London Saints

LSCC off to a winner!

LSSC vs. Gents of West London
Crown Taverners CC, 22nd May 2011

Gents – 146-6 35 overs (Nanton 3-28)
LSSC – 149-6 32.3 overs (Jack 51, Dunn 44, Paltrow 15)

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LSCC off to a winner!-Body

The 31st season of LSSC cricket started once again against the Gents at their pretty ground near Fleet. A new season with new hope and another year of ‘experience’ under all our belts strengthening us for the challenges ahead.
LSSC were playing their first match in the post-Mayhew retirement era and a strong team was called for with a place in the team much prized after the intensive pre-season nets preparation…

Cricket is of course steeped in its great history and traditions and LSSC has a lot of our own fine traditions, to name but a few:
Our first game of the season is away against the Gents (since at least 2006).

  1. The first game of the season starts late as the LSSC kitman invariably gets lost.
  2. Lord Lucan misses his train
  3. We get comfortably beaten and often stuffed.
  4. We never score enough runs (just 35 in 2009 and 41 in 2008)
  5. We always console ourselves after the match by admiring all the ducks that have just been secured to kick off the Duck Trophy competition in style.
  6. We peer forward to July/August hoping for our first win of the season.
  7. I always get to write the first match report and can usually just amend the previous season’s report by just amending a few numbers and names.
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LSCC off to a winner!-Body-2

Not this year matey!
The kitman not only arrived promptly but found his Lordship was first at the ground and doing his pre-match warm up (i.e. found asleep at the wheel in the Pub car park).
DT even won the toss and elected to field first – probably a good thing to be honest.
With so little rain this spring, a rock-hard pitch promised plenty of bounce meaning we opened up with Finn Jnr and Van Boat. Both bowled good spells with the Gent’s openers taking some painful blows on the hand (Sumit) and unmentionables (Gilkes) meaning some lengthy breaks were required. Gavin took the first wicket of the season deservedly with both testing the batsmen and coping well with the windy conditions. Hilda however was having loads of fun behind the stumps, diving around like a West Ham keeper this season.

Keenan and Dunn were then brought on and again kept scoring tight but without getting the breakthrough, although Gilkes was injured again when hit in the face by the ball spitting off his bat from a Dunn snorter and he retired hurt. Runs were hard to find for Gents with most coming behind the wicket off edges etc and at drinks after 19 overs the score was 62-2. Finely poised!

Jonty had taken the second wicket and bowled a fiery spell with some unplayable deliveries meaning he thoroughly merited the shock sight of a LSSC slip catch being taken by Jack to dismiss Khan – he then bowled Scibbo for a duck whilst Mildred took a wicket in his first over meaning the Gents had suddenly fallen to 68-5 at the end of the 23rd over and LSSC hoped a score of 100 or so might only be required.

A partnership of 51 however with lefty Desai hitting out and Gilkes returning patched-up, threatened to turn the game again although Finn bowled the former behind his legs which stemmed momentum a little and was the least his bowling deserved.

A score of 146-6 off the 35 overs was a pretty good achievement on a small ground in our first outing but having seen the wicket, some did feel perhaps the total might be 30 runs or so too much for us. Although the absence of Gent’s stalwarts Snarler and Sanjay did offer us hope – DT was gutted as he was to be denied the chance of repeating his batting cameo against the former last year.

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LSCC off to a winner!-Body-4

The Tea was a good spread and the members of the Teas Committee present ensured very little was left, especially once Johnny Griffiths had returned for a second sitting after being first out in our innings!

We opened as I say with Johnny (denied a bowl by the ruthless DT) and Jack and unlike last year when we got bogged down, this time scoring was up with the required run rate and crucially no wicket fell as we made an encouraging start with some lovely boundaries hit by both the openers. Johnny fell for 15 bowled by a magical ball by Gent’s Aiden Grimshawe look-alike (who), Newcombe but the score by then was 38 and we were only in the 10th over.

This brought together Clive Dunn and Jack, two of our seriously veterans, combined age 126ish and what a partnership! Each trying to outdo the other with their cheeky singles and ‘beefy’ boundary hitting, Dunn’s batting was full of power and aggression, a man possessed, which DT only rightly took the credit for, saying he’d told our No. 3 not to get bogged down as he went out to bat.

82 runs were put on in just 15 overs with the wicket still proving pacy – Tony taking 2 blows to the face, blood dripping down his cheek and waving away any offer of medical assistance or aid, was but a flesh wound – Jack was grateful to be wearing a helmet when hit flush on the chin guard however by Gent’s new quick but rather erratic bowler.

This left LSSC poised to win the match at a stroll when both fell in quick succession with Saints needing just 27 runs off the last 10 overs – there was however an inevitable LSSC wobble as Quinn Snr secured the first (and only) duck of the season so far and the pre-planned elevation of perpetual tail-end charlies Lucan and Pearce to 5 and 6, meant some uncertainty as a run-out looked inevitable with neither willing to make any calls (Jack umpiring said “it’s like a library out there”) although their partnership was highlighted by a glorious couple of boundaries by his Lordship. Who was so enthused by his elevated position and impressive form that he was next out stumped and was proud as punch to be so out!

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LSCC off to a winner!-Body-3

Aiden Grimshawe also accounted for Mildred with an unplayable delivery, or missed a straight one according to others and this meant Hilda (nearly out for a duck when put down at slip) and Van Boat closed the innings out with Gavin hitting two boundaries to see us home with overs to spare.

The only problem after the match was no-one knew what to say, people were shell-shocked and a little stunned – we’d won a game, we’d batted well, we’d bowled pretty damn well and we’d only had 1 duck. How on earth would I write this year’s report!!

Men of the Match
Jonty Nanton’s bowling off a much increased run-up (nearly 4 paces now) was superb – accurate, quick and basically too good for the Gents – his 3 wickets included another unheard of event, a LSSC slip-catch, pouched ridiculously easily by White Viv.

Stand-in keeper Hilda Berkeley showed the potential for DT not playing a specialist keeper in future and as we see now in the One-dayers, instead packing your team with batsmen (or Pete) and he acquitted himself admirably behind the stumps given the significant bounce and pace of the deliveries from LSSC’s battery of quickies – it would therefore be entirely wrong to mention that missed stumping off a certain left arm slow-bowler who isn’t one to bear grudges, Speedy would have stumped the guy out twice mind-you in the time available…

The man of the match award though has to be shared however between the ever young pairing of Clive Dunn and White Viv.

Dunn set a new personal best score for LSSC of 44 (gives us all hope if he can do that aged 70!) also bowled impressively slowing the Gents down at a crucial time and showing no sign of mental scars after his battering at the hands of Van Boat in the nets just a few days before. His experience from the last 2 World Wars meant the cut to his face, another hit on the head without a helmet or indeed a cap, followed up his Churchillian speech when receiving the duck trophy recently. This stoicism and fortitude was what won us the game at Agincourt (although Tony did miss that one due to a family event). This is how you react to winning the Duck Trophy!

And whilst I wanted to award Tony the prize alone, he must share the award with his long-time batting partner White Viv aka Jack. Their second wicket partnership was crucial in setting up the victory – Jack previously unable to do nets and rumoured to be out for the season through old age, batted confidently and aggressively securing a rare LSSC half-century to be our top scorer. His catch at slip was also the highlight of our fielding display and means a share of the honours is fairest.

Champagne Moment
This could have been for Jonty’s theatrical dives trying to take 2 catches, there was also Pete doing a ‘where’s John’ and taking guard when at the bowlers end, or there was Lord Lucan’s crashing cover drive to the boundary which will live in all our memories and I believe is caught for posterity on camera.
Johnny Quinn’s disputed duck was entertaining querying as to why he’d been given out as the keeper had dropped the ball but on hearing it was LBW reportedly accepted ‘that’s fair enough then’.
As the happy team members were chauffeured back to the station after the match, I would like to report on how one member of the team was distraught at not being able to call back out the lady-cab driver who had so ably helped some of the team make it to the game earlier. Sadly a super injunction has been granted to someone who we can only call for confidentiality reasons ‘TD’ and I am not allowed to report on this.
I’ll therefore give the award to Gavin Van Boat’s last shot of the match, suitably a 4, and bringing us an unexpected and glorious 4-wicket vIctory with plenty of time to spare, an unbeaten record in May and the first time we’ve won the first game of a season since [1823]? What a start!

Gents innings
Kumar Bowled – Van Boat 3
Gilkes – not out 50
Denton – Bowled Jonty 19
Khan – Ct Jack, Bld Jonty 16
Newcombe – Ct Paltrow, Bld Mildred 2
Scibberras – Bowled Jonty 0
Desai – Bowled Quinn Jnr 34
Caverney – not out 7
Extras (8w, 1 lb, 6bs) 15
Total – 146-6

LSSC Bowling
Quinn F. 7-0-26-1
Van Boat 5-1-14-1
Lucan 3-0-10-0
Dunn C. 3-1-14-0
DT 5-1-14-0
Jonty 7-1-28-3
Mildred 3-0-17-1
Quinn Snr 2-0-16-0

LSSC innings
Jack – LBW Patel 51
Paltrow – Bowled Newcombe 15
Dunn C. – Bowled Patel 44
Quinn Snr. – LBW Newcombe 0
Lucan (at 5) – Stumped(!), Bld Newcombe 11
Mildred (at 6) – Bowled Newcombe 5
Hilda (w) – not out 1
Van Boat – not out 8
Extras (5nb, 5w, 1 lb, 3bs) 14
Total – 149-6

Gents Bowling
Kumar 3-1-10-0
Khan 7-0-30-0
Scibbo 7-0-24-0
Grimshawe 6-1-24-4
Patel H 7-0-34-2
Jones 2-0-11-0
Gilkes 0.3-0-9-0

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