Barn Elms, Sunday 25 July 2021.
Plastics 131-6 (Bishop 32*, Bradbury 22, Vivek Seth 2-24, Teddy Bascombe 2-34) v St Anne’s Allstars. No result.
Allstars Debuts – Teddy Bascombe, Martin Ostrowski
Report by Sheahan Arnott – Photos by Pete Cresswell
While the eyes of the sports world are trained on Tokyo, the eyes of the cricketing world are firmly planted on the game’s hottest new format. No, it’s not #TheHundred, it’s Catch-22 – the new 22-over-per-side variation that debuted to the public at Barn Elms circa 1pm on 25 July.
But historical significance aside, today’s debut of Catch-22 (patent pending) did not go as planned. When captain Vivek Seth walked out with Jamieson to flip the farthing, the two agreed on a 25-over fixture with an eye on the meteorological goings-on of South London. Our intrepid captain lost the toss, and the mighty Allstars headed into field first – but it was a good toss to lose, as Captain Viv told us, so who are we to argue.
Though weather more than played its part, it’s safe to say the cricketing world is richer for its new addition. And keen cricketing historians will note that one day internationals came about thanks to a rain-affected Test in 1971, so I don’t think I’m speaking out of turn calling today’s fixture a watershed moment in cricket history.
The Allstars’ attack looked suited to modern day limited-overs cricket with 4 generously-termed off-spinners due to provide the bulk of the overs including debutante and second-generation Allstar Teddy Bascombe.
After playing out a maiden in the first over, Bradbury began to make hay – despite the sun barely shining – and he took a liking to both opening bowlers with firmly-struck boundaries down the ground. Captain Viv slipped one past an aggressive shot too many to claim what looked to be an important wicket. Bradbury was replaced by the equally aggressive Webb who didn’t waste time getting his eye in before opening his shoulders up. Webb’s cameo was short-lived as he added his name to the list of Sheahan’s LBW dismissals this season (shhh), before Viv got his second in the next over – rearranging Hatton’s furniture like a bored IKEA employee.
Bishop and Clifton started their partnership with some aggressive running between the wickets as Max and Teddy Bascombe took up the attack. Richard “Slats” Slatford looked threatening with the gloves on from the start of the day – picking pockets like he owed Fagan a serious apology – and when Teddy beat Clifton’s outside edge, Slats was there to whip the bails off and give Teddy her first Allstars wicket.
As the game swung from one end to the other and the heavens began to open in earnest, Jimmy Scott lured the dangerous Daley down the wicket with his first ball and Slats did the rest completing his second stumping of the day. Daley ended up flat on his back with none of the grace and poise of his Olympic namesake.
Players from both sides ran for the pavilion as the rain got too heavy to continue, but we were out in the field before you could say “Pete! Don’t bother with the rest of the covers!”. Jimmy completed his over, but our joy was short-lived as we ran for cover once again in the next over. The captains agreed to change the face of cricket forever and Walker’s Catch22™ was born. We battled on through persistent rain as Plastics worked hard to set us a total. Teddy returned to claim her second wicket – bowling Sandham – and when Jimmy delivered the final ball we looked set to be chasing 131, with Bishop finishing with a well-made 32 not out.
But the weather gods had other plans, and despite moving the game to the adjacent synthetic wicket, we abandoned the match as the Matt Brothers – Lo and Biss – had barely got their pads on to open our innings.
We adjourned to the Red Lion to make the most of our free-ish afternoon as Allstars near and far told us that we could have played in Wales, Borehamwood and Tokyo. It was a small comfort but the pints helped as conversations ranged from underappreciated golf courses of Scotland to which Allstars bowler would you least like to face.
Despite the day not panning out the way we might have liked, the impact of Catch22 (copyright St Anne’s Allstars 2021) may not be felt for generations. And perhaps Teddy may lead England’s Catch22 XI out at Lord’s in years to come.
We head north to Watford next week to tackle Edgware CC and maybe a sneaky pre-match team bonding trip to Harry Potter Studios for some butterbeer and questionable views of the modern world.