GCC v V&A - Match Report - 25th August 2018
by Jamie Elliott
In the week that the ECB trial the ‘100’ format, designed to fit as much cricket into as little time as possible it seems fitting to reflect on our road-testing of a tour format designed to fit as much tour into one day as possible. If the ‘100’ is cricket packaged up for those who hate it. This was the tour for those who hate touring.
But, what a tour in a day, it was …
Our convivial hosts, the V&A, take great delight in fitting as little cricket into as lengthy a period as possible. 35 overs pootled through over a 6-hour period with detours for lunch, tea and a liberal use of the drinks breaks. The ‘100’ this was not. And, lack of Battenberg aside, it was a glorious, gemütlich affair.
The pitch, after some overnight rain, was a sticky dog and the toss a good one to win. As we took to the field the red kites wheeled above, the Stonor Valley was spread-out before us and all was right with the world.
The Highlander and the Metronome were wily in exploiting the conditions, only going for 27 from their 12 overs. As ever we shelled a couple of catches (one horrible steepler at square leg and one at slip) including Rashcroft who got a nuggety 73, the match-winning innings. Rob deserved his wicket caught, finally, by Elliott Major at slip.
James Kostoris bowled a spell of superior tweakers with some lovely flight and guile. He went for just 21 off his 7, bowling their no.3 along the way. At the other end, Elliott Minor, whose first outing had seen him take 6 for 13, never settled into his rhythm and went for 25 from his 3 (still 6 for 38 ain’t bad GCC career stats).
With them 61 off 19 overs and us happy with our lot, we broke for lunch. And, just possibly, lunch broke us … but what do you expect following fine salads, confit of duck, ham, pickles, large wedges of cheese and in some cases, just possibly, one too many strong, hipster IPAs.
I only mention the latter as after lunch ‘undulations’ became a thing.
The Chancellor, who’s never been shy of getting outside a can or two, cited ‘undulations’ as the reason for not attacking a ball hit out to long on. Clayders stuck out the, previously trusty, Clayderfoot to block off a boundary only for ‘undulations’ to cause the ball leap over it and head off to the rope.
Looking for bowlers to quieten things down skipper turned to Paddy who came with a winter net rep (‘he’s sharp bit a bit inconsistent, Skip’). A shuffling run-up gave no hint of the menace to follow, the big man established himself as The G’s own Jasprit Bumrah within a couple of balls and took three good wickets in a spiky spell.
At the other end things were a little looser. The Chancellor was experiencing extreme ‘undulations’ mainly from bat to boundary, and, Clayders’ last three balls – which went for 14 - spoilt an otherwise good return to the fold.
There was also some unusual umpiring from the home side post-lunch: One batsman was asked quite casually whether he’d hit the ball, as you may if you were unsure whether it was a leg-bye or not. On answering ‘no’, he was then told, equally casually, ‘oh, well you’re out then’. Another bat was given out LBW to a solitary Gardener’s exceedingly late and weak appeal. We scratched our heads on both occasions as the batsmen trudged sportingly off.
Special mention should be made of J Lo behind the stumps who, on such an uneven wicket, had to use every body part to stop the ball over the course of their innings. The chat over cake and tea was that we’d have taken 175 at the start, but, that we’d let them get 15 more than they should have.
A lone pilot loop the looped above us, Nieober, who Wikipedia reports was contracted to Northants as a teenager, bowled as good an opening spell as we faced for some years.
Olly and Dave dug in and with the help of a high extras count got us to 74 for the first wicket. Olly looked to find the boundary as often as poss and hit 9 fours in his 45 which was also our top score.
At 81 off 20 we were well-placed. However, despite aggressive intent from J Lo, Paddy, the Highlander and Chancellor, we struggled to move through the gears between overs 20 and 30 mostly due to continued fine bowling by the V&A on a wicket with a lot of variation in bounce.
We scored the same in the last 5 overs of the innings as we did in the 10 before and aside from a couple of overs when Elliott Major (42*) and James K were together - when it looked like ground might be made up - we were always just out of touch.
But, this really was not about the result. It was about discovering a new fixture that we hope to keep for years and about redefining the term ‘tour’.
We all gathered for a team photo in front of the pavilion and a few more IPAs while we toasted Dave’s 150th cap for the Gardeners. A truly worthy Sandwich Moment.
We play most of our games in Dulwich and net during the winter at The Oval. Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Oliver Cunningham (life)
Jamie Elliott (life)
John Lloyd (life)
Hugo Nisbet (life)
David Woodhouse (life)
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