Match Reports

Match Reports

18th July 2019
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V&A vs The Jesmond Jaguars

Cricket, as a sport, is only described as ‘gripping’ by a meagre few these days. You’d think that the fixture at Stonor, Saturday last, would be the pinnacle of the sport. Down to the wire, nails bitten to the quick (on my part, anyway) and brows furrowed in concentration. Then, Sunday happened… I was in the number at Trafalgar Square – I wept with joy, I sank to my knees in a swill of discarded beer… and then Adam Chataway, erstwhile of the V&A and skipper of The Jesmond Jaguars sent me this:  “A great weekend for the game of cricket thanks to a pulsating contest that delivered heart stopping drama until the last over. I am gratified to see the impact our game has had on raising the profile of cricket and bringing it to new audiences. To have played our part in creating today’s scenes (Monday) at the […]
10th July 2019

V&A v The Authors XI

Cricket has offered literature a surprising amount of material over the years.  Jeeves was a Warwickshire medium pace bowler before lending his name to P.G.Wodehouse’s gentleman’s personal gentleman.  Sherlock Holmes is supposedly a portmanteau of Nottinghamshire and England wicketkeeper, Mordecai Sherwin and teammate Francis Shacklock, and Sherlock’s brother Mycroft named after the Derbyshire fast bowler, William Mycroft.  James Bond was an ornithologist, but the name of his arch-enemy, Blofeld, which Ian Fleming lifted from his club’s register, was the father of the commentator Henry Blofeld.  Both Wodehouse and Conan Doyle played cricket for the Authors XI in its original incarnation, long before it was brought out of hibernation in its current guise to play against poncey teams like the V&A. The fixture is now in its fifth year and despite two rain affected matches, has been enjoyed by all concerned.  The Authors are a convivial bunch who, unlike the V&A, actually do […]
5th July 2019

V&A v Hermits

The Hermits have been a fixture in the V&A diary since day dot. I wouldn’t know, I wasn’t born when the club was founded, but there you go. Dear Leader N. Bird is seldom wrong on these things. He seldom adds a postscript to match reports either, so The Hermits must be a popular lot! It was damned hot. One of the hotter days I can recall at Stonor in recent memory, even by comparison to that heatwave of yester summer, which lives long in the memory of many a cricketer. Halcyon days have not been on the order of service this summer. Nick Emley announced himself to be “a bit hot”, and probably was talking about the weather – you can never tell. The V&A were to bat. Quite why The Hermits decided to take the field in blistering heat, with some uninitiated cricketers wearing shorts is beyond me. […]
12th June 2019
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V&A v Thebertons

There was a crossword clue this morning that read ‘thin mud (4)’. Of course, the answer was ‘silt’. Synonyms for ‘silt’ are, to name a few: sediment, mud, sludge, slime, and ooze. These are not generally monikers for the topsoil of a cricket wicket, but do spring to mind as a result of Saturday’s fixture at Stonor Park. It was so boggy that Adam Knight was overheard informing bowlers and batsmen alike to replace their divots. Wrong sport, right sentiment. Sawdust was very much the order of the day. The forecast was ominous, but the Anemoikept the rain away from Stonor, as they so often do. Theberton’s (or “Thebs” as they seem to call one another) are a charming lot, many of whom are lawyers of the Middle Temple. It would appear that Thebertons were men firmly on a mission, as the toss arrangement saw them bat first with a […]
5th June 2019

V&A v The Townies and The Country Folk

I often wonder what heralds the beginning of summer. Is it summer in mid-April, when the cricket season starts? Or, are we playing cricket in spiteof the weather, because that’s what good chaps do? Either way – it appeared on Saturday last that summer had finally caught up. It was one of those idyllic Stonor days: Cerulean blue, cloudless sky, with the mercury touching 27 at its zenith. Suffice it to say that if you weren’t barefoot, you were overdressed. Townies & Country Folk XI are not so much a cricket team of odds and sods, but a convincing cast for a rural tour ofOliver Twist, given the sheer quantity of progeny with which they travel. Thankfully, they all look rather healthier than a Dickensian horde of street urchins. Nobody was pickpocketed either. Or perhaps they’re the realization of The Pickwickians, who arrive at their cricket match, where they’re directed […]
14th May 2019

V&A v Top Knockers

Much has been made of the weather, of late. Skipper for the day, Nick Emley, Andy Taylor and myself toiled against the buffeting hailstorm at The Oval on Wednesday. Another damp squib, another washout. Professionals, and the ECB, might take a leaf out of the V&A book: we embrace the rain (we play in it often enough) as much as we embrace uncovered wickets and an outfield that seems to be made of tar one minute, and concrete the next. Despite the wind chill, it is getting warmer. Two jumpers rather than three was the order of the day. Several of us even ventured so far as to wear sunglasses, but that’s because we’re a trendy bunch. Top Knockers Cricket Club are a new fixture to add to the list of delightful wanderers that we have established over the years. Their heartland is Shropshire, and they’re a lovely lot, even […]
8th May 2019

V&A v The All Sorts

It was bloody cold.  At one point, just before an early tea, with the wind whistling down the Stonor valley alternately carrying with it driving rain or hail, I felt entirely ill equipped as umpire with a mere two jumpers, a body warmer and an umpire’s coat for protection.  If we are to continue to play in these conditions an umpiring sou’wester outfit shall be required.  The rain had been infrequent, but but the howling gale was a constant.  It meant that one either bowled with the wind or directly into it.  The latter option was not much fun, as the wind acts not only as an impediment to bowling, but also as an aid to the batsman who sought to smite the ball in the direction from whence it came.  I found myself in danger of developing a cricked neck from watching the ball sail back over my head […]
27th April 2019
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V&A v The Bushmen

The Availability Matrix has arrived. Resistance is futile. It helped Skipper Rob Taylor to be submersed in excess availability for our opening fixture against The Bushmen. Shame he could never be certain how long each player would be available during the game. Herewith a summary of our team’s availability for and during the match, plus player ratings that cannot be challenged unless and until you too have written a match report this season. The early-season match report bar is set low… Rob Taylor. Captain. Available. Selected. Masterful in his skippering. He didn’t have to so much herd cats. Skippering this shifting shapeless shit-shower team of 11, 13, 15 was akin to stacking diarrhoea. DNB due to selflessly batting himself at 10. He interspersed 5 good overs of spin with a constant Alan Bennett style whingeing, “I wish I could bowl faster”. Bowled a sixth over of inverse-pace. One day. Maybe. […]
4th April 2019

V&A Cricket Club Dinner

Our 45th Annual Dinner passed without serious incident which is a bonus. The food was entirely adequate and the wine only ran out at the end.
23rd September 2018

2018 – End of Term Report

The season ended not with a bang but a whimper. Our last improvised fixture at Stonor was not to be. God intervened as She/He often does, though for most of the summer you’d have thought cricket was what God did, so glorious was the weather. And for much of it I was in the mountains of upstate New York in persistent rain. Fuck it. I am not sure that improvised games work, oppositions are cobbled together and inquorate. We should ensure, though, that we do not get any more fixtures snaffled by the bohemians of the Chelsea Arts Club. We had an astounding number of close, even nail-biting, finishes. Not of the engineered type I used to contrive when I was a sort of permanent captain. If the opposition looked to be needing help I’d put a wally bowler on. The trouble was the wally bowler knew why he was […]