V&A CC v. Raedarii CC
21st August 2023
V&A v Legends X1
3rd September 2023
Show all

V&A v Stonor CC


V&A XI: C. Jonkers (c), T. Bird, J. Arnold, C. Kulasingham, L. Nieboer, F.Palmer, D.Scott, A. Syed, V. Grantham, A. Wayland, D. Unadkat

A rare double header for the V&A is always a logistical challenge.  This challenge was made doubly so by the fact that Nicky Bird, founder and eminence grise of the club was due to play a significant role, catering on Saturday and captaining on Sunday.  Sadly, medical complications meant that he had to go to hospital instead.  Nicky and hospitals have had a rocky relationship in the past, but he assures me he is being well looked after, but is disappointed in the nurses’ deplorable knowledge if the works of P.G.Wodehouse and the wine list leaves a little to be desired.  A mad communal scramble ensued to gather the requisite vittles for the day.  A joint of beef here, some baked peppers there, salads, potatoes, bread and various condiments, not to mention a variety of scones and cakes for tea and before we knew it, we had a spread fit for Bacchus himself.

Sadly the cricket was a soggy affair, ending as it began with a sharp downpoor.  Not even Lachlan and Rob Taylor’s attempts to sweep the puddles from the wicket, the equivalent to a man bailing out a boat with a teaspoon, could rescue the situation.

The weather was kinder to us the following day for the annual landlord and tenant game against Stonor.  As usual I wondered into the home dressing-room and wondered what all these chaps from the opposition were doing it, before realising that in this instance they were the home team.  By a remarkable feat of prior organisation, we had eleven players, but alas, our opposition had but seven.  On the basis of being to two most local (besides me), I volunteered Dominic Scott and Vin Grantham to join Stonor for the day to make it nine a side.

Stonor captain, John Powell, warned me their bowling was weak and he was right, but the Stonor pitch, softened form some mid-morning rain, is a great leveller as Christy and Lachlan, opening a shuffled batting line-up, discovered.  Neither gave much trouble to the scorer (the excellent Dillan Unadkat, who scored our entire innings, without demur and with great precision – he can come again) and before long we found ourselves at 24-2.  Tom Bird going into join Wayland warned me that this might not be a partnership for the purist.  They hoiked and heaved, dropping the ball into gaps or through the buttered fingers of the Stonor fielders and by drinks at 20 overs the score had reached 104-2, approximately three of which, we estimate, had been scored on the off-side.  Bird was out shortly after drinks as was I and Francis Palmer, but Wayland plugged on eventually finding then hands of a fielder on 58.  An insouciant 28 from Arnold and a lusty 22 from Aly Syed saw us to 183, which was about 30 more than we were reasonably entitled to.

Tea between innings was a thing of joy for the village cricket traditionalist, egg and cress and cheese and pickle sandwiches and all manner of homemade cakes and fruit loaves.  We discussed Nigel Farage’s recent defenestration from the V&A CC’s bank and (couldn’t have happened to a nicer chap) and their hilariously precise description of him as “disingenuous grifter” and the mysterious disappearance of the Chelsea Arts Club’s previous captain Jack Nott-Bower.

One person who missed out on tea was Lachlan who, midway through our innings decided that there was somewhere else he needed to be.  In his absence with Aly, who bowled tidy away swingers at a lively pace, opened the bowling with Wayland.  Stonor got off to a brisk start with 20 off the first two overs but Aly soon had Farr lbw for 23 and Tom Bird pulled off the impressive trick of caking a catch using only his elbow.  Noel Williams, looking solid, punished the loose deliveries from the leg spinner Dillan keeping Stonor just about in touch with the run rate.  But then Vin Grantham got a ball which would have bowled Bradman and when Williams departed shortly afterwards and all of a sudden the game was all but done.  Some sprightly batting from Dominic Scott and Symons saw Stonor avoid being bowled out finishing on 128-7 from 35 overs.

We adjourned to The Rainbow, where Curly received us with his particular brand of charm.  Middle Assendon had lost its water.  Something to do with some builders up at Bix Common having got their plans upside down and gone through a pipe, I think.  It meant that we could only have a second pint if we could produce our own glassware (ideally from the first pint).  Nigel Alsop enquired after Phil Goodliffe, erstwhile V&A wicketkeeper with an impressive knowledge of herbicides, and talked wistfully of the long and interesting, well mainly just long, email correspondence on the subject of wormcasts and the like.   Alas, Phil has not been seen at Stonor for a couple of years, so it is now safe for Nigel to reopen his email browser again.

V&A 183-6 from 35 over (Wayland 58, Bird 36); Stonor 128-7 from 35 Overs (Williams 29, Jonkers 3-11).  V&A won by 55 runs.