Recruiting for May fixtures now open!

The Allstars season is getting closer … and the fixture list is almost finalised.  See the “Fixtures 2019” tab for details.
We’re now recruiting for our first two fixtures of the season.   The first will be on Sunday 12 May, at a London ground (TBC shortly) against our old friends Baker Street Irregulars, who were such splendid guests at our inaugural T20 tri-series day last year.
A week later, on Sunday 19 May, we play Valley End CC at their lovely ground in Chobham, Surrey, which they’ve done a splendid job refurbishing this winter and will be in tip top condition for our visit.  As always, we can arrange lifts from the closest mainline train station (Woking) for those of who who don’t drive.
As with last year, we’re using the Doodle online poll system as an aid to recruitment for our fixtures.  This year, we’ll put up all the 2019 fixtures in one single poll, so if you already know which fixtures you want to play, you can sign up for them all in one go!
The link is below – we’ll of course remind you of it over the course of the season:
Looking forward to seeing you all for the new season!

Allstars end of season dinner 2018

At the Parcel Yard pub inside King’s Cross station, the Allstars and our other halves celebrated a great 2018 season, and honoured the Allstars of the Year!

Our resident poet, Richard “Rocket” Stephenson, presents his Ode to the Allstars’ favourite cricketer, Alastair Cook.

Haroon Khalid, our Master of Ceremonies, shows the highlights of our season and presents the awards.

First award of the night – Rocket, for his sterling work in recruitment.

Next recipient – Joe Silmon, our joint leading wicket taker. It’s great to see how his leg-spin has come on this season.

Next up for an award – Sachin Singh, our joint leading run scorer. As Sachin is busy preparing for his wedding, his colleague Rocket received the award on his behalf.

Next to be awarded, our club captain Pete Cresswell, for the innings of the season, a terrific 91 against Mighty Wanderers.

Finally, our club secretary Garreth Duncan receives the Lifetime Achievement award from his great friend and club founder Maxie Allen.

The Grand Finale

Saturday 29 September 2018, Marble Hill Park, Twickenham.

St Anne’s Allstars 232-6 (35 overs; Singh 53, Bowman 42) beat New Barbarian Weasels 204-7 (35 overs; Iyas 80) by 28 runs.

Report by Garreth Duncan – Photos by Pete Cresswell

The end of September in England marks the change of the sporting guard. The football season is now fully underway and the Premier League takes centre stage once again. Across the Channel, the Italian Francesco Molinari and the Lancastrian Tommy Fleetwood became a match made in heaven as Europe regained the Ryder Cup before a raucous Paris crowd. But cricket still has the chance for one last hurrah, and on a glorious, sun-kissed afternoon, we took it with victory over our old friends the New Barbarian Weasels to end the season in fine style.

Despite only playing one other game this season, Weasels were determined to fulfill the fixture, and they arrived in Twickenham with some timely reinforcements from skipper Asif’s friends and family in Birmingham. We batted first by arrangement, on an artificial surface which offered true, if slightly tennis ball bounce. Nipak Das, opening the batting on his Allstars debut, was quickly into the action. Having seen off a testing opening spell from Asif and Rash, he soon began to find the boundary. With club skipper Pete Cresswell providing solid support, the openers had put on 36 before Nipak was adjudged LBW to spinner Gul as he missed an attempted sweep.

Pete followed soon after, unable to repeat his mighty feats against Mighty Wanderers as he drove Omar to mid-on – but this was to bring together the key partnership of the day. Sachin Singh looked set as soon as he walked to the crease, and Paul “KP” Bowman carefully played himself in before he too went for his shots. Sachin reached his fifty in just 32 balls as the pair added 82 in 10 overs. They looked in such total control that it was a surprise when Sachin had his stumps knocked back as he went for another drive.

Sam Macdonald joined KP at the wicket and kept the momentum going, hooking the short ball well and driving powerfully as a further 52 were added in quick time. They both fell in quick succession – KP bowled by the returning Rash, and Sam brilliantly caught at long leg. Umar Asghar was soon caught at slip, and the Weasels were back in the game. But the Allstars’ batting line up was once again deep, and Ronanki Dharani and Ragavendiran Krishnamoorthy both played sparkling cameos as 36 came off the last 4 overs. Raga, making his first Allstars appearance of the season, played the shot of the day, a screaming six over cow corner in the final over. 232-6 seemed like a good score, but on a true pitch and a lightning outfield we had plenty work to do to defend it.

With a tough target to chase, Weasels had no choice but to attack from the beginning as openers Iyas and Waqas both went for it, Iyas driving hard at any over-pitched delivery and Waqas dabbing and cutting at anything short. But KP was not to be intimidated, and he struck first with a real effort ball which flew off Waqas’ glove and was well taken by keeper Dharani.

Nipak continued his excellent debut with two superb pieces of fielding at mid-off, a direct-hit run out of Gul and a well-judged catch to dismiss Amjad as Raga was rewarded for an accurate spell. Our old friend Iain Regnier-Wilson, who has done so much to keep the Weasels going over the years as well as guesting for the Allstars, came in and continued their positive approach – but Umar, in the week of his 18th birthday, kept control with the ball as well as doing some inspirational fielding on the boundary. It was a deserved present when he had Iain smartly taken by Sachin in the gully.

Iyas, sporting a cap from West Midlands league cricket, remained a danger, and after passing fifty he stepped hard on the gas, mixing monster blows over mid-wicket and down the ground with deft deflections down to third man as 19 came off an over. But pace off the ball was to be our key to victory. Joe Silmon was brought on and produced his best spell in an Allstars shirt, getting the critical breakthrough as Iyas, having batted superbly for his 80, top-edged another big shot and was taken by Dharani.

Skipper Asif continued the Weasels’ resistance – but the required run rate was climbing into double figures and beyond their reach. There was still time for the day’s champagne moment, as Richard “Rocket” Stephenson ran out Asif with our second direct hit of the day, and for me to take the final wicket as Jawad charged down the pitch and was easily stumped.

A great way to finish the season, as we celebrated in the Crown Inn. Whatever the future holds for the Weasels, they will always be welcome as opponents or players with us.

The playing season may be over, but we all have our end of season dinner on 24 November to look forward to, and our Director of Cricket Haroon Khalid is already planning winter nets to get us ready for next May …

Runs aplenty as Allstars retain James Abrahams Trophy

North London CC, Crouch End, Sunday 9 September 2018. St Anne’s Allstars (256-2 dec; Cresswell 91, Rattan 76) drew with Mighty Wanderers (155-4; Khalid 2-36).

By Pete Cresswell and Haroon Khalid

There is something wistful about club cricket in September, particularly on a balmy early autumn afternoon. There will be very little cricket left for the season. The winter will soon descend and the kit will be packed away until the following spring. When we do play, we want to make the most of the last remnants of the summer and to finish the season on a high. For one Allstar at least, this was to be the case.

The Allstars made their way to North London Cricket club for their annual fixture with our friends Mighty Wanderers for the coveted James Abrahams trophy. In a departure from recent meetings between the sides, a timed game format was decided upon.

The venue at North London is one of several on the same complex. With games simultaneously taking place on each, it has an idyllic allure. The ground for the encounter has one of the shortest boundaries on the Allstars circuit. Boundaries and singles would be the order of the day. In fact, it wasn’t until deep into the Wanderers innings that the first scoring shot accrued two runs.

Because of several dropouts, the game was reduced to ten a side with Stephenson kindly taking the field for the Wanderers. With the toss uncontested, Allstars skipper Nick Chadwick elected to make first use of a dry and slow surface. The innings soon got under way with Allstars stalwart Pete Cresswell and newcomer Ash Rattan opening the batting. The pair started cautiously, Wanderers’ first change bowler Nick Charlton being particularly challenging with a probing spell of fine outswing bowling. However, with a slip cordon spread too widely, a number of runs (frustratingly for the bowler) came through the third man region.

Both openers soon had the measure of the bowling and conditions, the fifty came up in the 10th over with the batsman matching each other run for run. The pair then firmly pushed down on the gas pedal with the century stand coming in only the 16th over. Rattan, making only his second Allstars appearance, continued his innings, driving with assurance and playing some delicate late cuts. Not to be outdone, Cresswell was brutal on anything off line; a clubbed on drive past mid-on off Jukes being particularly notable. Both batsman reached 50 within a short period of each other (Rattan in 49 balls, Cresswell 57). Aided by a generous number of extras, the pair posted the first Allstars opening stand exceeding 200 in only the 29th over.

A proud sight Allstars doubted they’d ever see (when we’re batting …)

All good things must come to an end, and in the 32nd over Rattan was adjudged lbw for 76 with the score on 214. The opening stand was an Allstars record for the first wicket, beating by almost 100 that set in 2016 by Sam Macdonald and Dave Halladay against the same opponents, and the second highest for any wicket in our history.

Ash’s wicket however only served to hasten the carnage. In 4.3 overs, the second wicket pair added 42 with new batsman Samer Hafiz tucking into the 35th over with alacrity, bludgeoning six boundaries. Realising the declaration would soon be forthcoming, Cresswell took 12 from five balls of the 36th over before being bowled by the returning Charlton for a magnificent 91, his innings coming from 99 balls with 19 fours. The declaration came immediately with the Allstars posting 256-2.

After an excellent tea at the main NLCC clubrooms the Allstars reconvened at Ferne Oval for a crack at the Wanderers’ batsmen. Wanderers’ opener Jules was quick to take advantage of the short boundaries and lightning outfield, taking a boundary off the first over from Haroon Khalid and another four of them in Chadwick’s first. However Khalid soon found the southern end to his liking, bowling Mathias in his second over & Jules in his wicket-maiden fourth to see the Wanderers on their heels.

The slowness of the pitch led skipper Chadwick to quickly turn to Tony Grant, who was unlucky to have a catch shelled by keeper Dharani first ball. But Samer’s left-arm spin quickly accounted for Maddison and at 58/3 in the 11th it was game on.

This wicket brought Andy and Nick Charlton together for the Wanderers, and they settled down to fight as the Allstars rotated their slow bowlers – Chadwick using 7 slow bowlers and 9 bowlers in total – in search of a breakthrough. The required run rate quickly grew in the face of some tight lines but the Charltons were resolute until Steyn Grobler deceived the elder Charlton LBW for the only wicket to fall from the northern end all day.

Chadwick and Khalid returned for the last 4 overs with super attacking fields in an attempt to blast out some wickets – but Nick Charlton and Tjasink were resolute, batting out for the draw, meaning that the Allstars retain the James Abrahams trophy.

Cricket’s second most important trophy remains in Allstars hands …

Player of the match: Pete Cresswell for his innings of 91.

Allstars hold nerve in September sunshine

Marble Hill Park, Twickenham, Saturday 1 September 2018.  St Anne’s Allstars 176 (P Kota 104) beat Crossbats 164-7 (R Asghar 2-16) by 12 runs.

By Haroon Khalid

Marble Hill

The English Heritage site, Marble Hill House, provides a picturesque backdrop to an afternoon of friendly cricket. Indeed, the north side of the house lends itself to a perfectly suitable makeshift sightscreen. On a warm and sunny autumn afternoon, with cricket taking place, it’s a charming, chocolate-box sight.

With the scene set, the game was afoot. As a result of last minute team changes and with one Allstar due to be delayed, Crossbats graciously conceded the toss and allowed the Allstars to bat first. We fielded no fewer than four debutants and one player making only a second appearance. This was our second contest with Crossbats, following our inaugural fixture last year at the same venue, which resulted in a nail-biting 4 wicket win for the visitors. This game would prove to be no less tense.

Despite losing 2 wickets for only 14 runs after 4 overs, Paul Burgin and debutant Pavan Kota consolidated adding 79. It was during this stand that Kota showed the form that had hitherto yielded him 483 runs at an average in excess of 60 for his club, the Gentlemen of West London, this season. At no time during his innings did he ever look in trouble; cutting and driving with plenty of time and without risk. The dismissal of Burgin on 93 precipitated a clatter of wickets, the following six wickets adding only 54. However, this was not before Kota had brought up a magnificent hundred with his 16th boundary, the first Allstars century in four years. A hectic tenth wicket stand of 29 between Khalid and debutant R Dharani in five overs took the score to 176 before the captain was run out to close the Allstars innings.

With conditions still good for batting (although the outfield was a little slow in places), the situation would certainly demand something remarkable from the Allstars in the field. And so it proved. The bowlers maintained a tight line and although wickets were not as forthcoming, the fielders gave their all for the cause.

After tea, Allstars started with skipper Khalid at the Richmond Road end and Farhan Aslam at the Marble Hill House End. However, so as not to bowl into the wind (and clearly showing a sign of his advancing years), Khalid brought Kota on in the 4th over from the House end to allow himself and Aslam to switch ends. The move did more for Aslam however who took the wicket of Alexander, lbw for 4.

Up to the end of the fourteenth over, the required run rate had climbed to over a run a ball.  But it was the introduction of Allstars colt Rayaan Asghar which brought the second remarkable performance of the day. Rayaan first had Carter caught by Farhan in his second over just before the drinks break. In his fourth, he had Skinner taken sharply at slip by debutant Sateesh. It was a wonderful exhibition of controlled finger spin bowling which yielded 2-16 from seven miserly overs. Just to add that, he took a catch to dismiss Wright that gave Joe Silmon his first wicket.  The fifth wicket stand yielded 33 before an excellent run out accounted for Skinner, to leave Crossbats 94-5.

With seven overs remaining, Crossbats required more than eleven an over. However, with Ross going well, the home side added 40 in six overs before Farhan continued his excellent bowling form by dismissing Sayers for nine with a clever piece of seam bowling that took the batsman’s off stump. During this stand however, the Allstars fielded superbly; Stephenson in particularly giving no quarter. Crossbats required 23 from the last over and although the first ball of Khalid’s seventh over pierced the field for four, the target proved too much with the Allstars prevailing by 12 runs.

The game was notable for an excellent fielding performance. The team chased, threw and caught wonderfully. When it comes to choosing a man of the match, it is hard to look beyond Pavan Kota’s innings. However, it should be noted that were it not for Asghar’s parsimonious spell, the result may well have been different. Therefore, on this occasion, both Rayaan and Pavan are joint players of the match.