11th May 2022
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V&A v Nomads

In the Clubhouse

V&A PLAYERS: N. Constantine (c), N. Derewlany,  J. Tetlow, L. Nieboer, M. Wright, M. Shenfield, C. Jonkers, O. Marsh, A. Jacot, ‘Peter’, S. Chande

Digging into the archives, Rupert Morris wrote this in 2018: “The Nomads are a serious team, who have been going for more than a century and include several former first-class or professional cricketers…they have several overseas tours every year. Dennis de Caires arranged this fixture before his departure for Barbados, and warned Ross that he would have to pick a powerful team.”

It’s amazing how times change, and how quickly. Rupert is now retired in France, Dennis in Barbados, and Ross in the wilderness. Lachlan is 40. 

The Nomads remain a serious team. If no longer bristling with ex-pros, they are a wily looking outfit, sporting various club cricket tops and furrowed brows. They include, according to N Bird, a delightful chairman in Michael Blumberg. A timed game was agreed, with 20 overs after 5:30pm. They were put into the field on a glorious and cloudless day. 

The V&A is also a serious team in the sense that we have some very good young players. To put this in perspective, Shaun Chande at 35 is neither. Opening the batting, he was (perhaps rightly) aggrieved to be given out LBW for 7. At the other end was Tetlow, with a sore right shoulder and poisoned liver. Impersonating a Priory patient, if not a specialist batsmen, he defended well and scored freely off the back foot. As for Ollie Marsh, he is still reasonably young, and very good, timing the ball effortlessly to the boundary. Together they put on 140, only interrupted by lunch, with Marsh reaching his half century first. 

Lunch was roast beef, gammon, courgettes, and salad. N Bird was away, so the interval passed without speeches, references to the sexuality of salads (or their makers), and it was less communal and convivial for it. Chatter centred around renewable energy instead. Chande invests in wind farms, Jonkers generates hot air, and Lachlan is very confused by anthropogenic climate change (he’s a classicist. It wasn’t invented then). The discussion was prompted, in part, by an opposition player charging his electric car from the clubhouse. Charging etiquette is a far less developed sport than cricket, but some themes ought to be the same: if you’re out, walk. 

The V&A has a few rapid chargers of their own. Marsh eventually holed out for 67, trying to free the arms. Derewlany took a while to hit his first boundary, but once the field was pierced, the floodgates opened. Tetlow, unaware he was on 90, attempted to force the issue on captain’s orders and fell c&b. Captain Constantine, in next, was run out for 12. Lachlan (9*) stuck with Derewlany as the latter raced to 86*. The declaration eventually came as the afternoon sun beat down on a scoreboard showing 292/4, from 46 overs. Not a bad effort, but shy of the 303 posted in the first match of the season off 11 fewer overs.

We needed 10 wickets. Lachlan is our star bowler. He’s a slimmer beast these days, lives on a farm and wears a Bjorn Bjorg style headband when he bowls. He delivers the ball just as fast, but spends less time debating the batsman, umpires, or his own fielders. The country air has soothed him to such a degree, he can now enjoy verbal abuse, written abuse – and not taking wickets. The last bit is only partially true, he took 2 from 14 overs, but felt it necessary to apologise at the end for not taking more. Marsh, on the other hand, took 5. Remarkably he managed more no-balls than wickets from his 12 overs, but was easily man of the match. Jacot uttered gaily that Marsh resembled a young Glenn McGrath. Jonkers took a wicket, with a beautiful delivery clipping the top of off stump, which drew no such comparison. In the car, Constantine suggested Jonkers was a ‘polymath’ and not to tell him. Bird also has a brain, but suffers from polyamory, which is slightly different. 

We managed 8 wickets in the end and drew. Normally with such a result ‘cricket is the winner’, but competitive league cricket is not the rather effete village game we play. Most clubs have a home and away fixture against the same team; when away the home team provides tea ladies and caters gratis– the visitors do nowt and pay nowt, because the hospitality is returned. Not so at Stonor. We host and provide lunch and tea but extract match fees from oppos and appreciate a little assistance in clearing up etc. Most visitors are terribly helpful. One or two do fuck all to help but that is probably because they are used to tea ladies (or N Bird) clucking away in the kitchen with the scones and Marigolds. Village cricket is a patchwork of gentle applause, nice grub and fair (if inept) umpiring. No one minds umpires who are useless (N Bird), if they are useless impartially. 

It wasn’t inevitable that things turned out the way they did. The V&A is full of hospitable and  charming folk. Jacot, for example, is rarely without a glint in his eye, or smile on his face. You don’t get the V&A player’s player award for simply turning out in whites and loading the dishwasher, though many have tried. His old pal Martin Shenfield (playing on the day) often feeds the homeless. Christiaan hands out free champagne in his bookstore. Constantine gives away his wicket. We are a charitable bunch. Peter, our 11th man recruit from the Nomads got the memo, walking away from a straightforward catch. But by then, the game was up, and the less said about that and other events the better. 

The word ‘nomad’ can be traced back to nomás in Ancient Greek, meaning “roaming, wandering, esp. to find pasture”. Rarely do we put a team out to grass, but I would be surprised if we see the Nomads on our pastures again.

By J.Tetlow. 



Nick Constantine adds:


It is typical of Joe to be modest, to the point of silence, about his own performance. His innings was masterful and chanceless. It is a difficult thing to open the batting at Stonor; uncovered pitches and variable bounce make the prospect of entertaining a new ball spell one for only the stoutest of hearts. Joe batted with a fluidity that perfectly suited the glorious summer’s day and was a joy to watch. Sadly, he sacrificed his wicket trying to force the pace (on my orders) and thus I am entirely to blame for thwarting him of his first century. I beg his forgiveness…