Plastics fantastic as Allstars’ goose is cooked

Barn Elms, Sunday 1 May 2022.

Plastics 183 all out (31.3 overs: Alex Webster 45, Pete Bishop 33*, Amit Deverathippa 3-14, Sheahan Arnott 3-33) beat St Anne’s Allstars 128 all out (25.2 overs: Jerry Jamieson 4-16) by 55 runs.

Allstars Debut: Amiya Ranjan.

Click below for scorecard:

Report by Garreth Duncan – Photos by Shanmugam Sama and Pete Cresswell

Plastics are a team formed from a collection of players who met on the internet via social cricket at Archbishop’s Park in south London. Their name comes from that group playing with plastic balls – but they decided they wanted a bash at proper cricket. Now in their seventh season, their named and numbered shirts and their sharp wit very much evokes the early days of the Allstars, and their razor sharp social media our more recent years. Their website describes the team’s ability as “weak-weak” – but this belies their strength, as an absolute thrashing of the Gentlemen of West London last year reveals. In a 10-a-side affair, they were to prove too strong for us – but not without a valiant fight where everyone gave their all.

Barn Elms is a vast playing field area, split between two London boroughs (this game being played on the Wandsworth side), and backs onto London’s Wetland Centre. The local population of Canada and greylag geese strutted their stuff around the playing fields as though they owned them, and honking as they flew overhead. They made their presence felt in another way too, their droppings fertilising much of the outfield.

Plastics chose to bat first on winning the toss – but with the pitch damp after light rain in the morning, we weren’t complaining. Variable bounce was evident from the first over, as Sheahan Arnott, opening the bowling for us, struck two early blows. Having bowled a hungover-looking Matthew Webb in the first over, he then pinned Anthony Mortimer LBW having hit him the previous ball which reared up off a length. Plastics were 10-2 and we were delighted with our start.

Opener Alex Webster looked in good touch, gliding an unlucky Shanmugam Sama away for three boundaries though backward square leg. Sam Perera replaced him, cleverly taking pace off the ball and dismissing Liam Killen as he disturbed his stumps. With only 10 fielders to contend with, Webster continued to find the gaps – but Sheahan wasn’t done, and finished his spell with another wicket, as Sam MacDonald took a stunning catch behind the stumps to send Murtaza on his way and leave Plastics at 63-4.

After an excellent debut season last year, Amit Deverathippa has upped his game yet further, putting on a yard of pace over the winter. His pace unsettled all of the Plastics batsmen, and he struck the next blow, blasting Conrad’s off stump out of the ground. Debutant Amiya Ranjan had already shown a glimpse of what he could do, with some sharp ground fielding breaking a stump – but his day was to get better still as he had the dangerous Webster caught behind with his first ball in Allstars cricket, a feat (we believe) unprecedented in our 22 year history.

At this point Plastics were 83-6 and we looked in control- but they had some very handy hitters down the order and forced their way back into the game. Their captain Pete Bishop counter-attacked with some fierce cuts and cover drives, and Charlie Bradbury provided his skipper with good support before Amiya returned to strike again, knocking back his stumps.

Tom Morgan-Grenville (happily just “TMG” to his team mates) proved a yet bigger sting in the tail as he too went for his shots, having a particular liking for the reverse sweep as Tony Grant, in particular, got some harsh treatment. He and Bishop had put on 51 for the eighth wicket before the returning Amit knocked out his middle stump. Yet still the resistance continued as Plastics showed they were nothing like as pliable as their name suggests, last man Jerry Jamieson also hitting out before Amit bowled him too to finish the innings. Their final score of 183 seemed like 30 too many – but with the pitch beginning to settle down, a lightning fast outfield and an opposition also limited to 10 fielders, it still felt chaseable.

A good start always helps – but we couldn’t have got off to a worse one as Pete Cresswell uncharacteristically hit Jamieson to cover in the opening over. At the rarefied position of number three, I scrambled to get my pads on and reach the crease – only to edge my second ball behind as keeper Webb took a stunning catch.

We have won games in the past after having been 0-2, and Amit and Sam Perera went about repairing the damage. They had put on 52 and were both looking in good touch – but Jamieson wasn’t finished with us yet. In his final over, he produced an absolute beauty of an inswinger to bowl Amit, before removing Sam as he feathered a catch behind.

Skipper for the day Nic Knight continued the fight, making light of a high full toss from Bradbury which he pulled with real authority to the square leg boundary. Shanmugam provided doughty support – only for the third pair of wickets to go down together. Nic gloved one from his opposing skipper Bishop down the leg side to be caught behind – and next ball, Bradbury got one through Shanmu’s defences to bowl him. Bishop struck again as Amiya was trapped LBW, and we were 85-7.

But the Allstars never go down without a fight, and Sam MacDonald reminded us all of how classy a batsman he is with some exquisitely timed cover and straight drives. With the run rate climbing, he finally perished at mid-off – but still we weren’t done. Sheahan went for his best Mark Waugh impressions with four crunching boundaries in his 20 – but he was last out as he clubbed Mortimer to mid-wicket.

But it was still a great day out against some likeable opposition, and there was some great chat after the game in the Red Lion – a pub well known to us over the years, and where we’d celebrated our club’s first ever victory, against Rain Men back in 2001. We wish Plastics all the best for their season ahead – but next up for us, it’s our first trip outside the capital this year, as we journey to Surrey to face Valley End on 15 May.

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