Great Missenden, Saturday 1 May 2021.
St Anne’s Allstars 96-3 (19 overs: Nic Knight 42; Sam Perera 26*) beat Corridor 94 all out (24.4 overs: Jagath Dasari 4-14, Sam Waddicor 4-31) by 7 wickets.
Report by Garreth Duncan – Photos by Amit Deverathippa, Nic Knight and Jon Ryan
Corridor are a team very much like the Allstars in spirit: of roughly 20 years vintage, they were formed around a group of friends who played cricket for the sheer love of the game. The core of the team originally worked at Sky Sports, and their name stems from the impromptu games of cricket they used to arrange in the corridors during breaks. This was our third fixture against them, and after the first two, the score stood at 1-1 with two close contests. But this time was different as, courtesy of two champagne bowling performances from Jagath Dasari and Sam Waddicor, we cruised to victory with nearly half the overs to spare.
The venue, which Corridor hire from Great Missenden Pelicans CC, is one of the most picturesque on our fixture calendar – hidden deep in the Buckinghamshire countryside, with fields all around and a cracking pub, the Nag’s Head, right next door. Allstars legend Jon Ryan came along to support us for the day, as did Sam Perera’s mate Roshan who had turned out for us against the Tigers in 2019.
The pitch looked decent, on the edge of the square and on a slope that would make Lord’s look flat. Corridor skipper Duncan Mallard called correctly and decided to bat first. Shanmugam Sama and his neighbour Amit Deverathippa opened the bowling for the Allstars, both continuing where they’d left off against Superstars the previous week. Shanmu bowled a probing line once again, and was unlucky to go wicketless in a fine spell. But Amit, working up a decent pace, troubled both openers and was rewarded just before the first sanitisation break as Zorba was dismissed by a magnificent leaping catch by Sam Waddicor at point.
Smurf and keeper Damo both looked dangerous, and with the openers off, Smurf began to accelerate, hitting Sam Waddicor’s first over for 17. At the 10 over mark Corridor were 49-1 and looking good. But Sam showed tremendous character as he found his natural length and claimed his first Allstars wicket as Damo, looking to drive, was held by Nic Knight at short mid-off.
It was a brilliant piece of all-round cricket, and was to prove the match’s turning point as we seized control of the game. In the next over, Jagath followed up with a cracking delivery to knock over Smurf’s stumps, and then Sam struck again in his next over by bowling Swiss. In the blink of an eye, Corridor were reeling at 56-4.
Now brimming with confidence, Sam and Jagath continued to rampage through the Corridor middle and lower order. Sam took his third wicket in successive overs by trapping KC LBW, and Jagath replied with the ball of the day, a stunning fast off-cutter that took out Forge’s off-stump. Corridor hadn’t seen this coming, and Jagath struck twice more as Paddy was pinned LBW by a full, straight delivery and skipper Mallard clean bowled. Corridor were 82-8 and we were all over them like a rash, as Tony Grant produced a miserly spell to keep the pressure on.
Jagath richly deserved a five-for, but couldn’t quite manage it as Shivige blocked out his final four deliveries. But his day wasn’t yet done as, with just one stump to aim at, he ran out Shivige with a direct hit from mid-on. Sam returned to finish the job in style with his fourth wicket as Rory was plumb LBW. It was the first time in many a year that we’d dismissed an opposition for under 100, and Jagath and Sam deservedly led the Allstars off the field.
Small targets can sometimes be tricky to chase, but the best way to approach is to be positive from the outset. Following a very handy debut against Superstars, Nic Knight was quickly into his stride once again, hitting some crunching cover drives off opening bowler Paddy. Club captain Pete Cresswell was initially happy to push singles, but he then began to find his touch with a lovely boundary. We were almost halfway to the Corridor total before KC had Pete caught and bowled with a ball which stopped on him.
Nic followed soon after, just missing out on a maiden Allstars fifty for the second week in a row as he was smartly taken at slip for a well-worked 42. But nothing was going to stop the victory charge as Sam Perera launched into the Corridor bowling, showing the form of his stellar debut season with two monster straight sixes. Paul Burgin struck a couple of boundaries before Rory disturbed his stumps, but Sirmad Shafique, also making a welcome return to the team, took us over the line with ease for one of our most comprehensive victories in many years.
A cracking day all round – topped by a call-out on local radio as Wycombe Sound’s DJ played Sweet Caroline in our honour, evoking memories of our great tour to Portugal in 2019. Remarkably, our second radio appearance following our famous call-out on the Talksport lunchtime news as we headed to Newquay for our maiden tour in 2002.
Corridor’s skipper Duncan is a top bloke, and he and his team joined us in the Nag’s Head as we celebrated victory. We wish Corridor all the best for the rest of this season. Next up, we face Valley End at their scenic ground in Surrey. We’ve only beaten them once, but with players now in cracking early season form, can we do it again?