Gents edge us out on birthday weekend

Wycombe House CC, Osterley, Sunday 30 May 2021.

Gentlemen of West London 172-6 (26.2 overs; Pavan Kota 74, Wamsee Krishna 2-25, Sam Waddicor 2-42) beat St Anne’s Allstars 171 all out (39.3 overs; Sam Waddicor 36*, Paul Bowman 31, Sachin Singh 30) by 4 wickets.

Allstars debuts: Wamsee Krishna, Mubeen Mohammad, Syed Rizvi

Report by Pete Cresswell – photos by Garreth Duncan

After a May filled with cold, wet weather that caused the Allstars’ first rained-off fixture in 3 seasons, hopes were high for a sunny Bank Holiday Sunday to celebrate 20 years of Allstars matches as an organised team, against our longest standing opposition, the Gentlemen of West London.

Sunday initially dawned cloudy, and the Allstars awoke to news that Saturday sporting injuries were forcing 3 players out of the match. However the clouds cleared, and our kind hosts Wycombe House CC managed to find us three handy fill ins.

Skipper Pete Cresswell called correctly, looked at a lovely, hard looking pitch, and he and debutant Wamsee Krishna of Wycombe House headed out to bat. Cresswell started positively, only to run himself out for 6 trying for an ambitious second run. 7/1 quickly became 33/4 as Matt Biss played on a shooter for 10, Wamsee top-edged a pull for 7, and our second Wycombe House debutant Mubeen Mohammed was bowled for 8.

Sachin Singh and Paul “KP” Bowman came together at that point and added an excellent 66 runs for the fifth wicket, batting positively until KP was brilliantly caught in the gully for 31.

Sachin quickly followed skying a drive, and Tony Grant was bowled a couple of overs later, unable to resist attacking Hemin Patel’s flighted off-spin to reduce us to 99/7.

But even a depleted Allstars weren’t going to go down without a fight. Our final Wycombe House debutant, Syed Rizvi, went on the attack, well supported by Jimmy Scott. Rizvi hit four fours and a six in his sparkling 24, before falling to leave us 130/9 in the 33rd over.

At that stage the Allstars looked well short of a competitive total – but still we resisted. Sam Waddicor, who’s having an incredible start to 2021, set about the bowling with some sparkling shots, with Garreth Duncan ably defending in support and running hard to give Sam the strike. The pair added an invaluable 41 for the last wicket and had the Gents looking increasingly frustrated before “G-Drive” was bowled for 3 as he looked to attack in the last over. The resulting 171 looked a light, but possibly defendable score.

After tea the Gents’ openers strode to the crease, and Pavan Kota and Kumar started strongly. Their early positive attitude proved a touch rash as, in the third over, Matt Biss swooped in from square leg and managed a direct hit with to run out Kumar for a duck.

Following his efforts with the bat, Sam was quickly into the action with the ball, as he dismissed Puli LBW off one that kept low. But we know Pavan’s quality after his ton filling in for us against Crossbats in 2017, and he continued to bat serenely at the other end, adding 57 with keeper Sudireddy for the third wicket despite a couple of close LBW shouts off KP.

But this was a day the Allstars just would not give in. Sam grabbed a second as he bowled Sudireddy. Chattharaju added 12 before being trapped in front by Wamsee, who immediately repeated the dose to remove Gents’ stalwart Sanjay Patel. 113/5 in the 19th was starting to look interesting.

With Pavan looking serene, skipper Cresswell tried to change up the attack by introducing spin from Jimmy Scott and Tony Grant, but the well-set Pavan continued on serenely until trapped in front by a ball from Sachin that kept very low.

That brief flicker of hope at 139/6 soon died however as the Gents’ seventh wicket pair Karnekanti and Zahid Ahmed attacked the bowling, mindful that the pitch was developing a few gremlins, and they saw the Gents home.

So the 42-11 Trophy returns to the Gents once again. Overall, it was a good day’s cricket in the sun at a lovely ground against friendly opposition. And post-match we were (finally) able to physically present the first of last year’s end of season awards, with Matt Biss collecting his Allstar of the Year award as our leading run scorer in 2020.

The match also served as a farewell to Allstars’ stalwart Paul “KP” Bowman ahead of his family’s relocation to Belfast – and he deservedly collected his Long Service award. We wish them all well, and hope to see KP making tour appearances in future.

A good day was brightened further as our club founder Maxie Allen and his partner Rosalind announced the birth of their daughter Francesca. Congratulations from all of the Allstar family!

We’ll be back in action soon as the Allstars fixtures come thick and fast in June. Next up, we travel to Hove on 13 June to face our friends the Zambuca Tigers. What do Vivek and his team have in store for us?

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