The Adventure of the Fielder’s Thumb

Dulwich Sports Ground, Sunday 18 June 2017.  Baker Street Irregulars (127-3) beat St Anne’s Allstars (125-8) by 7 wickets.

By Neale Adams

It was definitely an open and shut case against the Baker Street Irregulars (BSI) at a sweltering Dulwich Sports Ground last week. Even Holmes himself would have found it difficult to find any evidence…..

Having amassed in force – that being a full team of 11 – the Allstars were put into bat with Pete Cresswell and Paul Burgin leading the charge. It was going well until the ninth over when Burgin, who showed such promise, was returned to the pavilion – promptly followed by his Jamaica-tanned replacement Jimmy Scott.

The Allstars middle order tried to stir it up and stabilise the ship – but runs were slow in coming. Batsmen attempted to support Cresswell, who has carried his bat for the Allstars on two previous occasions and looked as if he was going for a hat-trick, but we were waiting in vain.

Eventually even Cresswell succumbed to the BSI catching machine (six Allstars wickets, out of the total seven, were taken by catches), but his 39 helped to get the team up to 125 after 35 overs (including 33 extras).

Undaunted, and certainly full after a fine tea, the Allstars returned to the field to hunt for clues, and more importantly wickets, that would give them their first victory this season.

Ed Heelas and this year’s Allstars Club Captain Nick ‘Chadders’ Chadwick led the attack with the fielders helping…..well, not really. The bowling was very competent from both ends, yet whether it was down to a full belly, the hot sun, or being a year older, the ball continued to find its way over the boundary ropes. The BSI openers had reached 60 after six overs.

It was not until a change of pace, with the introduction of Tony Grant and Vivek Seth, did the rewards come. TG let no time go to waste by claiming the scalp of the BSI opener Hemmingway (lbw) with his very first delivery in the eighth over, and then another caught and bowled in the tenth.

But irreparable damage had been done – especially by the BSI number two batsman Tom Philips, who went on to score 67 with some fine stroke play. Philips’ demise was brought about with the advent of Martyn Langridge, whose delivery hit the stumps.

Even Langridge’s on-field motivational talks that involved monkeys, whales and I couldn’t quite hear the last, but I believe it is a slang term for cats, failed to raise the Allstars out of their fielding conundrum.

BSI reached 127 (six extras) for three wickets in the 15th over.

However, in the words of Jeremy Corbyn, we won. You may think the stats suggest otherwise, but the pavilion had Sky TV and a bar…..with a fine selection of ales and lagers (and soft drinks)….all reasonably priced.

So with spirits refreshed and the discovery that Chadders has his very own fan club outside the Allstars fraternity, Burgin will never vote Tory, and that the greatly missed Gren Thompson has a problem using social media:  ‘Really is a great dr Road of you ink I’  being his WhatsApp comment on the match result, an Allstars match is never a wasted moment, just a way to make good memories. It’s elementary.

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