Because of the pandemic, all matches for May have been cancelled. We do not yet know the situation for the rest of the season, but Oxfordshire Cricket, with whom we are affiliated, are keeping us posted – you can go on their website for updates. The V&A Tour this year is also cancelled. In the meantime here is a quiz question (a starter for ten, if you like). Who are these cricketers?
Saturday, 7th September saw the residents of the quiet village of Stonor awake earlier than normal to the noise of a 1950’s Stother and Pitt Roller. P Goodliffe had arrived at the break of dawn and sat astride the machine with the sole purpose of ensuring the wicket was the flattest this side of Chennai 2016. This was greatly appreciated, although a few of the V&A stalwarts had to quickly rethink their standard “that one kept low” reasoning while walking back to the pavilion with looks of disbelief on their faces. Cups of tea finished, boundaries placed, and the majority of the V&A arrived, discussions moved on to the opposition. While a lovely bunch of chaps, the Times team of last year weren’t the strongest among the wandering troupes on the V&A fixture list. This allowed captain L. Nieboer, pencil in hand, the freedom to move around the batting line […]
We returned to the usual one game weekend after the excesses of the week before, where our usual Saturday fixture was followed by a fixture against Stonor village on Sunday. Rather bizarrely, having hitherto beaten all comers, the V&A were skittled by a combination of wily bowling and wallyish batting and villagers knocked the runs of with relative ease. Nobody cared a great deal because whilst Martin Bowden and Norman Reid were putting together a plucky last wicket stand, a certain Ben Stokes was writing himself into the history books with a last wicket stand of his own. As for this match, Andy Taylor won the toss on a bright morning and chose to bat, sending in new boys, Nick Derewlany and Joe Tetlow to open proceedings. They got off to a sprightly start, in spite of tidy bowling and skipped, though a mixture of elegant drives and lusty pulls, to 92 at about […]
The V&A moved to Stonor from Turville Park about 35 years ago. The Stonor ‘pavilion’ was then a shack, with walls but not even a window. Only a flap on hinges. No water. The lavatory was a bush. Today is luxury in comparison. We played Stonor village when Tony Fisher, Grumpy Groundsman emeritus, graced their team and bowled classy offies. We have all passed a lot of water since. The V&A team that played Stonor in 1989 n’existe plus, apart from Martin and me; they are dead, or living in Eastbourne which is much the same. One or two were banged up. A young all-rounder called Adam Jacot joined just afterwards, and elevated the tone both on and off the field with his virility and erudition. The erudition remains. I did not actually play against Stonor this year, but they also serve who only umpire and scoff tea. Stonor are […]
Tom Bird was skip in a 35 over match v THE BUTLERS XI, the team from Radio 4. A most agreeable bunch. Extremely voluble in the field, competing in decibels with the Craft Fair opposite. The Fair is a lesson in how to make hideous things in raffia. The Butlers batted first in the morning heat. They are young (their keeper excepted) and agile. I fielded, and was not. I missed a tricky chance in the slips that I would have palmed 40 years ago. Lachlan is quicker than ever nowadays and soon bowled their openers. Enter Leo Townsend, a man with a fabulous eye. He smote the ball far into the Craft Fair (our track was practically on the road), right into the melée of cars and people by the gate. We are insured, but our legal position might be iffy if we did nothing to address the problem […]
What a business this fixture was! The NOMADS, who we were due to play, cancelled on Friday owing to the Lord’s Test, and doubts about the weather (wrong on that count). Phil and I spent the day looking for an opposition, fruitlessly. The South London teams wanting a game all thought Stonor Injun country, fearsomely rural, and declined to travel. So we cancelled on Friday night. But then at 10.15 on Saturday morning a bloke from a Kingston (Surrey, not Jamaica) team rang to say his lot had just been let down and they could make it to Stonor by 1.30. Nine of them made it. Actually, they made it to Lord Camoys’ big house, late, because I gave them the wrong postcode, but they were charmingly gracious throughout the day. And as talkative on the field as us. Nigel Allsop did a sterling job in rushing to the ground […]
Match Organizer for a ‘new-to-V&A’, Sunday afternoon fixture. Last time it was Hermits… Are these trials? Or is this paranoia? Eight days before the game in the garden of the Golden Ball over chips and drinks after victory over Legends, Ross and Lachlan volunteer simultaneously to skipper. They agree to do the job jointly whilst Phil organizes the off-field stuff. To help recruitment, the beauty of the W&SCC, village-green ground is discussed loudly. The pub and the extensive playground, both adjacent to the pitch, also get mentions. Onto research: Their website shows lots of youth cricket but only two of their last seven Sunday afternoon games have been played or reported. An email is sent to their Match Organizer, re-assuring him V&A can get a side out. Four days pass without response… Martin B played for Acme CC at W&SCC in May and makes himself available to play for V&A […]
A windy day with changeable weather greeted the players as they rolled up at Stonor Park on Saturday morning to kick off the first V&A weekend double header: This was to be a forty over match, a departure from our usual format, and the V&A fielded an XI which the scorer noted as replete with 17 total middle name initials between them. Your correspondent is uncertain of the significance of this, but on his reporting debut will present the facts and not question them. Though the poet and philosopher N M H Constantine noted “grudge” as format of match in the scorebook, our opposition – the Battersea Bandits – are actually a very pleasant bunch, albeit a team we seldom beat. Team morale and prospects were however buoyed by the inclusion of evergreen veteran D J De Caires in the side, back from Barbados for a few games that coincide with […]
As the XI sauntered into the Stonor Park Pavilion and greeted their fellow warriors, it was clear to the team that they had roused a level of trepidation in the opposition - only 9 appeared. Nick, who was wearing the armband, allowed the Legends to bat and so the game was set. Both teams agreed to meet on the pitch after a short interlude.
Nicky Bird adds a trivial and unnecessary preface: Turville Park is where the V&A used to play, courtesy of my Dad’s chum at Winchester, Air Marshal Sir Christopher Foxley-Norris who ran the club. A fanatically keen cricketer, but useless. He stood at third man and shouted a lot of facetious nonsense, but his benign temper pervaded his team and the game. I wrote his obit for The Times and upset Ian Chappell perhaps by claiming that Christopher invented sledging. Turville Park CC are everything a village side should be – a minestrone of age (Colin Simon), yoof (Charlie Hunt) and ability (James Hunt). They have their eccentrics – Barnaby Bazell – as we have. A couple of years ago our eccentrics duffed up theirs in a daft verbal spat now forgotten, thank God. The game this Saturday, at which I was a commis chef and umpire only, was marred by rain but […]