Stonor CC are much like ourselves, a mixture of chaps who’ve seen better days, and yoof – in their case the Lovelands and a 12-year-old (Blumfield) who is going to be a super bowler but got whacked rather tactlessly by Jago and Vin. I was umpiring and if the ball had hit their left ear I would have given an instant LBW to punish their rudeness.
We batted first in a timed game, that offered a draw as a possible third result. Vin and Jago opened and faced an awkward pitch where balls popped and shot. Phil Goodliffe says wormcasts might be to blame, or rolling them. He can explain more fully. Jago was majestic, his first 5 scoring shots were fours, his next was an errant single and then a six; and then he was adjudged LBW by umpire Jonkers. As always with the Chelsea Potter there was narry a squeak of dissent and he departed with grace for 27. Vin meanwhile, thus far the sleeping partner, suddenly released the demon and hit four boundaries in a row! Before being trapped caught and bowled (for 17) by the sluggish pitch.
Now Baz Street and Ollie Marsh were at the crease, ‘two of the best batsmen to have graced Stonor’ according to Bowden. As they elegantly plundered the bowling with boundaries to all corners our skipper, Adam Jacot, was almost embarrassed at their dominance. Luckily for his blushes Ollie – having just walloped a 6 to the short road boundary – was caught in the deep by Stonor’s affable captain Mark Lovatt (for 20, three 4s, one 6) and Baz, having continued with his array of powerful pulls and drives, was nicely caught and bowled by John Powell, Stonor’s brainy quiz master (for 42, six 4s, two 6s). Tom Bird executed a Comptonesque sweep for 4 before succumbing to the fatal Birdesque crossbat wallop. The tail wagged nicely with Jonkers hitting a mighty 6, Adam hitting a nostalgic 4, and Bowden reminding us of the good old days with an impeccably timed boundary off his legs before his runner was run out in obscure circumstances, made more obscure by my making organic tea at the time (from a wholemeal alfalfa teabag, having run out of workmen’s tea). We made 189 in 36 overs.
Was it enough? Nigel Allsop, Stonor’s CEO, thought so but we missed Lachlan and perhaps Robbie Taylor’s spin – he was getting wed on the banks of the Liffey. He sent a photo of bride and groom at the reception. From the look of him, the after party was probably in A&E.
Tom’s missus and little Ottilie made cakes for tea, which were scrumptious in an Enid Blyton way. Incidentally, we discussed literature with Jonkers who has been reading Darwin. Stuff about worms. He began to tell us about their casts but I had to go to the kitchen and read the Bosch microwave manual for light relief. I missed a thumping good lecture apparently. Did you know, by the way, there is not a SINGLE JOKE in the whole cannon of Darwin, D.H. Lawrence or any of the Brontës? Not even this one which I told Annette when she offered me a biscuit. Q. Why don’t Polar Bears eat penguins? A. Because they can’t get the wrappers off. Adam heard it but the rich humour escaped him. I had phoned him at 07.58 to discuss the weather but he was abusive. ‘What time do you call this! You expect me to go on the web before 8 to look at the fucking weather!?’ This is the expurgated version. He said he was in the bath reading Jane Austen. Bollocks. He was in bed with his teddy, Heathcliffe.
Stonor opened their innings with the Lovelands who bat very correctly and faced Theo Grantham and Ollie Marsh. Ollie soon trapped F. Loveland LBW but the other brother was anchoring his end nicely, until Theo enticed a snick to the masterful keeper and gourd grower Nick P-G (whose nice fat beetroots were on display on the pavilion porch – ooh what whoppers!). Later Nick (who gave up the gloves when smacked on his pinkie too often), with typical and appropriate generosity, sent back their best bat who’d been wrongly adjudged LBW (he’d got an edge).
John Powell, an accomplished cricketer, came in with Mark Lovatt, but Mark was quickly caught and bowled (Marsh) which brought N. Williams to the crease. He it was who began to wrest control and put Stonor into a winning position, with intelligent batting that plundered the loose ball. John and N. Williams looked capable of reaching the target with plenty of time remaining but Jonkers caught and bowled John; this left Williams in charge. A moment of Feydeauesque farce was provided by Adam Jacot when he called – ever so confidently – ‘MINE!’ when a skier was lobbed to him at mid-off. He repeated the mantra. ‘MINE!’ I watched with Annette. ‘Not in doubt’ I muttered to his proud mum. ‘I was right,’ I said when he dropped it.
With 20 overs remaining Stonor were still looking favourites but then – for Stonor – calamity! A ball was skied to Bowden. Not tricky but ‘my feet wouldn’t move’ he said later to explain his fumble. However, Theo – fielding at deepish cover – ran, picked up the dropped ball, and with startling athleticism and accuracy threw down the wicket while the sub-keeper (Jago) was stranded. Williams, their key man, was run out and the game changed. Now Stonor looked for the draw. Could we get them out? The overs ran down.
Enter J. Williams who blocked heroically. But Baz Street came on the Pishill end with his offies of varying length and pace. His quicker ball is very quick. He trapped J. Williams LBW and then – for Stonor – the damage started. He bowled Tinsey and Jewel. With two overs left, 12 balls, there were still two wickets for victory. Then, with 10 balls, one wicket remained. Aldencourt and young Blumfield stood firm. Blumfield had lofted his first ball to Bowden; but Bowden had not wanted to ruin the boy’s day by catching it. Now, possibly, he rued his chivalry. But there’s nothing weedy about Baz and with 8 balls left he bowled the poor chap.
What a good game. In glorious sun. With no VW or evangelical rally to mar the day. Adam had gone for victory throughout with his field crowding the bat. A positive outlook. He raised V&A teams for both days this weekend, we’re the poorer without him, so I’ll not be rude about this shambling unkempt scribbler.
I asked Christiaan, by the way, whether ‘Woosterish’ or ‘Falstaffian’ best described himself. He said ‘Falstaffian’ implied a corpulent toper who bangs on. So, ‘Falstaffian’ it is.
V&A CC: 189 all out (J. Poynter 27, B. Street 42, O. Marsh 20, H. Turpie 43). STONOR CC: 132 all out (N. Williams 48; B. Street 5-20 off 12.2 overs)