Plastics Oh No Abandoned Plastics

Barn Elms, Sunday 25 July 2021.

Plastics 131-6 (Bishop 32*, Bradbury 22, Vivek Seth 2-24, Teddy Bascombe 2-34) v St Anne’s Allstars. No result.

Allstars Debuts – Teddy Bascombe, Martin Ostrowski

Report by Sheahan Arnott – Photos by Pete Cresswell

While the eyes of the sports world are trained on Tokyo, the eyes of the cricketing world are firmly planted on the game’s hottest new format. No, it’s not #TheHundred, it’s Catch-22 – the new 22-over-per-side variation that debuted to the public at Barn Elms circa 1pm on 25 July.

But historical significance aside, today’s debut of Catch-22 (patent pending) did not go as planned. When captain Vivek Seth walked out with Jamieson to flip the farthing, the two agreed on a 25-over fixture with an eye on the meteorological goings-on of South London. Our intrepid captain lost the toss, and the mighty Allstars headed into field first – but it was a good toss to lose, as Captain Viv told us, so who are we to argue.

Though weather more than played its part, it’s safe to say the cricketing world is richer for its new addition. And keen cricketing historians will note that one day internationals came about thanks to a rain-affected Test in 1971, so I don’t think I’m speaking out of turn calling today’s fixture a watershed moment in cricket history.

The Allstars’ attack looked suited to modern day limited-overs cricket with 4 generously-termed off-spinners due to provide the bulk of the overs including debutante and second-generation Allstar Teddy Bascombe.

After playing out a maiden in the first over, Bradbury began to make hay – despite the sun barely shining – and he took a liking to both opening bowlers with firmly-struck boundaries down the ground. Captain Viv slipped one past an aggressive shot too many to claim what looked to be an important wicket. Bradbury was replaced by the equally aggressive Webb who didn’t waste time getting his eye in before opening his shoulders up. Webb’s cameo was short-lived as he added his name to the list of Sheahan’s LBW dismissals this season (shhh), before Viv got his second in the next over – rearranging Hatton’s furniture like a bored IKEA employee.

Bishop and Clifton started their partnership with some aggressive running between the wickets as Max and Teddy Bascombe took up the attack. Richard “Slats” Slatford looked threatening with the gloves on from the start of the day – picking pockets like he owed Fagan a serious apology – and when Teddy beat Clifton’s outside edge, Slats was there to whip the bails off and give Teddy her first Allstars wicket.

As the game swung from one end to the other and the heavens began to open in earnest, Jimmy Scott lured the dangerous Daley down the wicket with his first ball and Slats did the rest completing his second stumping of the day. Daley ended up flat on his back with none of the grace and poise of his Olympic namesake.

Players from both sides ran for the pavilion as the rain got too heavy to continue, but we were out in the field before you could say “Pete! Don’t bother with the rest of the covers!”. Jimmy completed his over, but our joy was short-lived as we ran for cover once again in the next over. The captains agreed to change the face of cricket forever and Walker’s Catch22™ was born. We battled on through persistent rain as Plastics worked hard to set us a total. Teddy returned to claim her second wicket – bowling Sandham – and when Jimmy delivered the final ball we looked set to be chasing 131, with Bishop finishing with a well-made 32 not out.

But the weather gods had other plans, and despite moving the game to the adjacent synthetic wicket, we abandoned the match as the Matt Brothers – Lo and Biss – had barely got their pads on to open our innings. 

We adjourned to the Red Lion to make the most of our free-ish afternoon as Allstars near and far told us that we could have played in Wales, Borehamwood and Tokyo. It was a small comfort but the pints helped as conversations ranged from underappreciated golf courses of Scotland to which Allstars bowler would you least like to face. 

Despite the day not panning out the way we might have liked, the impact of Catch22 (copyright St Anne’s Allstars 2021) may not be felt for generations. And perhaps Teddy may lead England’s Catch22 XI out at Lord’s in years to come. 

We head north to Watford next week to tackle Edgware CC and maybe a sneaky pre-match team bonding trip to Harry Potter Studios for some butterbeer and questionable views of the modern world.

Allstars tread Line of Duty in Cambridge scorcher

Parker’s Piece, Cambridge, Sunday 18 July 2021.

St Anne’s Allstars 147-7 (40 overs, Matt Biss 39, Amit Deverathippa 35*) beat Cambridge NCI 4th XI 130-8 (40 overs, Rumble 36, Sheahan Arnott 5-5) by 17 runs.

Allstars debutant: Tom Cadmore

Report by Pete Cresswell- Photos by Pete Cresswell and Shanmugam Sama

Summer dawned fiercely hot on Sunday as the Allstars journeyed up to Cambridge for the annual fixture against our good friends NCI on historic Parker’s Piece. Five Allstars in the playing XI (including the loaned debutant Tom Cadmore) had turned out at least once for NCI in the past, making for a very friendly day in the sun.

On arrival we were greeted by a well browned wicket, that required use of a jug of water to aid setting up of the stumps. Given the temperature and the pitch colour, Allstars skipper Cresswell had no hesitation in opting to bat first after calling correctly – he then surveyed a fairly handy looking Allstars batting line up and hid himself away at number 11.

There was quickly agreement between the captains that any batsman hitting the cow sculpture on the boundary (at wide long-off/fine leg to a right hander so sadly not a proper cow corner) should be rewarded with a “10” for on the full, and a “5” along the ground.

Shortly thereafter, Matt Biss and Paul Burgin walked to the crease to take up the attack. NCI were fielding an attack reminiscent of a ‘90s New Zealand side, pace off the ball and accurate, which worked very well on a slow, lowish pitch. Burgin, Jono Beagle and Shanmugam Sama all spent some time occupying the crease but were unable to push the score along before perishing. With all three gone – Burgin bowled by a ball that drifted away and cut in off the pitch, Beagle caught and bowled by one that stopped, and Shanmugam to a good catch at gully, the Allstars were under 30/3 for the third consecutive week, and 15 overs were gone.

Sam Perera joined Biss fresh off his Mill Hill ton, and showed off his power and timing, hitting 3 fours and a 5 into the cow in his 22 to provide some much needed acceleration, before Hywel Roberts joined Biss in working the ball around to push us up to 80/5 in the 27th. That became 88/7 in the 30th as Biss’s long vigil ended as he was stumped trying to accelerate, and Cadmore holed out. But the Allstars batting line up ran deep, and Amit Deverathippa and Samer Hafiz came together to add an excellent 59 in the final 10 overs as NCI flagged a little in the heat. 147 off 40 overs was looking a very defendable score given the slow pitch and long boundaries.

After tea, it was the Allstars’ turn to field in the heat. Shanmugam and Sheahan Arnott took up the opening attack, the “Shhh” brothers proving very economical. By this point the pitch was slow enough to have keeper Cresswell standing up to the stumps! Sheahan was getting considerable swing and was rewarded early, bowling NCI skipper Duby in the 2nd over, and pinning Schlichter in front in the 4th. Another two in his 4th had NCI reeling at 12/4, Sheahan taking an incredible 4-1 off his opening six overs.

Samer Hafiz (S.H. being named the newest Shhh brother on the day) bowled Foster in his first over to make the score 22/5. At this point NCI veteran Eddie Ashfield was joined by Sally Kent, and the pair essayed a recovery, a 30-run stand being broken when Kent pulled a leg-side long hop from Paul Burgin straight to Cadmore at square leg.

Rumble at number 8 played aggressively, taking boundaries off Burgin and Cadmore. The heat forced Ashfield to retire, but Swarbrick also played positively until skying the returning Arnott to Cadmore (who took 2 good catches playing with a broken finger) to give Sheahan a well-earned ‘Michelle’. We have now added 3 names to the Allstars’ honours board in 4 weeks!

Rumble and Kapil managed to add another 35 in the final 8 overs, but the asking rate was too high, and Shanmugam picked up a deserved wicket yorking a charging Kapil on the last ball of the match.

Some cold beverages from the Thai restaurant that shares a building with the Piece changing rooms followed as both sides enjoyed a balmy evening after a great day’s cricket.

Games are coming thick and fast this season, and next up we face Plastics CC at Barn Elms on Sunday.

Ten lions on a shirt

Matfield, Kent, Sunday 11 July 2021.

Matfield Green CC 163-5 (40 overs: William Izzard 82*, Sachin Singh 2-33) beat St Anne’s Allstars 162-7 (46 overs: Sachin Singh 43; Pete Cresswell 23*, Justin Bowden 3-35, Hal Cooper 2-20) by 5 wickets.

Report and photos by Garreth Duncan

Matfield is the most scenic of the fixtures on our calendar, their stunning ground truly evoking practically every cliché of what village cricket is supposed to be about. Our visits there always seem to coincide with great sporting events – on our first, to play Canbashers in 2007, we saw the Tour de France pass through the village, and our last visit, two years ago, was followed the next day by England’s nail-biting cricket World Cup victory. As befitting Kent, we were to be treated by a Spitfire fly-past.

This time, more than any other time, this time, we all hoped both that we’d get it right and an England triumph in the Euro 2020 final at Wembley would follow. It wasn’t to come home in both cases – but once again, we fought like lions in a tight contest before being edged out by superior opposition with just an over to go.

With the football looming, both sides did well to muster 10 players each. The previous day’s rain had left the pitch looking decidedly green, and Matfield’s skipper had no hesitation on putting us in to bat on winning the toss. Matt Biss and James Morgan opened the batting for the Allstars, and quickly found Hal Cooper a real handful as he’d been on our previous visits – pacy, prodigious swing and balls frequently keeping low. Justin Bowden, although not as quick, probed away accurately, and runs off the bat were hard to come by. Bowden made the first blow as Morgsy was bowled playing over another skidder, and next over Cooper struck as he had Matt trapped LBW. Hywel Roberts began with a crunching boundary through point, but Bowden replied instantly by pinning him leg before, and we were 29-3 and in some trouble.

With the openers rested, Sachin Singh and skipper Pete Cresswell then began a spirited Allstars fightback, carefully playing themselves in against change bowlers Simon Knott and Ian Woods. Sachin then began to unfurl his full range of shots once again as we began to accelerate, and the pair had added 69 for the fourth wicket before Sachin was caught at mid-on. Chris Woods’ eyes lit up at Wells’ friendly-looking bowling, only to miss a rare straight one, and we were 108-5.

Pete continued the fight, ably assisted by Gren Thompson and Sheahan Arnott, and we continued to advance. The return of the opening bowlers slowed our progress, Cooper having Gren caught at cover and Bowden bowling Sheahan after the Aussie had struck some meaty blows. We were pleased to welcome Max Bascombe back to the Allstars, and he cracked a boundary as the tea interval loomed. Our final score of 162-7 looked 30 or 40 short, and Matfield knew they could win if they didn’t give up the chase.

Matfield’s tea was as good as ever, and we set about defending our total. Gren Thompson, in his first Allstars appearance of the season, began superbly and quickly grabbed the first wicket as a full delivery trapped Giles Heady LBW. Their next was a gift, as a crazy mix-up left Euan Cooper and Keir Hoffmann at the same end, my throw from point effecting the easiest run-out of my long Allstars career. Sheahan followed up immediately by bowling Hoffmann, and Matfield were 32-3.

Sachin joined the attack, and soon got his reward as Hywel (who cheerfully regaled that Welsh radio had been playing “That’s Amore” and other Italian songs all day) joined the party with a stunning, low catch at square leg to remove Marcus Meredith. But Matfield’s star batsman William Izzard was already beginning to express himself and create the space. To dismiss him, we knew we had to hold and give but do it at the right time. But this wasn’t to be our afternoon in the field, as he was dropped three times – though all of them difficult chances.

Sachin showed us how it’s done, taking a smart caught and bowled to remove Cooper, and Matfield were 92-5 with 13 of the mandatory last 20 to bowl. Max bowled a tidy spell from the other end – but the (W)izzard continued to swing his bat freely. Finding an able partner in Bowden, the target continued to tick down. With only 30 needed off the last 5, we just had to hope Matfield were going to throw it away, going to blow it away – but we know they can play. There was only one way to beat them – get round the back – and Gren and Sheahan were recalled for one final blast. But we couldn’t break through, and Matfield got home with six balls remaining.

Nevertheless, it was another game where we gave it everything and can be proud of the effort we put up – twenty years of hurt never stops us dreaming. We look forward to visiting Matfield again next year – but next up, we head to Cambridge next Sunday to renew our friendly rivalry with Matt and Jono’s NCI at beautiful Parker’s Piece.

The Mill Hill Massacre

Mill Hill Village CC, Sunday 4 July 2021.

St Anne’s Allstars 224-3 (34 overs: Sam Perera 106*, Steyn Grobler 70*, Rob Davis 3-48) beat Gradcasts 74 (15 overs: Fletcher 24, Sheahan Arnott 3-14, Shanmugam Sama 3-15, Paul Burgin 2-19) by 150 runs.

Report by Paul Burgin- Photos by Pete Cresswell and Paul Burgin

The dawning of another Allstars’ Sunday was initially met with some trepidation. The weather forecast, Covid drop outs and a new opponent at a ground where we suffered a narrow defeat earlier in the season pointed towards a difficult afternoon. The Gradcasts, a team resulting from a merger between Little Gradholm and Outcasts, were playing for the first time post-Covid. They’ll be much better for this hit out, with the makings of a very handy bowling lineup.

On top of this, my day started with a drive to Aylesbury to pick up Sam Perera and over to High Wycombe to collect birthday-boy Shanmugam Sama. Dharani Ronanki also made a welcome return to the action after making the Herculean effort of playing in the game despite living in Derby. It was great to have him back behind the stumps.

With all nine Allstars safely arrived at the venue alongside 10 Gradcasts, I took to the wicket with oppo skipper Matt and smiled as he incorrectly called tails. With a lower number of players available I opted to bat and was then persuaded by Steyn Grobler that we should swap our positions in the batting order. It was to prove a wise move.

Pete Cresswell and Matt Biss strode out to the wicket and all seemed normal as the opening batsmen saw off the opening bowlers, negating some swing and bounce well.

The introduction of Gradcasts’ Rob Davis quickly turned the tide in their favour, as he bowled Matt in his first over before adding Pete and then Sheahan Arnott to his victim list, both bowled by in-swingers ricocheting off their pads, with the score at a rather inauspicious 32-3 off 9 overs.

However this brought Steyn and Sam together at the crease and they quickly found a rhythm seldom seen amongst Allstars batsmen, firstly steadying the ship and then beginning to motor through the gears. The increasingly forlorn Gradcasts bowlers were unlucky to have both batsmen dropped in the field, off consecutive balls. Those chances could have put a massively different complexion on the game.

At 77-3 off 18 at drinks the signs were good – and by the time the rain was falling heavily at the end of the 34th over the Saffa and the Sri Lankan had taken the Allstars to a frankly unbelievable total of 224. In the process, they recorded the third highest partnership in Allstars history, an unbroken 192. Sam finished unbeaten on 106 – the first century by an Allstars regular in seven years – after peppering the boundary in the slog overs, with Steyn playing a stylish and no less spectacular unbeaten 70. The rain began to fall heavily at the end of the 34th over and we decided to end the Allstars innings at this point.

After the rain and tea break the Allstars returned to the field in optimistic mood. With Shanmugam, Sean Jun and myself not having had a bat, I was keen to give as many of us a go as possible with a defendable lead in hand.

Shanmugam struck twice in his third over, his pace seemingly too hot for either McDonald or Thornton to defend. At the other end, Sean bowled a tight pacey line but didn’t get the breakthrough that his excellent bowling demanded.

Shanmugam struck again in his next over which brought a change to the bowling attack as the Allstars were clearly in the ascendancy.

Sheahan wasted little time adding to Gradcasts’ misery though, firstly trapping Tremaine lbw before bowling both Collins and Lamb. Gradcasts were now 60-6 and facing defeat in the face.

Fletcher proved the most difficult of the Gradcasts’ batsmen to remove even though he was batting on one leg with a runner after pulling a calf in the field, which also cut short his promising bowling spell. But his luck ran out on 24, attempting to sweep me deep into the leg side, sub-fielder Matt Hazelhurst taking an excellent catch in the deep to heap further pressure onto his own teammates.

There was enough time for me to take the wicket of Rob Davis before club captain and Allstars legend Pete Cresswell stepped forward and took the final wicket of Young, a great catch held at cover by Shanmugam to bring the Gradcasts innings to an end having scored 74 runs in total.

We congratulated the opposition for the game and apologised for the nature of our victory. Gradcasts were a very likeable set of chaps who generously loaned us a fielder through their innings, and on another day I think the result could have been very different. We hope to see them again next year and support their wider venture to become a more permanent social cricket team.

What had started as a day of apprehension finished with a great celebration in the Adam and Eve. Indeed, this was a comprehensive victory – our biggest ever by runs – and a strong all-round performance. Whisper it, shhhh, we’re on a bit of a roll now gentlemen. Let’s keep it going again at Matfield next weekend.

Sachin and Amit star as Mighty Wanderers vanquished

Crouch Hill CC, Sunday 27 June 2021.

St Anne’s Allstars 165-5 (27.1 overs, Matt Lo 47, Sanjay Dindyal 37*, Matt Biss 32) beat Mighty Wanderers 162 (27.1 overs, Sachin Singh 5-7, Amit Deverathippa 4-37) by 5 wickets to regain the James Abrahams Trophy.

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

Sunday dawned grey and showery as the Allstars gathered at Crouch End to take on long standing rivals the Mighty Wanderers, who had won the James Abrahams trophy in a thrilling 50-over match at Mill Hill School back in 2019.

With both teams still waiting on a few arrivals still negotiating north London traffic, the captains agreed on a 35-over match that would hopefully finish ahead of the evening’s forecast thunderstorms. Allstars’ skipper Cresswell called incorrectly, and the Wanderers elected to bat first on a greenish pitch.

Shortly afterwards, seven Allstars took the field, assisted by two volunteer Wanderers as sub fielders – we reached a full complement by the end of the 5th over.

Jagath Dasari opened up the attack with Sheahan Arnott, and runs initially flowed as Wanderers’ opener Jukes took toll of the reduced field & short boundaries. Meanwhile, makeshift keeper Cresswell struggled to catch up with some prodigious swing on offer, meaning 27 came off the first 3 overs before Arnott managed to seam one back and bowl the dangerous Lars Smith for 1.

Montgomery joined Jukes, and the pair continued briskly, adding 89 in under 14 overs through spells by Sanjay Dindyal and Shanmugam Sama amidst some drizzle before Montgomery was bowled by Sachin Singh the last ball before drinks. It was a vital wicket which was to turn the game in our favour.

Jukes continued attacking Amit Deverathippa’s seam, but Sachin bowled Andy Charlton for 1 to open up the other end. Amit’s decision to switch to bowling off spin paid dividends getting Leahy and Heafield LBW off consecutive balls to reduce the Wanderers to 144-4.

Martin survived the hat-trick attempt – but the collapse was now well and truly on. Amit got his third wicket in 5 balls to remove Jukes bowled for 58 – then the pair mopped up the tail, Sachin bowling two consecutive wicket-maidens (taking 3-0 off his last 15 balls), and ultimately winning the race with Amit to a “Michelle Pfeiffer” by bowling J. Charlton for 1 to wrap up the innings.

Eight dismissals bowled (including all five of Sachin’s wickets) and two lbws showed the benefits of bowling straight in helpful atmospheric conditions, but 161 still looked very chaseable given the short boundaries.

Both teams then adjourned to the neighbouring North Middlesex CC clubhouse for tea. TEA! The first catered tea for the Allstars since the Portugal tour in October 2019.

After tea skipper Cresswell, a tad sore from keeping (and a 17 mile hike Saturday) opted to list himself at number 11. A decision that had nothing at all to do with protecting his average of 91 at this ground, a stat which absolutely never gets mentioned.

That meant a promotion for Jagath who opened the batting (alongside Matt Biss) as well as the bowling – matching a feat achieved in Test cricket by Danny Morrison. Unfortunately Jagath was brilliantly caught in the gully in the 2nd over – the Wanderers showing excellent skills in the field through the innings.

Hywel Roberts joined Matt Biss to steady the ship, the pair putting on 47 in 10 overs to build a platform before Hywel fell LBW. Matt Lo then joined his namesake, the pair getting the score up to 80 before Matt Biss got a leading edge to go for 32. Sam Perera then played a little cameo, a bat-breaking 6 and a 4 in his 12 either side of drinks before he was caught at long-on. 102-4 meant we needed 60 off 15 overs.

Sanjay then joined Matt Lo at the wicket, and the pair proceeded serenely & quickly, adding 57 before Matt fell trying to bring up the winning runs and his 50 (which would have sat nicely alongside his 52 against the Wanderers on debut in 2019).

Sheahan then carved a ball through gulley to bring up the win, both innings having lasted 27.1 overs.

We then adjourned to the NMCC bar for a brief celebration ahead of the rain which had mercifully held off through the day.

This win is dedicated to Amit’s father, who went through post-accident surgery in India prior to play. The club wishes him all the best for his recovery.

With the summer in full flow, the Allstars games continue thick and fast – we’re back in North London this Sunday, as we face Little Gradholm for the first time at Mill Hill Village CC.