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!