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V&A v Star CC (rematch)


V&A PLAYERS: T. Bird (C), N. Derewlany, J. Tetlow, J. Warman, R. Rowland Clarke, A. Jacot de Boinod, L. Neiboer, A. Knight, N. Stoop, C Jonkers,

The original fixture, Top Knockers, pulled out. So we had a rematch against Star CC. Star CC are a great bunch and have saved us on a few occasions now, coming over from east London at the last hour. Even better, they reliably provide a full service, letting us win too. 

The last fixture, in June, was won by the V&A, with Jonkers taking 3 wickets including 2 in 2 balls at the last, with Star needing only one run to draw. We had almost been defeated and needed to be at our best. 

Tom Bird was skip and we bowled first, which is something of a novelty this year. Lachlan chose the Henley end and bowled with the wind, sending 4 overs down for 8 runs, most of which were overthrows. Adam Knight, 6 overs for 22, found a good length. 

The scoreboard barely moved. Derewlany was behind the stumps with the gloves on and was giving a running commentary on the run rate: “I want something to chase here lads”. 

The shots were agricultural. Some found the fence but most missed the bat or hit the fielders. It took a brilliant catch by Tom Bird to make the breakthrough, after Jake Warman missed out on a caught and bowled, leaping like a salmon and catching like one too. It’s the first time he’d played in 10 years, so looked the part.. Remarkably, he took the next two wickets, using the wind, hard ball, and seaming pitch to put Star CC 42-3 from 15 overs. His sunglasses were fixed to his nose like a Steve McQueen portrait, his bowling a bashful imitation of Graeme Swann, and his shoes worse than even Derewlany’s (striped pastel coloured marshmallows, too pale for gay pride, too ugly for cricket). Our art director and Chairman is a good judge of both. 

The opposition put up a fight, motivated perhaps by the chatter from close fielders and gloveman. The odd ball hit the fence. Stoop bowled well, taking 2 for. One of his victims was halfway to the other end when given out lbw, after an exasperated appeal. The batsmen was incandescent to the point of speechlessness, especially when Stoop apologised directly for dismissing him at lunch. Sometimes an apology and a gloat are indiscernible. 

I can’t remember when lunch came, but it was memorable. Star ate some exotic nosh at one end, the V&A warm potatoes, chicken and pâté at the other. A flying Bird swept up and down the table, with an efficient speech, majoring on the habitation of Star CC, and his daughter. She lives in glorious Walthamstow. We learned of its many other attractions, including canals, and that Venice is colloquially known as the ‘Walthamstow of Venetia’. 

The remaining 7 overs after lunch saw Star CC reach 158, a decent score after their start. Rupert Rowland Clarke took 4 quick wickets, bowling with speed to match his fielding prowess. He broke the stumps and his son, fielding with us in ODI kit, barely stopped smiling. Jonkers took a wicket, but also some tap. His mitigation was that he was nursing an injury, but also that all their batsmen are ‘Star batsmen’. And so are ours. 

There was rain around. Tom Bird had instructed us to start bang on time and at the change of the innings, shortly after lunch, we were in sight of an early finish. Lachlan, having only bowled 4 overs, was given the task of wielding the axe at the top; Derewlany his partner. 

Their top bowler, Lakhan, had taken 5 wickets in his previous outing at Stonor on a green top. He’s a broad shouldered chap, who jogs off just a few paces, before launching it with all his burl. The openers negotiated the first few overs well, leaving the ball on length and taking the odd single. 

In the kitchen, Adam smashed plates into the dishwasher and Test Match Special told us that England were 3 down after India had set over 400 in the first innings. Perhaps they could do with our batters? After all, Lachlan had faced KP just this week, a player of unparalleled skill and arrogance. KP isn’t bad either. Apparently he had our silver fox from the silver screen caught after just two overs. No such luck for Star. Lachlan was mature and patient in his batting, relishing the challenge. Testosterone flowed, as did boundaries, with the two six foot all-rounders enjoying each others company. Tetlow looked on at 3. 

100-0 at tea, Lachlan was the more fluent of the two, reaching his half century first, with a huge six into the trees, complimented by some posher nudges through the covers. The weather was beginning to turn, as the tide had in the match. After tea and cakes, Derewlany reached another half century, cutting loose on his way up to 71*. Lachlan finished on 74*, his best innings of the season. It wasn’t ‘baz-ball’, but it was comfortable, knocking off the total in 23 of the 35 allotted overs. 

Sometimes a match report is surplus to requirements and a picture says a thousand words. On this occasion, you have both. 

By Joe Tetlow