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.

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.

Allstars End of Season Dinner 2021

Photos by Garreth Duncan and Pete Cresswell

At the Parcel Yard within King’s Cross Station, we gathered for our first social event in 2 years, to celebrate a fantastic 2021 season and award the Allstars of the Year!

Allstar of the Year 1: Sam Perera, our leading run scorer with 327 runs.

Allstar of the Year 2: Sam Waddicor, with 12 wickets and some sparkling late order batting.

Allstar of the Year 3: Sheahan Arnott, our leading wicket taker with 15 wickets.

Allstar of the Year 4: Amit Deverathippa, our best newcomer with 94 runs and 10 wickets in an excellent debut season.

Allstar of the Year 5: Sachin Singh, our leading all-rounder with 119 runs and 12 wickets.

And finally… the worthy winner of this year’s Long Service award is our club vice-captain Vivek Seth, for 13 years’ devoted service to our club.

That’s all from the Allstars in 2021 – see you again in 2022!

Allstars show Gardeners a Mean Time in Greenwich

Greenwich Park, Saturday 25 September 2021.

St Anne’s Allstars 77-3 (26.1 overs: Sanjay Dindyal 44*) beat Salmagundi Gardeners 75 all out (31.1 overs: Sachin Singh 3-9, Sam Waddicor 3-11, Nic Knight 2-6) by 7 wickets.

Allstars debut: Harshad Keskar

Report by Pete Cresswell – Photos by Nic Knight and Pete Cresswell

The Allstars finished the 2021 season in prime (meridian) position with an excellent win in our inaugural fixture with our good friends the Salmagundi Gardeners in Greenwich Park.

Petrol station queues made for nightmarish traffic around London, so with 7 Gardeners and 9 Allstars present at the scheduled 12:30 start time the captains agreed that the Gardeners would bat first on a green tinged pitch in incredibly picturesque surrounds and overcast, humid conditions. With both teams expecting 12 players, a bat-12, field-11 40-over match format promised a great final day of cricket for 2021.

We had 11 Allstars present by the start, so Sam Waddicor took up the attack from the Blackheath end, bowling to Stu Bruce – whose 50 and hat trick on his Allstars debut was the “Champagne Moment” of our 2020 season. It was Sheahan Arnott who provided the initial breakthrough in the second over, getting Gardeners’ skipper Richard Higginbottom caught behind by Nipak Das, playing his second Allstars match following a spell living in Singapore. Sheahan was the only Shhhh brother present (congratulations to Sean Jun on completing the Hackney Half marathon on the day), and he kept up the brothers’ stellar season bowling 4 very shipshape maidens to finish with 1-3 off 5.

It was Sam W’s turn to get his name in the wickets column in his fourth over, finding swing and uneven bounce to shiver the timbers of both Tim Richards and Sourabh Bezalwar and reduce the Gardeners to 8-3, which became 13-4 two overs later when Stu skied one from Sam to Nic Knight at mid-wicket.

Sachin Singh and debutant Harshad Keskar then took up the attack, Harshad being robbed of a maiden Allstars wicket by a dropped catch. Sachin was bowling very tightly, wicket to wicket as is his wont, and was rewarded with two LBWs in his fourth over, removing d’Rozario and Incledon.

After drinks, Nic Knight and Sanjay Dindyal took up the attack, bowling in tandem for the first time in 18 years. Nic found immediate success, bowling Douglas in his first over and getting the elder Shaikh well caught by Harshad at mid on, to leave the Gardeners looking through an astronomical telescope for a healthy total at 48-8.

Unfortunately for Nic, he missed out on a third wicket when a firmly struck return shot burst through his hands like a naval cannonball, leaving a rather nasty welt on his forehead and ending his match. The presence of surgeon Sanjay meant a trip to the Royal Naval Hospital for Sailors was unnecessary, and hopefully Nic is feeling better now.

Nipak (taking to the bowling crease after a stellar 20 overs’ wicket keeping) and the returning Sachin mopped up the tail quicker than a Cutty Sark clipper passage, meaning the Allstars needed just 76 to pick up a final “W” for 2021.

After tea, Sanjay and Jono Beagle opened up for the Allstars, Jono eager to resume battle with Stuart Bruce after being dismissed by him playing for Cambridge NCI last week. Unfortunately for Jono he managed to check-drive a shot to short cover off Amesbury before getting to face Bruce.

Matt Biss and Sanjay then combined in a 46-run second wicket stand to break the back of the chase in the face of some steady bowling on an increasingly two-paced pitch. Leg spinner Z. Shaikh had Matt caught at slip on the stroke of drinks trying to force the pace, then bowled Martin Ostrowski around his legs after the resumption to reduce the Allstars to 56-3.

That however brought the season’s leading run scorer Sam Perera to the crease, and he wasted no mean time seeing us home with four boundaries in a 17-ball 15. Sheet-anchor Sanj was left unbeaten on an excellent 44 – his highest score of the season, and a brave one too having taken a blow in the ribs.

A fine end to the season, and an enjoyable day against some good friends.

I’d also like to take the opportunity to thank everyone who’s contributed to the Allstars over the 2021 season. We managed 15 matches this year, the most since 2009 despite having a couple of fixtures called off. Hopefully we’ll see each other at social events over the winter, and roll on 2022!

Allstars can’t keep up as Railway Taverners live the life of Reilly

Bentley Heath CC, Potters Bar, Sunday 12 September 2021.

Railway Taverners 257-5 (35 overs: Eiran Reilly 139*, Powes 61, Nic Knight 2-13, Sam Perera 2-19) beat St Anne’s Allstars 178 all out (28.1 overs: Sam Perera 51, Samer Hafiz 42, Knight 38, Winter 3-52, Pale 3-10) by 79 runs.

Allstars debuts: Terry Jones, Mark Machado.

Report by Sheahan Arnott – Photos by Sheahan Arnott, Nic Knight and Maxie Allen

It wouldn’t be an Allstars fixture without a certain level of chaos, and our match against Railway Taverners was no exception. Our story begins about a week out, with North Middlesex Cricket Club telling us to sling our collective hook as they needed the ground we were scheduled to play at for a cup fixture. The Taverners contacted every cricket club from Marylebone to Melbourne before eventually finding a willing wicket at the quaint Bentley Heath CC.

Sunday came, and as the September sun beat down and the sheep in yonder field grazed, I lost the toss and we were invited to field. The wicket was hard and flat – a rarity this season – and the ground small, fast and hard to defend with only 10 fielders.

Samir Hafiz opened the bowling with his canny left-arm spin and began with a very tidy maiden over. But my feeling of revolutionary limited-overs tactical mastery was short-lived as Railway Taverners’ captain Eiran Reilly soon began his 35-over onslaught of aggressive batting. Our new ball was replaced about 4 overs into the innings after Reilly again dispatched his opposite number into the long grass, and the replacement ball had about as much life as Highgate Cemetery.

Bentley Heath groundsman Terry Jones had joined our illustrious number and was playing his first game of cricket in a few years, but found his range quickly with subtle (and not so subtle) changes of pace. But sadly runs began to flow as quickly as Monty Python jokes before Sam Perera broke The Tavs’ opening stand at 80. Sam strangled Ives down the legside to claim his second wicket with Nic “Hollywood” Knight completing his first catch as our wicketkeeper. It was Nic’s first foray into glovework after I identified him as having “a keeper’s energy”, but I’m not sure he’s itching to do the job again!

Sam’s second wicket brought Powes to the crease, and he soon clicked into gear matching Reilly’s heavy-hitting with some lusty blows of his own. Newcomer Mark Machado, Sanjay Dindyal, and Pablo Burgin all toiled away trying to break the partnership, but it was Nic who finally ended their stand at 135 in the second-last over with a smart caught-and-bowled. Vale survived his first ball before Nic slipped one through him to claim his second Allstars wicket.

Mark and yours truly combined to run out Ewer in the last over, as he sacrificed his wicket to get Reilly back on strike for a chance to break the Taverners’ club record score (spoiler alert – he did). That left the Taverners on a mighty 257-5 with Reilly carrying his bat for an almost chanceless 139*. I couldn’t fault the effort and energy from every Allstar in the field. 258 would be a big ask, but not an insurmountable total by any means. As I said, the pitch was true, the outfield was fast and the ground was small.

Pablo and Nic opened the innings and they did well to keep out some fairly accurate bowling, before Pablo was trapped in front by Tim. Nic soon found his range, taking 14 from Winter’s first over as he was joined by Martin Ostrowski at the crease. Nic and Martin took the score to 50, with the former looking in ominous touch. A brilliant one-handed catch at cover removed Nic for a classy 38, before Winter bowled Martin behind his legs two balls later. Sanj fell in Marcos’ first over leaving the mighty Allstars 5 down and plenty to do, still needing about 200 runs to win.

Like a drunk person watching Cheers, it was all about the two Sams, as Perera and Hafiz quickly began to tip the scales back in our favour. If you’ve seen them bat before, you’ll know neither of them waste time scoring and they were quickly sending the Tavs’ fielders diving into the long grass and hedges looking for the ball.

Matthews broke their stand as it neared 80, plucking a caught-and-bowled from another well-struck Hafiz drive on 42. I joined Sam at the crease, confident that if we batted our over we would win. Alas, I missed a straight one – something that happened far too often this season. Terry helped Sam Perera reach yet another Allstars half-century, but he was our last man out for 51 as the good guys fell 79 runs short in the end.

The margin probably didn’t reflect the difference in skill between the two teams, but I’m sure none of us who bowled to him will forget Reilly’s thumping blade any time soon. As with all great Allstars games, we adjourned to the pub to commiserate – which was far easier with Reilly buying us a pint to celebrate his achievement. And it turns out the Railway Taverners are actually based out of my local watering hole, so it looks like I’ll be spending this off-season finding somewhere else to drink!