksonʼs commitment, after struggling through London traffic (as a result of various protests going on) to arrive at the venue some two hours after leaving his home in the city.
On what was to be the hottest day of the year to date, the Allstars chose to bat first in a 2×18 over format, where every player, bar the wicket keeper, would bowl in the first innings, and the batting order would be reversed in the second. Any bowler could only have a max three overs in the first innings, and a total of seven overs over both innings.
Matty Boa and Ben Hampton took to the crease for the Allstars, with Boa knocking up a confident 37 with some superb stroke play, ably assisted by Hampton, who scored 17 before being caught, then Neale Adams, 18, before Adams was bowled out.
Haroon Khalid knocked up a very useful 22 later in the innings – with some good quick running – to leave the Allstars on 123-6. After a quick turn around, Boa and Hampton opened the bowling for the Allstars, with Hampton taking two wickets for a mere five runs in three overs. Nice work. Boa added great support in keeping the BSI run rate very low with one wickets for no runs from his three overs.
Other contributions were made by James Devlin, 3-0-21-1, Pete Cresswell, 1-0-10-1 (first over for seven years) David Halladay, 1-0-6-1 and Nick Stebbings (debut) 2-0-6-1 taking the wicket on his first delivery after ten years out of the game.
Most notable was the contribution of Richard ʻRocketʼ Stephenson (1-0-26-1) who took his first ever wicket for the Allstars, after the batsman was caught LBW by one of the Rocketʼs slower balls that was on target.
A rapid run rate for the BSI later on in their innings took their tally to 126-9. So, after a very fine tea put on by our BSI hosts – that notably included no soft drinks, just beer – it was MacDonald who opened the second innings with Jackson, who played despite having a broken toe, and a sore head from the night before. With the opposition hoping of a few quick wickets, MacDonald set about his task and dashed such a dream. With seven boundaries, including four sixes, MacDonald knocked up a foundational 44 for the Allstars before being caught.
Khalid continued his fine form from the first innings by hitting a supporting 20 runs. An Allstars total of 125-9 was a target that the team thought would be a comfortable total to defend. Boa and Hampton again opened the bowling with Boa taking the lionʼs share with figures of 4-0-8-2, one of the wickets coming from a beautifully crafted yorker that turned in the air and homed in on the stumps.
Hamptonʼs 4-1-18-1 and, later, Khalidʼs 5-0-27-1, were great performances in a supporting role. In the field, Stebbings must be congratulated for his work over the course of the match for taking two catches – one of which may have left marks having left the middle of the bat at force.
But is has to be Devlinʼs 3-1-29-3 that takes the plaudits. With the home team hitting out, and leaving themselves on 20 runs needed off the final over, it was Devlin who bravely stepped up to bowl an over that could have gone either way. Two cleverly placed deliveries sailed past the batsman, who, on the next delivery, knew he had to hit the ball out of the park to keep his team in the chase. As the third ball left Devlinʼs arm the batsman made his way down the wicket, only to hit out at air and leave the keeper to take off the bails.
Another wicket in the remaining three balls was the cherry on the cake for Devlin who, despite fierce competition from Boa, MacDonald, Khalid and the legend who is known as Rocket, greatly deserved the Man-of-the-Match award. Thanks to all who turned out and played their part in a hugely entertaining cricket match.
St Anneʼs Allstars; Matty Boa, Ben Hampton, Nick Stebbings, David Halladay, Richard Stephenson, Peter Cresswell, Haroon Khalid, Sam MacDonald, Robert Jackson, James Devlin, Neale Adams.