The season crescendo was won by the All Sorts. They had no Jacot’s this year (Louis or Simon), which was an early morale boost. Louis scored a century against us recently. Simon was a good wicket keeper, according to Annette, his mother. He’s retired from cricket apparently, because he can’t play like he used to. Meanwhile, Adam Jacot, of course, is entering his prime. His girlfriend, Emma, is living proof, and catered on the day. Our caterers could themselves be called the “All Sorts”, particularly Emma, and Sarah Jenkins. The urban dictionary will tell you more, though copies won’t be found at Jonkers Rare Books. Nicky, also a caterer – but not in the same league, bought Emma a bouquet of flowers for her troubles. Tesco’s floristry offer is much improved these days. Sarah Jenkins, having only received a soiled tea towel for the same travails across a season, was quick to point out the injustice. “I like lilies”, she said. “Fucking ungrateful” said Nicky.
With help on hand, Adam was unshackled as captain. Mike Brearley had Botham, Willis, and Gower to call on. Adam had Christiaan Jonkers. The V&A batted first and struggled to hit the ball (when it was wide, which it often was, and when it was straight and hit the stumps). On returning to the pavilion, Tetlow was asked if he played down the wrong line, which you would think obvious when the bails are on the floor. Kulasingam was caught cutting. Enter (half) iron-man Nick Derewlany. The V&A’s Derewlany and Ollie Marsh recently completed the Weymouth half iron man, which involves lots of swimming, cycling and running. Baz Street also promptly arrived at the crease. He doesn’t do iron man’s. His flicks through mid wicket, though, are a thing of beauty. One on-drive was shot of the day, holding the pose, bat aloft. Once reaching his half century, he then clubbed a poor tennis-like shot to mid-off. Federer, now retired, is free for coaching forehands and backhands. Mrs Baz Street may help too if she gets dragged off to the USA against her will. Derewlany launched a few over cover, his best shot, but also his achilles heel. Caught at cover for 43.
There was lots of time left to bat, with the V&A reaching 114-4 from 17 overs. Tom Walsh came to the crease, helmetless and wearing a shirt befitting an English period drama. Lachlan was in an English period drama once. But he wasn’t playing, and was missed. Instead, Tom Bird came in at six and got a duck, caught behind (a sharp take by Archie Hood, their keeper). Runkle was bowling slow dibbly dobblers, blowing snot out of his nose, and cursing his fielders. Runkle is a place in Jackson County, West Virginia. Top batsmen would hit his deliveries there. Others, like Alex Pitlarge, get stumped trying. Niam Scott Ram was bowled for 1 by Dixon, and Tom suffered the same fate, but with a very good 43 in the scorecard (thanks to David Pitlarge for scoring, as 12th man). Jonkers, who said he wanted a bat prior to the game, got his opportunity and brought out the Jonkers slog sweep, which either misses the ball completely or sends it into Stonor Park. It was the latter on this occasion and he finished on 24, taking the V&A to 206.
Al fresco dining in 17 degrees, the players were warmed by 2015 Bordeaux (courtesy of Tom), Emma’s fabulous lunch, and speeches from Nicky and the All Sorts’ skipper Mark Peel. Doing his best Lady Dowding, Nicky presented Adam Jacot with an award for his five-for against the Battersea Badgers (his first in a decade). It hasn’t been written up as yet, but Adam’s five-for will doubtless feature heavily in the end of term report and at the annual dinner. Lady Dowding will, as is customary, be present then. According to the Telegraph, at least.
The trouble Adam had was balancing lots of all-rounders, whilst not pissing anyone off, and winning the game. The absent Lachlan got 4 wickets last week, ripping out a very good top order. We needed something similar. Lachlan is a bowler who bats. Derewlany is a batsman who bowls. He opened with Christiaan, and neither quite got it right. The All Sorts were 53-0 after 9, with Chappel and Tennant going well. Christy Kulasingam bowled up the hill against the wind and his wish.
By the 13th over, and the commencement of Baz Street’s excellent left arm darts, it was 77-0. The game was slipping away. By virtue of the All Sorts having only four recognised bowlers, the limit per bowler in each innings was increased to nine, allowing Baz to tie down the top end during the middle overs, threatening both edges. Tetlow asked the bowler if he gets many edges for Barnes (London league cricket), to which he said “a few, but nobody will catch them” and declined to move Nick Scott Ram out of slip. Like clockwork, Baz found the edge, the ball went straight into the breadbasket at first slip – and out again. A wry smile.
Tea was short and sweet (cakes to be precise). The weather was closing in and daylight dwindled. Jonkers said something about weighted batting averages, suggesting that runs at the top of the order should count for more, and the middle order should be penalised for having it too easy. Tetlow mused that it’s hard to weigh a duck. Derewlany choked on his bakewell tart.
And so the final session of the season began. Derewlany took the gloves off Alex Pitlarge. Nick Scott Ram was deposed from first slip. Baz Street continued where he left off. In the first over after tea, one drifted in and turned, took a thick edge, and was snaffled at first slip by Tetlow. Some hope at last, with Chappel gone for 48, and the opening stand broken. Short-lived. Archie Hood, next man in, scored a century against us last year. He started by swatting a short ball over the top for four. Tetlow, unusually, pitched most deliveries up. The short ball, a surprise, did for Tennant – fending it toward Nick Scott Ram at wide Gully. It hung in the air. The audience looked on.
Even Rupert Morris would’ve caught it. Tetlow contemplated shuffling off this mortal coil, from the top of his mark. Tennant continued.
All hope was not lost though. Archie Hood succumbed to a Baz Street red arrow, which snuck under the bat and displaced the bails. A big wicket. The field encroached for the new man. When Baz bowls his quicker ball, he has a slight tell, and it swings into the right hander dangerously fast. Too dangerous for Oliver to cope with, and he was straight back to the pavilion, first ball. Were the All Sorts quaking in their boots? Perhaps it was just cold.
They needn’t have worried. Tennant brought up his century and finished on 117*, with Magnus intact at t’other end. Some good bowling from Alex Pitlarge found no reward, and the V&A’s total of 206 was chased down formidably with 3 overs to spare.
At the Golden Ball, the Pitlarge’s settled in and hoped for a shorter stay this weekend (they were picked up by a recovery truck at 5 a.m last). Mounsey-Thear tried that one with his wife once, but his reputation precedes him. There was a sizable crowd drinking Brakspear, eating thin-cut french fries and paying farewell to the season and the lovely outgoing tenants of the pub (who are motorbiking off into the sunset this Christmas). Tennant was the order of the day, and we look forward to the new tenants at the Golden Ball next year, as well as the V&A awards dinner in November. We know not what is happening to the chickens and turkeys in the beer garden, but Chez Jonkers is just over the hedge, so we can assume they will be taken care of….
By Joe Tetlow
*I’ve been informed that David Tennant is more famous for Doctor Who, not Hamlet, but it’s too late to exterminate the text.