London Saints

What a day!

Where do you start to try and describe an unbelievable day out at Cricket’s HQ. If you could have written a script beforehand of the perfect way for the club to celebrate its 30th anniversary this would have been it. All of my shouting at the weather forecasters for days leading up to the day (suckers got it wrong again) and lack of sleep on Thursday night worrying about the weather was not necessary. Apart from a bit of drizzle early on and cloud cover for the first few hours the weather turned out perfectly.

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The whole day had taken many months of organising by a lot of people with everything (pitch, teas, shirts, insurance, trophies etc) costing over £4,500. So with the prospect of the day being ruined by weather (a phone call to the Lord’s groundsman on Thursday did not reassure me as he admitted that the Nursery Ground did not drain very well) meant I was not much fun to live with in the days leading up to it whilst we were on holiday. Sue and the kids will testify to that and my first thanks are to them for putting up with me being Mr Grumpy. The whole relief of everything working out so well (even the chants of “four more years“ stopped my retirement speech) together with my lack of sleep got to me and resulted in a tired and very emotional old git crashing out in the curry house later on (ed-on the bog I seem to recall)– well that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it. That’s enough of me and onto the important stuff.

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Firstly all the thanks and in no particular order (apologies as I’m sure I will have missed some people out) what a fantastic match programme, which Steve Keenan only collected from the printers at 11 pm the previous evening. Steve spent many, many hours on producing it so thanks to him, all those who contributed articles, John Smith for selling them throughout the day and I believe Chairman Mick sold around 30 to the corporate hospitality boxes in the afternoon. The adverts in the programme paid for all the production costs so all sales went towards the good causes. John Quinn also helped with the advertising and in a really nice touch to the day arranged for the champagne to be in the changing rooms at the end of the match. The new shirts were another great success and ensured we all looked the part so thank to John Griffiths for arranging them and haggling over the price to make them affordable.

Andy Burman from the Gents of West London was only staying for a while but ended up scoring the whole game and was joined by a couple of representatives from West XI, Steve Bignell (our 167th player) and John Quinn’s mate Dave Bender. A big thank-you to all LSSC members, friends and family. Many of whom travelled miles, and helped make the day, with the number of spectators, including our corporate friends, almost matching the crowd at the Moratua Stadium in Sri Lanka. London Saints and Test Match Grounds sit very happily together with the only criticism of Lords being the lack of a pineapple seller. There should be a good pictorial account of the day which we’ll be able to show in a slideshow or picture gallery on the website so thanks to those including Jim Keary who took loads of photos and hopefully make them available. Trevor Mayhew who thankfully managed to make most of the day arranged the fine café and curry venues although I have to take the word of others for the latter. Finally, and after all the cricket was out of the way, the auction and raffle of numerous donated items went better than anyone expected with over £ 1,200 being raised. Thanks to BC for the caricatures which raised a huge amount of money but main thanks to Pete Berkeley for conducting the auction (as well as the publicity for the event over recent weeks) and Chairman Mick for the organization etc.

Oh yes and there was the small matter of a cricket match which took place in the afternoon and which started only three minutes past our appointed start time of 12 o’clock and ended towards six thirty. Again you could not have written this script. In a match where 29 wickets fell (6 players retired having scored 25), and 463 runs scored, the scores between the two teams were tied after the 479th ball, with one run required off the final and 480th ball of this absorbing contest. Garry Burrell chipped the ball into the air towards mid on and the ball avoided Wath’s outstretched arm by inches for an incredible finale and victory for the England team over The Rest of the World X1V. So to the start and the agreed format of one game split into two 20 / 20 innings for each side with batting orders reversed in the 2nd innings.

Rest of the World (RoW) 1st innings: 118 for 4 (Griffiths 26 ret, Nanton 25 ret – J.Quinn 2 – 20)
With Trevor Mayhew delayed and Little John being replaced by his father ‘Where’s’, a hastily arranged discussion between the two Skippers in the café saw a late change to the teams with Ian ‘Sicknote’ Shiels swapping sides and playing for England (qualifying through his Gay Skate Copper links in Brighton) with Where’s Jon going the other way courtesy of his Ghana routes. This may have been a crucial decision as Ian had an excellent match retiring not out on 25, running out two RoW players with direct hits and two fine bowling spells. It took both teams a few minutes to get to the changing rooms as photo opportunities meant we kept stopping every 10 yards but we eventually made it to the rooms with the team names already on the doors and our individualised shirts hanging up on the pegs. I think a few us took a few moments to take it all in and realise that we were actually playing at Lord’s. We didn’t have to look far for clues with pictures of the star players on the walls and John Embury coaching some Middlesex players in the indoor nets.

After more photos the vital toss was performed by the Chairman who proved himself to be a useless tosser with the coin rotating about twice and falling on heads. The Skipper of the RoW called incorrectly (I blame John Smith’s 2 pence coin – I’d expect at least a pound coin for Lord’s) and so Peter Berkeley, Captain of England (ed- that sounds so good), chose to bowl first hoping to give the Quinn’s opening bowling partnership first use of the new ball and overhead overcast conditions. They were helped by having Lord Lucan opening the batting, who, still overcome with emotion after being asked to open, duly gave the first wicket of the day to Quinn Senior for a silver duck. Bets were already being placed about how many ducks would be achieved on the day but Steve’s was one of only four out of the 29 dismissals. The bowling was tight but runs continued to flow at around 6 an over. Player of the Year John Griffiths looked solid as usual and deserved his retirement on 26 not out. Perhaps the surprise package was Gary Speedtwin, who after a slow start, played an excellent innings before being given out LBW for 18. The good bowling meant that the run rate dropped until two fine knocks – 17 by The Wath (before an Ian Shiels direct hit stopped him in his tracks) and 25 not out, and retired by the once Jonty and now Flatliner Nanton increased the rate. A couple of boundaries by Gavin ‘ Floater ‘ Van Marle took the score up to 118 off the first innings of 20 overs.

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England 1st Innings: 123 for 5 (Shadick 27 ret, Hotston 26 ret – Wathan 1-4)
The RoW bowling tactics were slight different as their slightly stronger in depth bowling options allowed all outfield players except Where’s Jon to get a bowl. It did lead to some ‘variety‘ and confusion in the field with a bowling change every over but it also kept the batsmen guessing. An excellent opening partnership (how was anyone to know that it would also be the final winning partnership four and half hours later) by Eric Shadick and Garry Burrell put on 31 for the 1st wicket. Eric rolled back the years and looked in no trouble apart from keeping up with Garry’s enthusiastic running between the wickets. After Eric’s retirement Neil Hotston showed why he should play more cricket and Barry Richards would have been proud of some flashing drives to the boundary. Neil also remained unbeaten and retired on 26. A fightback from the bowlers brought the scoring rate down as England at one stage looked on course for a score well past 130. The Quinn’s came together and steadied the ship with good running between the wickets picking out some of the less mobile members of the RoW team. A large cheer greeted Finn’s 1st run thus ending a run of duck scores – just a shame it won’t count in the season averages.
The final score of 123 gave England a lead of 5 runs going into tea which was enjoyed in the bar overlooking the Nursery Ground.

RoW 2nd Innings: 113 for 10 (Jones 26 ret, Whitworth 14 – J.Quinn 2 – 15, Frood 2 – 17)
After tea the RoW resumed their 2nd innings in bright sunshine at the same time as some of the guests who had been enjoying some corporate hospitality strolled out of their tents to view the game. Unfortunately for Arran ‘Swampy‘ Frood who became the brunt of some jibes as he misfielded in front of some of our new spectators who had obviously being enjoying their free lunches in the executive suites. Chairman Mick decided to defend Arran who was fielding at long leg in front of our new fans by selling them matchday programmes and explaining that the hippy from Swindon was in fact part of an important day which involved raising money for good causes. I think Mick’s trip did the trick as the support levels definitely increased but as I said earlier unfortunately no pineapple salesman turned up.

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James ‘No 1‘ Whitworth’s father’s arrival to watch his son play at Lord’s for the first time coincided with his offspring opening the innings for the RoW and a bit like Eric rolled back the years with 3 cracking boundaries. Unfortunately the RoW’s side of the earlier swap deal did not prove as big a success as Where’s Jon didn’t trouble the scorers. Never mind Jon at least you turned up and can tell your son that YOU played at Lord’s. Another late transfer, Trevor Mayhew, scored a quick 10 but none of the other batsman apart from White Viv could really dominate the accurate bowling. White Viv or Jack as he should be known played very fluently for his 26 not out and retirement. John Quinn, again, and Swampy took 2 wickets apiece whilst the Captain of England got the better of his opposite number bowling him for 5. The captain of the RoW though blamed the umpire Griffiths for encouraging him to play an attacking shot as though he was facing Snarler from the Gents – trouble is Snarler doesn’t bowl at the stumps and Hilda does. After Wath and Kumar were out the RoW’s hopes of a large total disappeared and a total of 113 and an overall lead of 108 (109 for an England victory) appeared too low.

England 2nd Innings: 109 – 10 (Shiels 25 ret, J.Quinn 16 – Wathan 3 – 4)
England got off to a very confident start chasing the target of 109 with Ian Shiels impressing once more with a fine 25 not out supported by Tiger Pearce. The undoubted highlight of the day occurred at the fall of Paul’s wicket with the arrival at the crease of one Reggie Betts. The whole glorious minute is now available for the world to see courtesy of You Tube (thanks to Baker Burrell’s video). Reggie strolled to the wicket swirling his bat above his head like Ian Botham in the early 80’s. Was this just bravado or was it a new confident Reg playing his 50th game in a London Saints shirt. No it was the usual Reg who averaged 2.92 with the bat in his previous 49 games as the RoW skipper bowled him for a golden duck. A roar went up around Lords’s as his fans were not disappointed and secretly I think he was quite proud to go down in history as his team formed an arch to honour his performance and welcome him back to the pavilion a mere 60 seconds after leaving it. A classic!

CLICK HERE TO CATCH REGGIE’S INNINGS ON YOU TUBE

England were always ahead of the run rate with solid performances from ‘QE2’ Mark Barber and again the Quinn’s with Finn once more showing that he can bat. The RoW bowling attack kept plugging away though and when Sister Stanley got bogged down the run rate rose. The Wath then produced a potential match winning spell of 3 wickets in as many overs but when Sister was run out by his runner (who hurriedly appeared without asking the permission of the opposing captain – no sour grapes here but there is etiquette at Lord’s) the scene was set for the successful opening partnership of the 1st innings Messers Shadick and Burrell to attempt to steer England home. The Taxman hit two cracking fours off the penultimate over from The Floater and 7 were required from the final 6 balls. A sublime leg glance for four from The Baker looked to have seen England home with only one required from the last three balls. The RoW skipper then bowled two dot balls before Garry placed the ball agonisingly wide of Wath’s right arm and England were home off the very last ball in the most dramatic of finishes possible.

What an incredible match and amazing way to finish eighty incident packed overs. Some say it would have been fitting for the game to end in a tie but then again there had to be a winner of the cup and a finish as dramatic as this will never be forgotten for all those who witnessed it. And as Tony, the groundsman of Norton St Philip would say “ Today cricket was the winner “

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Man of the Match – There were so many outstanding performances, the six retirements from John G, Dave N, Eric, Neil, Ian and Andy. Fine bowling efforts noteably from John Quinn, Arran and Wath, and fielding from Ian and Gary Speedtwin who kept wicket for 40 overs to go with his 24 runs. However the unanimous decision was to award the Man of the Match to Eric Shadick for two great innings, particularly as he was out on his feet after the first, and very fitting as he was there thirty years ago in that very first game.

Champagne Moment – Again so many to choose from. The whole day could have taken the award. My daughter turning to me and saying “Everyone playing looks like Grandads“. The winning run off the last ball at the end of 80 overs would normally have won it but the first LSCC moment to appear on You Tube has to be the winner. Normally these moments have to be an “I was there moment “ but on Friday June 11th 2010 everyone was there and those who weren’t only have to click onto the internet to relive the moment.

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What a great day, one that, on a cricket field, will never be able to be repeated and that’s the way it should stay in all our memories

Cheers
DT

ROTW 1st innings
Grffiths Retired 26
Keenan Bowled J. Quinn 0
Kumar Bowled J.Quinn 7
Speedtwin LBW Berkeley 18
Wathan Run out 17
Nanton Retired 25
Ramdial Not out 0
Van Marle Not out 8
118 for 4

England 1st innings
Shadick Retired 27
Burrell Ct Kumar Griffiths 16
Hotston Retired 26
Chalmers Bowled Nanton 9
Stanley Bowled Wathan 1
Barber Not out 10
J.Quinn Run out 12
F.Quinn Run out 1
Berkeley Not out 1
123 for 5

ROTW 2nd innings
Whitworth Bowled Burrell 14
Loomes Bowled Frood 0
Mayhew Run out 10
Jones Retired 2
Thomas Bowled Berkeley 5
Grimes Run out 13
Van Marle C.Burrell B. J Quinn 5
Ramdial Run out 1
Nanton C.Chalmers B.J Quinn 12
Wathan B. F.Quinn 1
Speedtwin Run out 5
Kumar B.Frood 6
113 for 11

England 2 innings
Sheils Retired 25
Pearce C.Griffiths B.Van Marle 6
Betts B.Thomas 0
Frood Stumped B. Ramdial 4
Berkeley Run out 4
F.Quinn C.Van Marle B.Wathan 9
J.Quinn B.Nanton 16
Barber B.Wathan 8
Stanley Run out 0
Chalmers B.Wathan 2
Hotston Run out 2
Burrell Not out 12
Shadick Not out 11
109 for 10

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