A winning start in the Stars Derby

Dulwich Sports Ground, Sunday 24 April 2022.

St Anne’s Allstars 164-4 (32 overs: Shahed Ahmed 50*, Sam Perera 44*) beat Superstars CC 161-6 (35 overs: Aaron Harris 44*, Shahed Ahmed 3-27) by 6 wickets.

Allstars Debutants: Shahed Ahmed, Chris Deeley

Click below to view scorecard:

Report by Pete Cresswell – Photos by Rose

On a pleasant sunny April day on Sunday, 12 Allstars converged on Dulwich for our season opener against Superstars, who had beaten us in a thriller in Mill Hill on our first meeting last year.

We were greeted by a very early-season-looking English pitch, tinged with green, and a lush outfield. Superstars’ skipper Paul Gaught-Allen felt he had a stronger batting side than a bowling one, so opted to bat first on winning the toss. The Allstars took the field, with the attack spearheaded by Gren Thompson and Vivek Seth. Gren bowled a superb 7-over opening spell with four maidens, finishing with 1-11, bowling Superstars’ opener Matthew Conway in the 7th over for the first wicket.

After a tidy opening 5 overs (only conceding 15 runs) upwind from Sir Viv, skipper Pete Cresswell brought on the canny Jimmy Scott. While a couple of looseners were dispatched to the extra cover boundary, on the last ball of his first over Jimmy’s flight completely bamboozled Adam Spencer-Bickle and rattled the bails to leave Superstars 36-2 off 12 overs. Jimmy bowled a very tidy spell overall, and might well have picked up another wicket stumped later on.

At the other end the debuting Chris Deeley, playing his first match since 2019, came on to replace Gren. He showed some promise as well in his first couple of overs, so we hope to see more of him through the season. Our other debutant Shahed Ahmed replaced Chris, and promptly picked up the Superstars’ skipper Gaught-Allen for 39 as a half-hearted appeal (hey, I heard something!) was granted, breaking a 40-run third wicket stand.

The next three wickets quickly followed, with Shahed bowling both Diwakar Patwal and James Hewlett. Gary Plahe tried an aggressive shot off Harshad Keskar at the other end, swinging so hard he let go of the bat, which was enough to distract Cresswell who dropped a low chance at short mid-wicket. But Harshad had the last laugh, bowling Plahe just two balls later to spare the skipper’s blushes.

John Bishop (not the Scouse comedian) then joined Aaron Harris, the latter showing some excellent death batting skills as the pair put on 55 in the last 5 overs against the bowling of Iain Wilson (guesting for us from the Weasels), Nic Knight and Sir Viv. 161-6 looked a tidy score as both teams adjourned to the clubhouse.

After some tasty sandwiches, Allstars openers Nic and Matt Biss walked to the crease. The pair started steadily against Konrad Chozdko-Zajko and Plahe. Konrad in particular proved very tricky, bowling four maidens in a seven-over opening spell and only conceding 6. He also picked up the first wicket as Nic was bowled through the gate for 17 trying to punch one through cover. Matt was then bowled by a shooter from Harris for 15 to reduce us to 45-2 in the 14th.

Hywel Roberts and Harshad then accelerated against the Superstars’ change bowlers, both getting a start before Harris bowled them both. At 66-4 off 17 the match was well poised – with half the innings left we needed another 96 in 18 overs, but had a decent amount of batting to come. A slowing outfield and some excellent Superstars’ out-fielding had kept things tight in the first half of the innings too, but the pitch was playing reasonably well (Matt’s shooter excepted), if a tad slow.

Sam Perera and Shahed then joined in an aggressive unbroken 98 run stand to get us home with 4 overs to spare, muscling the ball to the rope regularly. They paced things superbly, picking up at least one boundary an over in 11 of their 14 overs’ batting. Shahed was let off late in the piece, dropped behind attempting a reverse sweep, but he was then able to end the match and bring up his 50 with a stunning boundary through long on. A fantastic debut man-of-the-match all-round performance from him, especially as he is fasting during Ramadan.

Overall a fantastic day’s cricket played in great spirit against some very pleasant opponents. We wish Superstars all the best for their season ahead, and look forward to seeing them again next season – but next up, we’re back in Barn Elms this Sunday as we face Plastics.

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