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30th July 2019
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V&A v Legends XI


V&A PLAYERS: N Constantine (captain), A. Taylor, L. Nieboer, A. Jacot, P. Goodliffe, B. Horan, R. Ashcroft, V. Grantham, J. Poynter, N. Emley

As the XI sauntered into the Stonor Park Pavilion and greeted their fellow warriors, it was clear to the team that they had roused a level of trepidation in the opposition – only 9 appeared. Nick, who was wearing the armband, allowed the Legends to bat and so the game was set. Both teams agreed to meet on the pitch after a short interlude.

A trip down the M40 could be considered a schlep saved only by the prospect of cricketing success, but Lachlan had other ideas for the Legend Cope who, unfortunately for him, left the field as promptly as he arrived with a diamond duck. Lachlan had proceeded to deploy missiles which locked onto the opposition’s off stump (and would go on to pulverise it on 4 occasions). What happened next was a first for these parts…the V&A entered into what might only be described as a short notice cocktail party on the square and it wasn’t until Legend number 3 strapped on his pads and at last faced the roar of the crowd, who by now were gathering around the bat, then the game was resumed and the revellers broken up and sent off to strange sounding places like silly mid off and blunt leg.

It was as Legend number 3 wandered back from whence he came, wherever that was, that a dash of hubris began to bubble, momentarily, under the smart V&A knitwear. The opposition was declared redundant to our competitive needs – we just weren’t going to get the fight we desired. But, the Legends, embarrassed by this early slur on their capabilities, fought well to revive their innings and cling on. They did though poach Adam who graciously agreed to an afternoon of being a legend.

Throwing his fire power to the cause, Ben Horan flew in producing one of the sweetest moments of the day (beside Liv’s coffee cake). Marsh, master of the slow ball, wrought commendable havoc with two fine wickets. Nick Constantine, Captain, Leader, Legend in his own right, teamed up with Lachlan to produce a spectacular run out. A fully shaded Andy, amid wine tasting for his wedding, took a decent catch between swills and it seemed a vigorous Vin might have been far more comfortable on a chaise-longue as he so often appeared to be recumbent, sealing the boundary with both grace and regularity.

Newcomer Baz appeared rather capable, so he was encouraged to bowl 7 overs and offered a contract for future services. Phil, without question the Landlord of the crease, lurking ever threateningly in the batsman’s water like a hungry crocodile, so, the fielding display was fantastic. But by no means the keenly anticipated whitewash – with the opposition managing to pull off a shockingly creditable score of 149.

Emma is a broad-minded vegan and fed a fine variety of murdered animals to a very happy crowd backed up with delicious cheese, the greenest of salads (plus smoked salmon for the pescatarians) together with an eye-boggling quantity of condiments. Later, for tea, she laid on a bounty of sweet delights causing an instantly salivating Nicky Bird to halt in his tracks and utter a string of equally delighted superlatives. It was top fodder.

As so often, lunch brought fresh perspective and 150 runs to be hit by the highly capable list of V&A batsman, beginning to take shape on the back of Nick’s cigarette packet. Grantham and Ashcroft strolled to the crease. Ashcroft strolled back. It was another Diamond duck. Emley, returning 1 run later, had clearly received substandard throw-downs from Poynter in the nets. It wasn’t his day. Vin batted steadfastly on, and Andy Taylor was sent out to join him in the bailing mission, having accidentally picked up Bjorn Borg’s training bag in place of his own. The wicket appeared to be gifting bowlers – he did hit a fine four, although followed it back to the boundary shortly after. Poynter headed out with a broken cricket bat, now merely a stage prop. After striking a deal with Adam that he might line up a front foot drive in exchange for his wicket the following ball, he retired to the pavilion on 18. Constantine now in, went for the win with Vin, each hitting out purposefully on a trying wicket- as they cruised, confidence grew and assurance returned. Nick soared to 50, and one so good we celebrated it twice. By now though after considerable exertion and having deftly glued the innings together, Vin was rouge and alas the Legends stemmed his flow on 40. We were now in sight of the target, with the Red Kites beginning to lick their beaks. It was for Baz Street to tie up the loose ends. He flicked and stroked the ball with such ease as to again reduce the V&A men to a gaggle of adoring girls. The pitch on the other hand was appalling, but that’s frankly none of my business as I don’t look after it.