Under stunning, early Autumn blue skies and with a marquee packed full of people supporting the wonderful charity that is The Lord’s Taverners. The game was due to start at 2pm with 12 players a side competing in a 35 over match.
A grand buffet kicked proceedings off and, it’s fair to say that there was everything you could possibly want; from three meats and three types of seafood to quiches (Elmo Putney would have been proud!) and some green stuff. Sadly, Mike Gatting wasn’t in attendance to show everyone how it’s done, but there was precious little left at the end; huge thanks to Adam, Claudia and the catering team for doing such a wonderful job.
The club took the field with ex-England opening bowler Andy Caddick and former England fly-half Rob Andrew opening the innings for The Tavs. Caddick smashed the first ball through the covers for four, but never looked happy in making 17 before he was caught by Jake Seagrave off Ian Ridley who only went for 15 from his allotted overs.
Sanjoi Bassi then removed Matt Floyd before the captain of England’s Disability team got stuck in with Andrew in forging a partnership of 102 for the third wicket. Nairn looked superb all round the wicket and displayed the talent that took his country to the final of the World Cup this year against India.
The destroyer of that partnership was Krishna Kumar who dismissed them both in quick succession; Nairn to a stunning catch at gulley by Alan Shepard who rolled back time to the 1980s when he used to shell peas for the First Team on a weekly basis.
Discovery of the afternoon was the First Team’s Michael Payne who, rather than peddling his usual off-spin, marked out a 10-yard run-up and terrified the slips cordon with prodigious seam and swing. He bowled our very own Chloe Hill with an absolute snorter.
From the position of 135-3, however, it was only Lloyd Scott with 22 who made double figures before being run out by Club Captain Benn Kempster. That wicket brought in the Tav’s captain and scorer of 16,000 First-Class runs, Paul Pritchard of Essex, to face the last ball of the innings from Toby Wastling. That ball disappeared over square leg (and Court one) for six to leave the Taverners on 192 from their 35 overs.
After a hasty tea interval, the club’s innings began with one legendary ageing bowler bowling at another legendary ageing bowler. Simon Stanway has being playing in out First team for 30, unbroken years now and he opened the batting against Andy Caddick, only to be dismissed by a superb grab by Prichard at second slip of the second ball.
0-1 quickly became 0- 2 when Lottie Woodall was caught and bowled by ex-England and Warwickshire’s Neil Smith at the start of the second over. Panic stations and impending humiliation beaconed as the hospitality flowed. Payne and Kempster put on 24 to steady the ship with Payne dispatching Smith deep into the car park, but an absolutely stunning leg-side catch by Chloe Hill from Pritchard’s first ball put an end to the fragile recovery. She’s not going to let him forget that in a hurry.
Hill then took a second catch off Pritchard’s bowling to dismiss Bassi via bat / pad in front of the stumps as the club slipped to 36-4.
The fifth wicket partnership between Kempster and Second Team Captain Wastling then went on to add 120 with Kempster finding the boundary repeatedly and making the marquee’s patrons scatter on a few occasions.
Shortly after denting Sam Payne’s car, he was dismissed seven short of a well-deserved third century of the year by Caddick, the rapidly setting sun behind the hand disguising a straight ball and bowling him.
With the club needing 30-odd from the final five overs, Sheppard and Wastling took the game to the point of the scores being tied when Shepard was trapped in front by Pritchard. Wastling was then bowled for a wonderfully well-constructed 68 with the club one run short.
Jake Seagrave entered the fray and immediately played out a maiden, leaving six balls for the victory. As if it was ever in any doubt, Andy Grout cleared his front leg and, transferring his weight beautifully, smeared the first ball over and between gully and backward point for the single that took the club to victory.
What a fabulous day and topping it off was both sets of players, supporters and sponsors sharing a few cold ones in front of the pavilion after the event.
Huge thanks must go from the club to Mervyn Ramsay for his fabulous work in organizing the event from The Taverners and to Nick Wake, Dave Sidwell and Gordon Dutch for all their efforts in pushing the corporate side of things.
Events like this don’t happen unless people are prepared to do the dirty work and these guys are the best in the business.However, if the club wants repeat events, then we will certainly need some fresh faces to come on board in the coming few months to commit to helping out and making it happen.
Congratulations must also go to Tim Cooper and Dayla Drinks Ltd for 100 years of trading – long may it continue. As Club Captain, I’m thrilled to have been asked to skipper the game and proud of the spirit of fun in which both sides entered the game and, on that front, the sport of cricket that we all know and love so dearly, is in very safe hands.