V&A PLAYERS: A. JACOT, J. TETLOW, A. JONES, C. MOUNSEY-THEAR, C. JONKERS [SKIP], R. TAYLOR, OWEN GRUNDY, OTTO GRUNDY, V. GRANTHAM
Nicky was away at the Duxford Air Show, commemorating the Battle of Britain, so we had no 12th man, or tea lady. In fact, we only had nine players, and significantly less when you take fundamentals like cricketing ability into account.
The opposition were the Refreshers CC. They are a team of barristers (and some paralegals, as it transpired). “Paralegal” sounds exciting, but it is not. Court sitting hours in England and Wales are civilised: a 10:30 start, one hour for lunch, and a 4:30 finish. The Refreshers were keen to emulate that schedule on Saturday, arriving promptly, whereas the V&A are a ramshackle bunch of booksellers, potters and drunks. Not quorate at midday, we agreed to bat first. Dr Grantham and Tetlow obliged, trudging to the middle and scoring at a turgid three an over from the first ten.
Sachin, their opening bowler, was accurate and skiddy. The pitch was springy, but not quick. Having seen off the new ball, the first-change spinner “had to go”. But Dr Grantham went instead (for nine), LBW swiping across the line, unable to back up an imperious boundary from the previous ball. Not what the doctor ordered. Mounsey-Thear entered the fray, said “enjoy this guy”, hit a four, then got bowled. Tetlow, having struck some rare cover drives, was brilliantly caught and bowled one-handed for 23. We were 52 for 3 from 16 overs and in some “Barney Rubble”, as your average clerk might say.
Rob Taylor and Adam Jacot (promoted to five) had to rebuild – and rebuild they did. Jacot, champing at the bit for a proper bat, was the embodiment of a Rob Taylor renovation: plenty of staying power, with frequent breaks to wipe away the sweat, and play cricket.
At lunch, we were 100-3. Mounsey-Thear and Jonkers had raided Tesco that morning for some roast chicken, tomato and mozzarella salad, bread and beers. I had Jonkers down as a Waitrose type, but then again he flattered to deceive when the Wine Trade CC turned up with twenty bottles of fine wine and he drank lager. Jacot, no doubt breathless from his innings, said a few short words to thank the caterers, which is no exaggeration.
Back out there, some hoiks across the line went generously unpunished. The partnership added another 30 runs or so, with Jacot finding the fine-leg boundary with various paddles around the corner, taking us slowly out of Schitt’s Creek. Conscious of Andy Jones padded up with a few overs left, Jacot eventually succumbed for 43, leaving a few overs for Rob to scythe 49* on the way to a total of 157 from our 35 overs.
Was it enough? It felt under par. The outfield was cut and fast, the pitch slow and relatively flat. Andy Jones didn’t use the pitch with his first delivery, but he did hit the stumps. Their umpire then called a no-ball, to much consternation. Jones was getting a lot of swing and moments later found the inside edge of the the other opener, with a smart catch taken by Rob, deputising as wicket-keeper. Despite being given out and walking halfway off, he was somehow given another chance by the “ghastly V&A” (as we are apparently known by some). We should be more ghastly, perhaps. Tetlow then ran out their other opener, which was most unfair. It was another run out from a poorly judged quick single to get off strike from Tetlow’s erratic short bowling. Mike Atherton wrote a well-argued piece in The Times this week calling for relay boundary catches, such as that by Jordan Cox and Max Milnes, to be reflected as caught by both players. The scorebook gave the wicket to Tetlow in the wickets column – and so it might.
Sachin, their opening bowler, was their number three bat. As is so often the way, those who can bat, can bowl, and vice versa. Just ask Owen Gundry. His son, by the way, Otto, is just 14 and will be a useful player. He was unfortunate to drop Sachin off Tetlow, when Sachin was on 0.
Jonkers looked like he was bowling spin from a slightly longer run-up this time. Some well-pitched deliveries were defended respectfully, whilst others weren’t. Mounsey-Thear was the pick of the bowlers, only going for five from his four overs. At tea, the Refreshers were 70 odd for one, and way ahead of the rate.
We encouraged their batsmen to stuff themselves with tea, cake and beer, with Mounsey-Thear leading by example. The break did for the chap who had been (sort of) out twice already, chopping on from a good-length Otto Gundry delivery. Third time lucky and all that. This brought a lad called Buscombe into bat, and he very much could, hitting straight and long (which is how Nicky describes himself to the ladies of Nettlebed). Jacot, now Bothamesque in his stature as a V&A all-rounder, was thrown the ball. And again, from greater distances. Nobody could stem the tide.
The early finish meant it was still sunny at the Golden Ball for hot takes, hot chips and Brakspear. Football was discussed, as I’m afraid it’s getting to that time of year.