V&A v. The Authors XI
29th August 2015
V&A v. A Few Good Men
12th September 2015
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V&A v. Acme

V&A PLAYERS: L Jacot, A. Jacot, R Smith, C Jonkers, M Bowden, R Ashcroft, N P-G (SKIP), Tom P-G, A Taylor, R Taylor

I think I am becoming a scorer. Tonight was the night I was to write up this peculiar match against old friends, ACME, but the scorebook was nowhere to be seen. I felt mild panic. Too much scoring in a season has caused me to erupt in some form of possessive personality disorder about ownership of the One True Scorebook. If one psycho-analysed the Tolkien character, Gollum, one can find 7 of the 9 symptoms of a schizoid personality disorder including solitary habits (Scoring), difficulty in forming friendships (Scorers do not want company. There can be only one), emotional changeability (I would love a cup of tea but get out of my fucking eye line), nervousness (Oh Christ, if they run a bye on a wide, is that 2 against the bowler or something else?) and paranoia (if I say he has scored a fifty, then work out he has not, everyone will hate me more). All that is bye the bye, ha! The ACME report is what is needed.

54 degrees, in old money. Damp, grey and spore-laden. The weather. Not the new whites that Adam now sports. He is pristine these days. It was a 70-over game, as per against the Silk Boudoir XI. ACME were asked to bat by skip, NP-G. The knack of batting first in a 70-over game is to work out whether to declare or to bat on to the maximum 38 overs allowed in the first innings. ACME did neither. After losing 4 early wickets to 5 overs each from Andy Taylor (4 for 5) and Effie Smith (1 for 18), ACME continued to implode to spin from TPG (3 for 23) and Rob Taylor (1 for 8). Louis Jacot has lost his radar a bit, but still took 2 for 14. NPG even gave ACME a chance by bowling himself. He was the only bowler to fail to strike, but was enormously chuffed to be told THAT IS YOUR ONE BOUNCER FOR THE OVER- for the first time in 18 years.

Simon Jacot did his best to show his ACME teammates how to stick around, but was last man out, caught phlegmatically by Smith with his second bellow of FUCK ME of the day. His first popped out when Ross dropped a catch behind the wicket. There was no snick and therefore no drop. Ross kept wicket superbly taking 4 catches with nonchalant ease. Adam Jacot made some beautiful arcs in the outfield and took a good catch. ACME were bowled out just after lunch for a paltry 67 in the 23rd over, leaving the V&A 47 overs to win. Without the decidedly ill Dennis De Caires to calculate the run rate required we assumed that 1.5 runs an over would make for a thrilling finish, if not a dull start and middle.

It is difficult to know what to do when a game becomes one-sided as this one was. Recall the Southend Slaughter of 1948 when The Australian Invincibles scored 721 in a day off a weakened Essex bowling attack. Bradman hit 187 in 2 hours, after the openers had put on 145 in an hour and a half. The sixth wicket partnership of Sam Loxton and their reserve keeper, Ron Saggers, then put on 160 in just over an hour. One sided games were a bore to our own Honorary Vice-President, the late Keith Miller. So fed up was he with the run-feast at Southend that he simply let himself be bowled, or Boiled by Trevor Bailey for a duck.

Every team needs a Keith Miller. Rugged good-looks, dashing, witty, a hit with the chicks, play wonderful cricket and get into a temper now and again.

Batsmen are funny old things. With a very small target on a tricky wicket, some are tempted to have a go. Better to burn out than fade away. Others go into a shell. There is another way. Proper batting. But the pitch waqs still tricky, though the sun had come out. Christiaan Jonkers had made himself a doubtful starter because of a swollen foot. One way to get him to play was to text him along the lines of, Oh no.! I really wanted you to open the batting with Ross today, Christiaan then did turn up, instantly boosting our collective sartorial elegance, and played a rookie openers innings. He plays so straight, but he missed many in his 16 over innings of 10 runs.

Meanwhile Ashcroft (5), Adam Jacot (6), Bowden (7) and Tom P-G (0) still could not get to grips with the wicket. At the fall of the sixteenth wicket of the day, Simon Jacot remained the highest scorer in the match with just 18. Howver, the V&A had the Brothers Taylor at the crease and just 20-odd needed.Either Andy would guide us to vitory or Rob would power us there. Rob did not, falling to a freakish stumping by Simon Jacot. Simon had had a tepid time behind the timbers. Seemingly off balance for much of the afternoon, he topped the mirth-meter when the batsmen ran 2 despite the ball falling at the batsman’s feet.

The V&A won by 3 wickets with 13 overs to spare. A thrashing? Not really. ACME possessed two fine bowlers in Haris (8 overs, 2 for 19) and Phil (9 overs, 2 for 12). Their score was inexcusably low, but they might have sneaked a win if they had held any number of chances offered them. The game was over by 4.20 so tea was taken while the skippers mused on a possible beer match. All 11 ACME players were up for it. The V&A team was now up to 10 as a good chap called Tim had responded to a call from Ross to come and see him bat. The two met at an Italian leadership camp where they no doubt sang Cole Porter’s –“You’re the top, the great Houdini. You’re the top. You are Mussolini”.

Bugger this “”’”ing apostrophe problem on the V&A’s website.

Yet still only 10 V&A players were up for it. One was adamant that we should have no beer match and meddled in the design of the game so as to engineer an early release from the SCG. Adam slid into a grumpus. That he did not wish to prolong the day smacked of a burning desire to scuttle home to continue throwing new cushions to all corners of his pad. Word is that he has at last replaced his knackered privy seat. Where on earth is this information coming from?

The chosen format involved pairs batting for 2 overs each losing 5 runs from the total each time they were out so dropped catches really are criminal. We dropped a hat-trick in one Andy Taylor over while NP-G dropped one off Sweary Smith. We gifted them 20 runs by default. Ross opened the batting with co-leader Tim only to be dismissed twice in the first over. Bowden and NPG did not lost a wicket, scored at a run a ball and set up the finale. Our own Keith Miller, Adam Jacot saw us home, leaving the pitch with a resounding, It is over at last. Adam did not come to the pub because he needed to damp-dust the tops of his doors.

Man of the Match. Lucinda. Having emailed the squad to ask for catering contributions, the skipper’s inbox was not swamped an offer. With just 3 days to go before the game, Lucinda called to offer to cater for all. She is a Goddess, blessing us with her gifts of a welcome hot lunch of lasagne plus salad trimmings, and a great tea of cakes and trifle, some of which might have been made by other good sorts.

Lesson of the Day. Whatever it takes, be sure to get yourself in a fielding position that is not a hotspot for catches when Roger Smith is bowling.

Thought for the Day. This match was billed as the grand comeback of Dennis, but Nicky has informed you that he is seriously hors de combat at present. If he has had to be strapped to a monitoring machine, he is no doubt amusing himself calculating his heart rate per wicket and his respiratory rate per reverse sweep. We all wish him a speedy recovery.