Wham, Bam, Thank You Sam as St Anne’s Go HAM in the Glitz and Glam of the T20 Slam, Fam.

King’s House Sports Ground, Chiswick, Wednesday 13 July 2022.

St Anne’s Allstars 118-4 (16.1 overs: Sam MacDonald 33* ret) beat Agricola CC 114 all out (20 overs: Calvin Smith 3-15; Sam Waddicor 2-24) by 6 wickets.

Allstars Debuts: Ahmad Rabbani, Calvin Smith, Niz Sirisena, G-W Welsby, Tee Bizayi.

Report by Sheahan Arnott – Photos by Pete Cresswell

Like Neil Diamond workshopping his lyrics, it was a hot July night with the leaves hanging down and the grass on the ground smelling like bore water as Brother Cresswell’s Travelling Salvation Show rolled into the King’s House School sporting complex in Chiswick.

We don’t venture too much into the world of T20 – largely as it lacks the gravitas of The Hundred – but a midweek pink ball contest against the farm-based-soft-drink-sounding Agricola was the order of the day, and I was keen to avoid a repeat of my Allstars captaincy debut.

On a sweltering evening ripped from the pages of a Tennessee Williams play, I called wrong and we found ourselves in the field. Sam Waddicor took all of three balls to dismiss Mohinder, taking a tricky caught-and-bowled on a fly-ball (as our baseballing brethren would say) that might have endangered the plums of the gentleman in seat 9C of a low-flying aircraft.

New chum Calvin Smith started well and was rewarded when he found Matt Coles’ woodwork in his second over to put the clamps on a free-flowing start to the Agricola innings. 2 became 3 as Sam “The Leg Gully Panther” MacDonald’s first run-out of the day sent Alex packing after a barbecue that would make the even great Aaron Franklin weep salt tears and leave Agricola rocking at 34-3.

Maneesh and Marko began to resurrect the innings, with Maneesh finding the boundary regularly. But in a cruel twist of fate, he found himself dismissed in that classic cricketing detective fashion – just 1 run away from retirement – caught by The Leg Gully Panther off the bowling of debutant Niz Sirisena.

Debutant Tee Bizayi was unlucky not to get a breakthrough in his spell at the crease, and Agricola began to fight fire with fire, as Marko – an off-brand TG by way of Richard Kiel – opened his shoulders down the ground with some lusty straight hitting off the bowling of Ahmad Rabbani. Ahmad joined our ranks halfway through the third over as he’d mixed up the dates and arrived a week early for his team’s fixture against Agricola.

A captaincy masterstroke (though it’s not for me to say) saw Sam Perera chime in with an over of spin, as the batsmen looked to use the pace of our attack to their advantage. It had the desired effect as The Panther struck again, this time running out Agricola’s captain, Sam Farnham, in a shocking display of self-hating anti-Sametism.

I returned to the crease with the desired effect, adding Justin to my ever-growing list creatively titled “Blokes I Bowled”. Craig proved to be more industrious until he hit a lofted cover drive straight to Tee to give Sam Waddicor his second wicket and leave Agricola 105-7.

Calvin then produced a double-wicket maiden 19th over, which included a neat stumping by Richard Slatford – just reward for a man who, like the Artful Dodger wearing clothes accidentally washed in the wrong laundry detergent, had been itching to pick someone’s pocket all day. It was a fine debut for Calvin claiming 3-15 from 3 overs including 3 wickets in 4 balls.

A final run-out from Sam Perera dismissed Marko for 31, and we were set 115 for victory. I don’t remember a better fielding and bowling performance from the Allstars, and it made my job very easy. This is what Sheahanball is all about.

Coming into the game, I felt our batting was probably our strength, so I was comfortable with our ability to chase down 115 and square my captaincy ledger. In a near carbon copy of our first over, debutant ‘GW’ Welsby skied a return catch to leave us 1-1 after 3 balls. But Sam MacDonald instantly showed his class and fearlessness with a beautiful straight six off the last ball of the first over.

Pete Cresswell was keen to get his feet moving early, and was harshly adjudged LBW off Mohinder despite being so far down the wicket it made the Thames Path Challenge seem like a short jaunt to the shops.

Tee then joined Sam at the crease, and the two began to find the boundary regularly before Tee offered a catch to point off Modi for 12. The two Sams – Perera and MacDonald – then guided us from a precarious position in typical counter-punching fashion before Sam Perera, having hit 17 off just 9 balls, lost his wicket to a 1-in-100 catch on the boundary off Modi, leaving us 58-4 in the 10th.

Sam MacDonald continued unfazed as Slats joined him at the crease, and retired at the agreed mark of 30, finishing his day with 33 from 31 – a key hand in getting us home. The experienced heads of Slats (16*) and Ahmad (18*) then guided us home by 6 wickets with the best part of 4 overs remaining. Once again, I was left with a padded-up DNB, but with no one to blame but myself.

In true Allstars fashion, we shook hands and retired to the bar to break down the evening’s entertainment. It was an excellent all-around performance – especially given we weren’t as experienced at T20 as our opponents – and it augurs well for our game against Heartaches on Sunday, as we attempt to show that Rice guys do finish last.

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