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V&A v Royal Household X1


V&A PLAYERS: N. Derewlany (C), S. Gleeson, S. Manyana, R. Taylor (WK), A. Jacot de Boinod, N. Emley, N. Sethi, R. Lawson, H. Turpier, N. Constantine

Our opponents this week were Her Majesty’s Royal Household, one of the revered (or inconvenient depending on how you look at it) away games that pop up in the V&A fixture list a few times a year. It seems remiss to leave match report duties to the only full-time Australian in the V&A squad (although we were charmed by Robbie Lawson, ex-V&A regular, this week) when I’m probably the least qualified to comment on Her Majesty. We are part of the Commonwealth and Nicky Bird once said I was “rather couth for an Australian”, but the fact remains in the land of convicts, ruffians and great cricketers, the Monarch is dreadfully irrelevant in most circles. Don’t show this to Frogmore, I want to come back and play next year. 

We were quorate with 11 by Tuesday surprisingly (+ guests). We have struggled to get an XI together most weeks this season, but it seems many were swayed by the temptation of being able to say they’d “played cricket at Windsor Castle” on Saturday. My parents – who were over from Sydney and watching me play for the V&A for the first time – were more swayed by the allure of a “Queen’s standard” tea, scones and all. 

Things started smoothly. I was running very late and then got lost in Windsor trying to find the correct gate to enter, so Nick Constantine tossed on my behalf. He lost the toss, of course, and we were sent into the field with the sun shining on a beautiful deck with a fast outfield. A timed game was agreed, with 20 overs after 6:30pm. They had a real umpire. And a real electronic scorecard. Things felt serious. 

We opened with Shaun Gleason (1/36) and Adam Jacot. Shaun seemed horrified when I told him he was opening the bowling, but with this week’s team full of off-spinners some medium pace to start seemed appropriate. There’s looseners and then there’s the ball Shaun served first up, which was hit was such disdain into the bushes that I questioned my choice. However, he soon settled into his rhythm well and was well supported by Jacot. The Royal Household started strongly though, with Crofts (49) and Bense (46) scoring quickly. The carpet-like outfield gave you value for shots. We took wickets at regular intervals however, with Tom Pritchard Gordon (2/45) tying down one end, bowling cleverly and accurately. He was the pick of the bowlers. The game moved into drinks delicately poised. 

The Royal Household took control of their batting innings post-drinks, with O’Leary (49*) and Roberts (34*) scoring quickly, playing big shots with freedom and putting the pressure back on us. Our field was perhaps too aggressive in hindsight, and we rotated through several bowlers to try and stem the flow, with little reward. Nick Constantine & Henry Turpie threw down some pies that were later served for tea, and were ably supported by Derewlany, who brought himself on to stem the flow but was hit for one of the biggest sixes over mid-on the ground has probably seen. Sethi (not Patel, Joe), bowled well at the death, and probably should have bowled more (1/44). The Royal Household declared at 250/5 off 37 overs. An imposing score. 

But, we felt right in it. With 2 recent centurions in the batting lineup, the classy Robbie Lawson (who I was told on several occasions was an “excellent player”) and Turpie & Constantine off the back of runs against Dulwich, we had a deep lineup that was licking its lips to get stuck in and take advantage of a good wicket & outfield. Emley, playing his (supposed) last game for the V&A, was sent in to open with Turpie (23), who got us off to a flyer despite some good bowling from Nutt (2/31) and O’Leary, who bowled with bounce and swing. Emley (0) did not manage to grace the scorebooks with his presence, but, to the horror of the umpire & the fielding team, did manage to grace the hallowed turf of Frogmore with some cigarette ash whilst he was umpiring at square leg. I’m sure his picture has been plastered all over the Frogmore House security box to avoid a repeat next year. Lawson (10*) and Derewlany (45*) consolidated and the game was shaping up nicely at 80/2, but…

The weather unfortunately took a turn for the worst around 6:30pm, and with no end in sight, Derewlany and Nutt shook hands to call the game. A disappointing end to an enticing fixture, but that’s cricket sometimes (we have been blessed with the weather this season given this was the first washout). Beers were poured in the clubhouse, the sun eventually came out, and Her Majesty rolled past in a motorcade (visiting her granddaughter Beatrice apparently). You could do worse.

By Nick Derewlany