Barbarians, Trains and Automobiles! Allstars win crazy Hove encounter

Hove Recreation Ground, Sunday 13 June 2021.

Allstar Barbarians 158-1 (22.1 overs – Apurv Chauhan 83 ret; Hywel Roberts 35*) beat Zambuca Tigers 155-8 (29 overs: Abhinav 3-25; Vivek Seth 2-27, Tony Grant 2-32) by 9 wickets.

Report by Vivek Seth – Photos by Pete Cresswell

This fixture has been somewhat doomed in recent times. After a very enjoyable match-up in summer 2020 both sides were due to play each other in France on tour in October. Sadly the pandemic led to the cancellation of that game. This time, the fixture remained heavily in doubt once again as emergency railway engineering work meant that a number of the Allstars team were unable to reach Hove as planned.

On the sunniest day of the year so far, it seemed that once again we would have to call off the game. Very fortunately, a delayed start which allowed some Allstars to jump into cars, and some last minute recruitment by the Tigers, allowed us to provide a team of 11 to face the Tigers. With the side containing players from three clubs (the Allstars, Tigers and Palmers), we called ourselves the Allstar Barbarians and got ourselves ready to play cricket.

In a rarity in modern times, Tigers skipper Elsom won the toss and understandably elected to bat. Abhinav opened the bowling with a probing opening over that resulted in the wicket of Andy Clarke. I opened at the other end, engaging in a battle with Bob Porter who played several glorious cut shots. It was a therefore a relief when Abhinav bowled Porter for 13. I soon took the wicket of Jon Edgell (unfortunately, his third golden duck in a row off me) leaving the Tigers at 22-3.

This bought Sam Silverwood-Cope and Danny Lloyd to the crease. Both proved immovable and accelerated the run rate despite the best efforts of the opening bowlers, plus first change bowlers Apurv Chauhan and Tony Grant. Tony made the vital breakthrough bowling Silverwood-Cope for 42 and Giles Dawkes the next ball, leaving the Tigers on 80-5 and with the Barbarians back in the game.

Lloyd and new bat Nic Straiton consolidated again, prompting a change in bowling with Jimmy Scott and Nigel de Silva coming on. Jimmy took the wicket of Lloyd while Nigel helped restrict the run rate. Straiton and Elsom took the score to 155 before both falling in quick succession to the returning opening bowlers – Straiton to Abhinav for 30 and Elsom to me for 29. At the end of their innings, the Tigers set the Barbarians 159 for victory.

Pete Cresswell and Apurv opened the batting and quickly settled. Tigers’ opening bowler, Steve Adams proved to be real menance, causing all kinds of problems for both batsmen. Adams eventually took Pete’s wicket with an unplayable ball that had Jimmy Anderson levels of swing.

Hywel Roberts joined Apurv at the crease and immediately looked comfortable, keeping the run rate ticking over. With the 15 overs countdown starting, the Barbarians needed a run a ball for victory. The Tigers however knew that a couple of quick wickets would leave the Barbars in serious trouble. The game was very much on.

The Roberts-Chauhan partnership looked to kick on after the break, Apurv in particular starting to find the boundary with ease. The Tigers attempted to disrupt his rhythm by rotating their bowlers but all to no avail. Apurv eventually retired on 83, including 17 fours, and leaving the Barbars on course for victory.

Chris Woods joined Hywel at the crease and took over the boundary hitting role from Apurv, scoring 19 from just 9 balls. He and Hywel, who finished 35 not out, took the Barbars over the line, leading to a 9 wicket victory.

The victory was secondary to us ensuring that 22 willing cricketers got a game on a gloriously sunny day. For a long time the game looked unlikely so particular thanks must go to Tigers Andy Clarke and Apurv Chauhan for finding the Allstars additional players at such short notice, and to all the players that played for us. An enjoyable first outing for the Barbars and we look forward to a more regular Allstars v Tigers game in the future! 

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