Crossbats take the Bank Holiday honours

Marble Hill Park, Saturday 29 August 2020. Crossbats 207/3 (35 overs; S. Skinner 92*, Arnott 2-31) beat St Anne’s Allstars 125 (27.4 overs; Singh 46) by 82 runs.

Allstars debut: Sheahan Arnott

Report and photos by Pete Cresswell

A cool misty bank holiday Saturday greeted the Allstars this weekend on our return to Marble Hill Park – a stark contrast to the blistering temperatures when we played the Weasels there a few weeks back. The Park itself was a lot greener this time around. This fixture saw the unveiling of the new Allstars caps, with everyone looking very dapper.

The day started inauspiciously with illness ruling out one Allstar, leaving us to play with 10, and Bank Holiday roadworks and traffic meant that 3 Allstars and the club kitbag arrived at the park right on the scheduled 1pm start time, causing a scramble to get out into the field after Crossbats won the toss.

Shanmugam Sama continued his excellent season with the ball with an economical opening spell in partnership with Sam Waddicor. The Crossbats openers however were positive on their home pitch, running aggressively and taking full advantage of the gaps in the big outfield. They added 69 before debutant Sheahan Arnott skittled McAlpine for 47 in the 12th over.

Skinner joined his skipper Wright at the crease, and the pair continued tidily accumulating through tidy spells from Arnott, Jagath Dasari, Vivek Seth and Hywel Roberts. While Sam W was very unlucky to not pick up an LBW call, and a run out from a deflection onto the non-striker’s stumps during a very tidy second spell, it wasn’t until the 29th over that Jagath broke the century stand, having Wright well caught behind by Dharani Ronanki.

Carter quickly followed, well caught and bowled by Sheahan, and he and Shanmugam combined in some excellent death bowling to keep the end of innings charge in check.

207 was a daunting ask on a fairly slow outfield, but skipper Pete Cresswell and Jono Beagle strode out purposefully to begin our reply. The other Skinner brother picked up from his brother’s batting, bowling accurately and generating significant outswing, and picking up Cresswell who gloved a lifter through to the keeper in the 5th over, before yorking Jono in the 7th to leave us 19 for 2.

Sachin Singh and Hywel Roberts steadily rebuilt, Sachin playing some lovely aggressive shots ( ) until Hywel fell to the economical Humphrey. Sachin and Dharani added another 22, running quickly between the wickets before Dharani top-edged a pull shot to leave us 75 for 4.

The returning Skinner then found some reverse swing, yorking Sachin for an excellent 46. From then on the Allstars’ lower order went for their shots, with Sheahan compiling a tidy 18, and Jagath, Shanmugam and Sam all looking to score quickly, but they’d been left too much to do & our innings was wrapped up when Vivek holed out for us to close on 125 as drizzle again threatened.

Overall the margin might have been a lot closer had some luck run the Allstars’ way, but we can look forward to challenging the Crossbats harder next year. Next weekend, the Allstars travel to Cambridge for our inaugural fixture against NCI.

Tigers tamed as Allstars win Vivek Clasico

Barnes Common, Sunday 16 August 2020. St Anne’s Allstars 167-6 (28.5 overs: Matt Lo 56, Matt Biss 51) beat Zambuca Tigers 166-8 (35 overs: Samer Hafiz 3-19) by 4 wickets.

Allstars debut: Hywel Roberts.

Report by Garreth Duncan – photos by Pete Cresswell

After the heatwave came the cloud and rain. At the Ageas Bowl, farcical scenes as rain and bad light led to the least amount of play in an England home Test for 33 years. Down in Kent, our old foes the Rain Men lived up to their name as only two overs were possible before their game was abandoned. But we were to have much better fortune with the weather, as the showers only briefly touched Barnes Common as we avenged last year’s defeat against Vivek’s Zambuca Tigers, putting in another excellent team performance to win for the second Sunday in succession.

The post-resumption clamour for cricket reached new heights, no less than 15 being signed up at one stage. Indeed, one of our finest, Sachin Singh, was to end up starring as a guest player for the Railway Taverners as we couldn’t quite fit him into our side. 13 Allstars arrived at Barnes to face 9 Tigers, and so Vivek Seth captained his other team and Tony Grant also became Tony the Tiger for the day.

The Barnes Common pitch did not look in good condition, and after winning the toss Vivek, no doubt with the Plastics game still fresh in his mind, opted to bat first. Gren Thompson and Shanmugam Sama opened the bowling, and it was quickly evident that the pitch was misbehaving even more than we’d thought – one ball rearing off a length, the next scuttling low. The oohs and aahs were coming more regularly than an Eric Cantona appearance. Somehow, Tigers openers Elsom and Richards survived Gren and Shanmu’s initial burst – but critically, the first 10 overs had yielded only 20 runs.

Samir Hafiz replaced Gren at the Railway End and continued his superb form from the Weasels game, getting the first wicket by bowling Elsom as he tried up the rate. Samer then grabbed a second thanks to a smart stumping by Dharani Ronanki, who excelled behind the stumps in the difficult conditions. Apu Chauhan, who’d been the difference between the sides in the Tigers’ victory at Brighton last year, came in and looked threateningly at ease – but Jono Beagle dismissed him off the faintest of gloves to Dharani. Seemingly everyone heard it except Chauhan, who wasn’t too happy with being given out – but he’d gone for 14 and the Allstars remained in control.

Samer took a third as he bowled Craddock, completing another excellent spell, prompting Pete to give my leg-spin a try. After a nervous start, I found better rhythm in my second over and dismissed left-hander De Silva, superbly caught by a diving Neale Adams at slip. It’s great to see Neale back with the Allstars, and his enthusiasm and joie de vivre remain undiminished as ever.

After a cautious start, TG began to find his touch with the bat as he drove powerfully down the ground and through mid-wicket. Hywel Roberts, on his Allstars debut, took on the tough job of bowling from the Vine Road end and produced a useful spell of left-arm spin. Majithia was also getting into his stride, and the rate began to climb. But Gren and Shanmu, having been luckless in their opening spells, were to be rewarded on their return. Shanmu ended TG’s fun as Neale took his second stunning slip catch of the day, and Gren had Majithia trapped plumb in front. Shanmu finished his spell in style as he clean bowled “Pele” Styles, and the Tigers’ eventual score of 166-8 looked chaseable – if the pitch permitted it.

The rain began to fall at the end of the Tigers’ innings, and continued as ours began. Vivek, who knows how to bowl at Barnes, opened the bowling for the Tigers and quickly bowled Pete Cresswell. Hywel began positively, but Vivek got him too courtesy of a smart catch from TG – an all-Allstars dismissal, but perhaps not one we would have liked. At the first sanitisation break we were 25-2.

This was to bring together the partnership of the day as the two Matts, Biss and Lo, continued their fine form from the previous week. Matt Biss belied his own self-declared reputation as a nudger and nurdler as he unleashed some fine shots and Matt Lo played the shot of the day, a sumptuous six off left-arm spinner Ryan. It was perhaps not the day to be looking for the ball in the undergrowth, as always seems to be the case at Barnes Common – though we were fortunate that lost time was our only problem, as it was subsequently reported by the BBC that a 5ft boa constrictor was captured that day, less than a mile from the ground.

At the drinks break we were 93-2 and seemingly cruising to victory – but the Tigers are most dangerous when cornered, and they wouldn’t go down without a fight. Having reached his third fifty of the season, Matt Biss was bowled by a shooter next ball to end a stand just one short of our second hundred partnership of the season. Jono Beagle was unlucky to be given out caught behind shortly after, the ball deflecting off his wrist and helmet and lobbing into the keeper’s gloves. Matt Lo also reached his fifty, but then was lbw to another unplayable shooter in Richards’ first over, and Gren was bowled the same over. 122-2 had become 142-6, and suddenly the Tigers smelt blood.

But we needn’t have worried as Samer and Shanmu, having already starred with the ball, finished the job with the bat. Deciding that attack was the best form of defence, they both hit out, Shanmu crunching three boundaries in an over as we went to victory with more than 6 overs to spare.

The Tigers are always sporting opponents, and they joined us in the Sun Inn as we celebrated another excellent game. Quarantine permitting, we hope to see them next in the South of France – but next up we return to Marble Hill Park to play Crossbats on Saturday 29 August.

Allstars fight back to defeat gallant Weasels

Marble Hill Park, Sunday 9 August 2020. St Anne’s Allstars 191-2 (30.1 overs, Matt Biss 68*, Jono Beagle 49*, Matt Lo 36) beat New Barbarian Weasels 190-7 (35 overs, Asif Iqbal 71, Joe Wilson 59, Paul Bowman 3-17) by 8 wickets.

Report by Garreth Duncan – Photos by Pete Cresswell and Garreth Duncan

Even with all the COVID restrictions we’re all getting used to, after just a month it’s like cricket has never been away. Test cricket is back, albeit behind closed doors, and England are winning at home again, with the ageless Stuart Broad back to his best. On Saturday, Jos Buttler and Chris Woakes mounted an incredible fightback against Pakistan to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. The following day, in a fantastic team performance in which everyone contributed, we staged an impressive comeback of our own from an unpromising position against our old friends the Weasels to record our second victory of the season.

On an afternoon with the thermometer firmly marked at “scorchio”, we arrived at Marble Hill Park to find it busy with walkers, cyclists, and even dinghies and paddle boarders. The outfield was parched and looked lightning quick, and I felt a sense of trepidation as Weasels’ skipper Omar Iqbal called correctly and chose to bat first.

Marble Hill Park and House

We were perhaps surprised to see Weasels’ stalwart Ian Regnier-Wilson, usually a middle order regular, stride out to open with Asif Iqbal (our second opponent to share a name with a Test player, after the Canbashers’ Andy Roberts). Shanmugam Sama opened the bowling and continued where he’d left off against Plastics, as an early edge from Asif flew between keeper Dharani Ronanki and socially distanced first slip Pete Cresswell. Paul Bowman was also quickly into his stride, dispatching Iain LBW with a toe-crunching yorker.

Iain’s dismissal brought together Asif and their other “gun” player, Aussie Joe Wilson. Having seen off the opening bowlers, they quickly upped the run rate against change bowlers Jagath Dasari and Ed Heelas. The boundary count escalated as a packed off-side field couldn’t prevent Asif’s cuts and cover drives, and Joe stood tall and simply belted everything down the ground. Their partnership had passed 100 by the 18-over sanitation break, with both passing fifty, and we were staring at a potential 250-plus total.

But this was an afternoon where the Allstars refused to give in. Jono Beagle, undeterred, got the breakthrough by bowling Joe off his pads. Next over, Samir Hafiz, who bowled a superb spell of left-arm spin with a lovely loop and excellent control, had Asif held by Ed with a juggling catch at mid-wicket.

Paddlers stopped play …

With the big guns gone, we had a grip on the game which we were never to relinquish. The returning Jagath began his second spell with an absolute peach of a delivery to clip the top of Nick Woodhead’s off-stump. Pagan and Joshi dug in, but the run rate slowed markedly, and I even had the luxury of bringing myself on for an over without alarm.

Shanmu returned, and grabbed a deserved wicket in his final over as his great mate Dharani pouched an edge from Joshi. Their devotion to the Allstars is so great that they’ve both been getting up at 5.30am for nets at Seven Kings, and it was fantastic to see their efforts rewarded. KP closed out the innings in style as he bowled Pagan and Frankie McIlheney with successive deliveries in the final over. The Weasels’ final total of 190-7, though creditable, was a lot less than looked likely at the halfway stage.

After our now-customary solo teas, and rehydrated by various Allstars’ trips to shop for water, Pete and Matt Biss began the Allstars innings. Weasels’ gun players Asif and Joe opened the bowling too, but the pitch was much more favourable for batting than Barnes Common two weeks earlier, and Pete and Matt got off to a much quicker start than they’d done against Plastics. Finding the gaps in the field, they ran singles with ease, and they’d put on 39 in 9 overs before Asif rattled Pete’s stumps.

Matt Lo came to the crease and instantly looked the part, seeing off the openers before tucking into the change bowlers Omar and Pagan, mixing powerful sweeps with effortless caresses down the ground. He was making it look so easy it was a surprise when Alam Saydul bowled him with one that kept a bit low (or should that be Lo?). Still, by then we were 90-2 in the 16th over and well on track for victory.

Jono joined his great pal Matt at the wicket, and it was them that saw us to victory with an unbroken partnership of 101. Even though they don’t always play together for NCI, they know each other’s game instinctively, and they continued to find easy singles while putting away the bad balls to the boundary. In a last desperate throw of the dice, Asif and Joe were recalled for one final blast. But by then Jono had the measure of the pitch, and used the pace of the ball intelligently to cut and dab for fours, and Matt reached his second fifty of the season as we eased to victory with nearly 5 overs to spare.

The winning team!

It was great to see the Weasels again, and we’re hopeful they can stay together and continue to challenge us in future years. Our next assignment comes on Sunday, as we return to Barnes to face Zambuca Tigers.

Plastics hold firm at Barnes

Barnes Common, Sunday 26 July 2020.
Plastics CC 128 (Shanmu Sama 3-14) beat St Anne’s Allstars 111-9 (Sachin Singh 30) by 17 runs.
By Vivek Seth
Following our fabulous, close-fought victory against Corridor on the opening day of our season, on a somewhat overcast morning we welcomed a new opponent, Plastics CC, to our spiritual home at Barnes Common. Email exchanges between the two skippers before the match suggested that both teams were likely to be similar in both standard and in spirit. The game certainly did not disappoint, proving to be one of the most enjoyable games that the Allstars have played recently.
With a very green wicket and some rain about, Allstars skipper Vivek Seth elected to bowl first. He and Shanmu Sama opened the bowling and both bowled very tight early on. Sama’s spell was particularly effective, finding the edge of the bat a number of times and bowling the Plastics’ opener, Bradbury.
Following the first sanitisation break, the Allstars made their first bowling changes with Sam Perera and Jimmy Scott providing a combination of pace and guile. However, some dropped catches and mistakes in the field meant that the batting pair of R. Bishop and P. Bishop were able to up the run rate, putting the Allstars in a spot of bother. Jimmy was finally able to dislodge the pair for 20 and 30 respectively. Wickets then came at regular intervals with two from Tony Grant (whom the Plastics found especially hard to put away), one from Jono Beagle and a deserved two more from a returning Shanmu. Skipper Seth was then left to mop up the tail taking two wickets at the end aided by a tidy maiden from Samer Hafiz.
The Allstars came off the pitch chasing a total of 128. Having seen how the pitch was behaving and with there being cloud around, the Allstars knew this would be a tricky total, especially if the Plastics were able to field better than we had.
Pete Cresswell and Matt Biss opened the batting for the Allstars, both being able to occupy the crease but being unable to accelerate the run rate due to a menacing pitch and some very tidy fielding. Biss fell for 10 with Felix Haddow-Allen following shortly after for a duck. Sachin Singh joined Pete and helped steady the ship, bringing the Allstars to 54/2 after 17 overs. While a good platform, we knew we needed to up the run rate to stand any chance of winning.
From there though, the inevitable Allstars collapse occurred with Pete falling for 7, Sachin for a valiant 30, Samer for 1 and Dharani Krishna for a duck. With 5 wickets in hand but only 61 runs on the board after 22 overs, both Grant and Jono Beagle looked to accelerate the run rate, ultimately leading to the running out of Grant for 3. The last hope came with the partnership of Jono and Sam Perera, taking the Allstars to 88/7 after 29 overs and still just with a chance of victory. However, both fell soon after for 17 and 16 respectively and while Sama and Scott finished the match not out, Plastics held on win by just 17 runs.
It was a thoroughly enjoyable match between two sides similar in standard and attitude. Ultimately, some excellent fielding and running between the wickets gave the Plastics the extra 20-30 runs they needed. Our thanks to the Plastics for being such an enjoyable team to play with. As mentioned by another Allstar, we certainly don’t see this particular plastic being a single use one and look forward to playing plenty more matches with them in the future. Onwards and upwards to a reunion with our old friends the Weasels, at Marble Hill Park on 9 August.

Plastics photos

The Allstars return to Barnes Common for the first time in 2020, for our inaugural fixture against Plastics CC. Here’s our skipper Pete Cresswell’s photos from the day!


Barnes Common looking pristine for our arrival.

Our specially painted stumps, looking immaculate as always …

and some coloured balls to pick out in the Barnes undergrowth. 


The Allstars take the field on a lovely summer’s day.


Allstars and families watch on as the Plastics innings draws to a close. An excellent effort in the field, as we bowl out Plastics for 128 …


but we couldn’t quite manage to chase down the target with the bat, falling 17 runs short.  

These Plastics won’t be single use – looking forward to playing them again next year!