Allstars tread Line of Duty in Cambridge scorcher

Parker’s Piece, Cambridge, Sunday 18 July 2021.

St Anne’s Allstars 147-7 (40 overs, Matt Biss 39, Amit Deverathippa 35*) beat Cambridge NCI 4th XI 130-8 (40 overs, Rumble 36, Sheahan Arnott 5-5) by 17 runs.

Allstars debutant: Tom Cadmore

Report by Pete Cresswell- Photos by Pete Cresswell and Shanmugam Sama

Summer dawned fiercely hot on Sunday as the Allstars journeyed up to Cambridge for the annual fixture against our good friends NCI on historic Parker’s Piece. Five Allstars in the playing XI (including the loaned debutant Tom Cadmore) had turned out at least once for NCI in the past, making for a very friendly day in the sun.

On arrival we were greeted by a well browned wicket, that required use of a jug of water to aid setting up of the stumps. Given the temperature and the pitch colour, Allstars skipper Cresswell had no hesitation in opting to bat first after calling correctly – he then surveyed a fairly handy looking Allstars batting line up and hid himself away at number 11.

There was quickly agreement between the captains that any batsman hitting the cow sculpture on the boundary (at wide long-off/fine leg to a right hander so sadly not a proper cow corner) should be rewarded with a “10” for on the full, and a “5” along the ground.

Shortly thereafter, Matt Biss and Paul Burgin walked to the crease to take up the attack. NCI were fielding an attack reminiscent of a ‘90s New Zealand side, pace off the ball and accurate, which worked very well on a slow, lowish pitch. Burgin, Jono Beagle and Shanmugam Sama all spent some time occupying the crease but were unable to push the score along before perishing. With all three gone – Burgin bowled by a ball that drifted away and cut in off the pitch, Beagle caught and bowled by one that stopped, and Shanmugam to a good catch at gully, the Allstars were under 30/3 for the third consecutive week, and 15 overs were gone.

Sam Perera joined Biss fresh off his Mill Hill ton, and showed off his power and timing, hitting 3 fours and a 5 into the cow in his 22 to provide some much needed acceleration, before Hywel Roberts joined Biss in working the ball around to push us up to 80/5 in the 27th. That became 88/7 in the 30th as Biss’s long vigil ended as he was stumped trying to accelerate, and Cadmore holed out. But the Allstars batting line up ran deep, and Amit Deverathippa and Samer Hafiz came together to add an excellent 59 in the final 10 overs as NCI flagged a little in the heat. 147 off 40 overs was looking a very defendable score given the slow pitch and long boundaries.

After tea, it was the Allstars’ turn to field in the heat. Shanmugam and Sheahan Arnott took up the opening attack, the “Shhh” brothers proving very economical. By this point the pitch was slow enough to have keeper Cresswell standing up to the stumps! Sheahan was getting considerable swing and was rewarded early, bowling NCI skipper Duby in the 2nd over, and pinning Schlichter in front in the 4th. Another two in his 4th had NCI reeling at 12/4, Sheahan taking an incredible 4-1 off his opening six overs.

Samer Hafiz (S.H. being named the newest Shhh brother on the day) bowled Foster in his first over to make the score 22/5. At this point NCI veteran Eddie Ashfield was joined by Sally Kent, and the pair essayed a recovery, a 30-run stand being broken when Kent pulled a leg-side long hop from Paul Burgin straight to Cadmore at square leg.

Rumble at number 8 played aggressively, taking boundaries off Burgin and Cadmore. The heat forced Ashfield to retire, but Swarbrick also played positively until skying the returning Arnott to Cadmore (who took 2 good catches playing with a broken finger) to give Sheahan a well-earned ‘Michelle’. We have now added 3 names to the Allstars’ honours board in 4 weeks!

Rumble and Kapil managed to add another 35 in the final 8 overs, but the asking rate was too high, and Shanmugam picked up a deserved wicket yorking a charging Kapil on the last ball of the match.

Some cold beverages from the Thai restaurant that shares a building with the Piece changing rooms followed as both sides enjoyed a balmy evening after a great day’s cricket.

Games are coming thick and fast this season, and next up we face Plastics CC at Barn Elms on Sunday.

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