V&A PLAYERS: Rob Taylor (Skip), Adam Jacot, Nicky Bird, Matt Cade, Norman Reid, Nick Constantine, Ali Cheema. Tom P-G, Nick P-G, Marc Terblanche, Dario Simpson
The week building up to the game against the Battersea Badgers was one of the most stressful seen at the V&A. With the majority of the battled hardened cricketing regulars not available, a search for good players soon turned into a search for able players, which soon turned into a search for “all appendages a bonus”. Emails beginning with “Hello, how are you?” soon turned into “Can you play/know anybody that can?” But as my dear granny used to say, “when times are tough, you gather no moss” (she enjoyed her Sherry).
It was Wednesday evening and a game taking place was looking unlikely. This was when a hero in the form of Adam Jacot arose. Persistence, a large address book and a description of the Saturday lunch resulted in enough players to put a team out, the game was on. Top work Mr Jacot!
Taylor skippered. Ringers and invited guests dominated the V&A line-up. The Badgers were fearful after the thorough beating they received last year. Taylor spent the first hour getting to know his new team. Confidence increased when one of the new players ran through his cricketing CV involving international players and topflight club games. Just to be safe, it was strongly suggested that the Badgers had the honour of batting first.
The Badgers began well with their opener finding the gaps in the field and eventually finishing on 60, pick of their batsmen. Things weren’t going well for the V&A, the run rate was increasing and even the home ground advantage of the often unpredictable Stonor pitch wasn’t giving any chances. Tom P-G (0/29 off 7), with all the confidence of a man that can finally grow a moustache, took the ball in hand and bedazzled the opposition. Balls were going both ways. The change of pace shocked. The run rate was slowed, he was unlucky not to get a wicket.
Inspired by TPG’s lack of pace, recruit D. Simpson (4/39 off 7) joined the right arm, off spin crusade and was immediately successful in his first over going on to be the top V&A bowler. Superb line and length had caused some hope to build in the V&A camp.
At one stage Nick P-G, a deep fine leg specialist, jumped in his car and started heading off. Panic spread across the skipper’s face, the V&A were already one short. Losing another fielder would be a disaster… Much to the amusement of the Badgers, Nick had decided that walking was so last season and was now driving from fine leg to fine leg. I have passed on his details to Green Peace and Extinction Rebellion so he should be getting a sternly worded letter any day.
Lunch was called.
The spread was of the usual standard. Absolutely superb. I noticed tears in the eyes of three of the opposition batsmen as they stared at the roast beef. The cheese course was described as “cheddar and something more expensive”. All washed down with beers, wines and an unfortunate bottle that someone must have bought for charity as the label proudly proclaimed 0.5% alcohol.
Captain Rob Taylor offered a few rousing words. Few being the operative word, “Thanks Nicky for the food”. He assured me that he put slightly more effort into his wedding speech. N. Bird took no convincing at all to follow this up with a speech of his own highlighting the similarity of the two teams (no connection to the V&A / no connection to badgers) instead of what makes us different. Very apt considering the date.
Back on the field and the Badgers somehow avoided the post lunch slump. They started hitting out early and finished on a very well-played 215/7 after 35. A special thank you must be given to Matt Cade, brother of the opposition skipper who solidly kept wicket for the majority of the innings.
The V&A innings started with M. Terblanche (18) and N. Bird (2). Bird did very well to get in front of most of the opener’s balls and was very unlucky to glove a full-length ball that popped up around throat height to second slip. N. Constantine (25) was in next and began with his usual show of solid hitting and beautiful slog sweeps. Terblanche was the next to go, wafting at a slow short ball. M. Cade, was next in the queue. Questions were raised as to the effort he was going to put in due to sharing parents with the opposition captain. These questions lasted 2 balls as he blasted his way to the top score of the day of 70. Mr Cade, you are welcome back anytime.
Unfortunately, there was no real support from the rest of the batting, a few in the teens but each one going out with the plan to make a go of it. TPG rather overdid that idea by advancing down the wicket while the bowler still had 4 or 5 steps to take, missing it and then advancing the rest of the way to the changing room. A. Jacot had used up all his energy getting the team together and was out cheaply. He kindly decided to take it out on a gentleman in a car on a day out watching cricket rather than his own teammates. The banter from the opposition was refreshing and in good spirits. V&A were all out for a brave 159. The regulars were sorely missed.
The day was most enjoyable, the opposition were a lovely bunch (even though their keg of ale seemed a bit off) and hopefully the fixture carries on in the future with a full-strength side.
Battersea Badgers 215-7 from 35 overs (“the opener” 60, Simpson 4-39); V&A 159 (M.Cade 70). Battersea Badgers won by 56 runs.