V&A v A Few Good Men
12th September 2018
2018 – End of Term Report
23rd September 2018
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V&A v The Authors XI


V&A PLAYERS: Chris Mounsey-Thear (capt), Martin Bowden, Enzo Nicoli, D. Clark, Adam Jacot, J. Alam, Sean Mayana, S. Panathan, Phil Goodliffe, Norman Reid

The V&A play the vast majority of their games in the easy to organise, safe and beautiful confines of Stonor. It is when we have to – very occasionally – arrange a game away from this environ that one is instantly reminded of the levels of admin that other teams regularly face…and it is not an experience this season’s new, and therefore slightly green, fixtures secretary wishes to embark on again in a hurry. It is safe to say that this middle aged cricket administrator learned a few life lessons during the week! Without going into detail, after 500+ emails, The Walker Ground in North London – home to league cricket’s Southgate CC and out ground for Middlesex CCC – saw 10 men, many of whom we were meeting for the first time, take to the field for the V&A against one of our regular oppositions, The Authors. The change of venue also led to a slight change in format for the day – gone was our leisurely break for luncheon – as we played a more traditional 35 overs, tea, 35 overs affair…safe to say it reminded us all why we like the coffee-lunch-tea-pub version we are used to at Stonor.

Anyway, to the game itself. With three unknown players it was hard to choose a batting order as we were in possession of nine players (out of ten) who can all bowl, but on a perfect day for cricket, with the sun out and a pristine wicket, the V&A won the toss and duly batted!!! The skipper (CMT) popped himself up the order to the unaccustomed position of opener along with one of our ringers – the tall, pinch hitting D. Clark. Things started brightly against two very contrasting bowlers – one, the fast right arm Tom Eadon (who bowled no wides or no balls in his 7 overs) asked questions of the batsmen’s reactions and bravery; whilst the left arm Jones had ‘one of those days’ that all bowlers have had in their careers by working the keeper constantly with 12 wides and 3 no balls – which all-in-all made it understandable how 44 runs had been scored when the first wicket was taken with barely half a dozen scoring shots having been played. After a quick fire and well timed 19, Clark was replaced by A. Jacot coming in at three. This saw The Author’s first change bowler rip the heart out of the upper-middle order of the V&A with three wickets (all bowled) that left the batting team wobbling at 80-4 in the 19th over.

This saw the wise cricketing brain of M. Bowden join CMT at the wicket and after a restorative drinks break at 20 overs to discuss tactics, this pair set about mixing canny nurdles for ones and twos with an increased flow of boundaries. Before long the V&A had completed their 35 overs with the bat, resulting in an unbeaten partnership of 104* with Martin scoring 19*, CMT ending up with 103*, and the V&A posting 184. A score that looked beyond us at one point but as we settled down to a friendly but perfunctory tea felt at least 20 or so short given the wicket and a fast outfield.

However, armed with a nine man bowling attack, as only keeper Phil was not keen to turn his arm over, the skipper knew he had plenty of fire power at his disposal, and so it proved early on as the ever accurate Enzo Nicoli pinned one opener LBW and the latest signing from the internet; S. Panathan, had the other opener caught at a sort of fly-gully by Norman Reid. The pressure from the V&A kept growing as Alam (second internet signing) and Sean Mayana were just too good for the Author’s three and four. The V&A had ripped the stuffing out of the top order with the new ball reducing the opposition to 40-4 in the 12th over with over 140 runs still to find.

However, as the day’s heat finally caught up with a V&A team unable to take its usual break for tea at the fifteen over mark of a bowling stint, so The Author’s middle order steadily took control with scores of 32, 25 and a match winning 59 not out from Hogg got the Authors over the line with one over to spare. There were moments in that chase when the V&A got themselves back into it when Jacot reduced them to 98 for five and CMT then had them 125 for 5, but it was not to be and in the end the Authors were worthy winners of a close game.

As the sun set over the lovely church spire that dominates the view from the boundary of this pretty London ground, pretty much everything but the match was discussed: Martin sharing travelling tips on a map of central America with Adam; Enzo’s forthcoming Thomas the Tank Engine debut; Sean’s knowledge of the Knowledge was tested and Phil was in good spirits despite facing a 2 hour trip home leaving the big smoke behind him.

A fun day was had, a decent London alternative venue was found and three good eggs were recruited to the V&A cause if so needed in future. Thank you to The Authors for making it a very good game and playing in such good spirit. Back home to Stonor for the final day of the season however… hurrah for that at least!

Image courtesy of Jack Russell