Landray and Grant Spit Fire under scorching Kent skies

Matfield, Sunday 10 July 2022.

St Anne’s Allstars 264/7 dec (31 overs, T Landray 120*, A Grant Jr 76, Bowden 3-48, Dann 3-50) drew with Matfield Green CC 147/5 (38 overs, G Heady 59 ret, H Cooper 49, M Bergot 2-5, A Grant Jr 2-26).

Allstars Debuts: Ted Landray, Max Bergot

Report by Pete Cresswell – Photos by Pete Cresswell

The Allstars’ trip to the beautiful Matfield Green is an annual highlight of our season. This year we were also able to welcome back club stalwart Tony Grant’s son Gus, turning out in a Canbashers (TG’s other team, from whom we inherited the fixture) shirt for his first Matfield appearance in 15 years. Gus also brought along a couple of mates in Ted Landray and Max Bergot to make their Allstars debuts.

The day dawned scorchingly hot, and we were greeted by a flat looking pitch, and a lightning fast outfield – somewhat daunting with both sides reduced to 10 players due to injuries. TG lost the toss and Matfield (sportingly) opted to field in the heat of the day. Their opening bowlers Craig Bell and Greg Dann found some seam movement with the new ball, Dann getting balls to angle into middle then seam away, uprooting Chris Woods’ off stump with a superb delivery. In the 4th over Sam Perera dispatched a couple of loose balls from Dann to the fence – but he was then given out trapped in front with one that may have cleared off stump.

Debutant Ted Landray then joined the (typically) watchful Pete Cresswell at 9/2, and the pair rebuilt the innings, taking the score to 50 by taking advantage of the lightning outfield before Hal Cooper brought one back in past Cresswell’s inside edge, trapping him in front for 15, and Matt Biss became the 3rd lbw of the innings shortly after.

We were then treated to a quick cameo from our second debutant Max Bergot. He hit three boundaries in his 13, before he was bowled by Bowden, who next ball tempted Sam MacDonald to chip to extra cover leaving the Allstars reeling at 94/6 in the 16th.

This was the moment the match turned, as Gus Grant joined Landray, and the pair teed off against Matfield’s change bowlers. They added a breathtaking 118 in just 6.2 overs even though Ted had a straight six chalked off (the conditions of Matfield’s public liability insurance stating that any six hit into the garden of the house on the straight boundary counts as 0 – even though, since the condition was applied, the new home owner has joined the club as a player).

The stand ended when Gus holed out off the returning Dann for 76 – but the carnage hadn’t ended, as Gren Thompson quickly opened his account with a six. He and Ted added another 52 in 9 overs with Ted completing a superb debut ton before TG declared 20 minutes before tea. That did make us somewhat unpopular with the local tea committee, who were still heating savouries – but a longer break was rather welcome in the heat, as was the excellent tea.

After tea, Gren Thompson and Sam Perera led our attack. Gren struck with the third ball of the innings, striking Greg Dann on the glove, with the ball looping over the batter’s shoulder onto the base of the stumps. Giles Heady then joined Hal Cooper, the pair playing positively as they added 113 for the second wicket, taking full toll of any chance to pierce the field, as a World War II P51 Mustang flew tributary circuits in the distance. A tidy spell from Matt Biss and the introduction of Gus Grant slowed the scoring rate, with TG bringing himself on after Matt’s spell and turning in some tight overs.

The last time TG & Gus played Matfield together was about 15 years ago for Canbashers. On that occasion TG dropped a catch off Gus’s bowling. Happily this time he was able to put that right, snaffling Cooper at slip to open up an end.

Giles Heady retired for 59 shortly after battling with the heat and sunscreen and sweat in his eyes. Gus then bowled Jaime Curtis to give us a sniff of a chance though we were well into the final hour of play. But Matfield’s skipper Ed Barsley weighed anchor with Andrew Peaple, the pair getting to the final over before Max Bergot made his debut a memorable one, coming on and picking up both batsmen as a Spitfire graced us with a low fly pass.

All our bowlers had toiled well in the heat, and Sam MacDonald put in an excellent shift behind the stumps to get us close to a win, but it wasn’t to be as Matfield saw the remaining overs out for the draw.
Still, it was a very sociable day once again, with beers enjoyed with the genial opposition afterwards at the Star pub, next to the ground. We thoroughly look forward to a trip southeast next year – but we have a busy week ahead, with an evening T20 against Agricola at Chiswick on Wednesday followed by another of our marquee fixtures, against Heartaches at Aston Rowant next Sunday.

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