The Cricket match - August 26th, Volunteer Appreciation Evening

Submitted by Chris Hobbs on Sat, 14.01.2012 - 00:00

On 26th August 2005, an evening when the world's thoughts were on the England juggernaut hitting Australia at Trent Bridge (inspired by A Flintoff's stupendous century and 85 imaginative runs from Geraint Jones, England came from 229 for four overnight to 477, their highest Ashes total in Nottingham for 67 years), The Gentlemen met The Players for a needle match at the Rockcliffe Flying Club.

As usual on these occasions, the final score does not tell the whole story. The passion and the agony are not reflected but, for the record, the Gentlemen, batting first and led by W Young achieved 26 all out and J Duclos's Players responded with 27 for 5, A Hobbs and A Shamaie carrying their bats at the end of play.

Tension was high at the toss. The umpire tossed the traditional 25 cent coin, J Duclos called Elk but it landed Monarch up and W Young, considering the weather and solar position, decided to field first: taking the advantage of bowling from out of the setting sun.

Facing a blinding light and bouncing pitch, the opening batsmen for The Gentlemen struggled to find their feet. T Cooper, the opening batsman was dismissed by B Reid and the normally trustworthy L Davis, batting at the prime position of number three, was bowled by G Warnock for a duck. Only the mid-order batsmen found time to settle in, S Begg, R Judkins and P Carscallen each adding five to the score. The tail, forced onto their back foot, perhaps predictably, collapsed.

As The Gentlemen walked off the pitch at 20:15 local time their feet were heavy, convinced that 26 would not be a winning score and their fears were confirmed as the two opening batsmen for The Players each reached a score of four. G Warnock then settled in with A Shamaie for a serious and apparently impregnable third-wicket stand. G Warnock hit 10 runs before gallently retiring and A Shamaie carried his bat for 7.

The tension rising towards the end of the game, local television companies, finding insufficient time to dispatch their ground-based crews, flew their operators in by hot-air balloon, landing just off the pitch itself. Other teams of paparazzi were busy setting up high-powered telescopes in the out field to get a better view of the final moments of this clash but, when all the excitement was over, J Duclos strolled nonchalantly up to W Young as though he had never been in doubt of the final result and the two captains shook hands.

In summary, an exciting, gripping match and one thankfully not marred by crowd violence.



Alison's view, “from the Long Room” :

I was both participant and observer during this historic match.

Most of Rockcliffe Flying Club is somewhat unfamiliar with the finer points of cricket and not all of those who did know something about it were available. Tony, who would have been a key player, was too busy feeding the hungry and John, reliving his youth, did a strategic vanishing act just as the teams were being assembled. Chris passed around a copy of the rules which didn't seem make a lot of sense, though the drawings of the Umpire's scoring gestures caused some ribaldry.

“'If the bowler takes a wicket in a Maiden over you may denote a wicket maiden...' What does that mean?” asked Jay, imagining a comma after 'you' instead of after 'over', at which Chris gathered people together and started explaining the game from the batsman's point of view. Ten minutes later he still hadn't started on the rules for the fielding side but people's attention had begun to wander, so everyone repaired to the freshly mown wicket between the western taxiway and the fence.

It was decided not to change bowling ends between overs, so as to minimise the danger of a batsman hitting one of the parked aircraft “for 6” with the ball ball, although we did have one real, adult cricket bat plus one child's bat. The wickets were handcrafted by Chris from chopped up broom handles.

Believing I might be in the fielding team I took up position at deep mid-off or something, but realising there were at least 15 fielders present against a batting team of 8, I assumed nobody would mind if I took a few photos while playing. I wished I'd had a tape-recorder along as well. When Brenda got Terry out for one in a maiden over, “we'll be calling you Wicket Maiden now,” someone said. “That's your new nickname.” A couple of overs into the game, “When do we stop for tea?” James wanted to know. “How long does this game last?” asked a spectator. “Oh, five to seven days!” a more knowledgeable spectator replied. “That's men for you. Just typical!” added a female voice.

The ball was unpredictable not only because of inexperience in overarm bowling, but because of the bouncing in all directions off the unmown tufts or ground-hog holes on the wicket. Generous excuses were made by the Umpire (Chris), who bent forward, calling “Play!” before each ball, to tell a bowler when to start his runup. “He's just finding his line and length!” he explained, when a ball fell short or went wide. At one point the Umpire had a go at bowling himself, to show the novices “how it's done.” From time to time, in the heat of the moment, people forgot the standard cricket vocabulary and yelled, “Run, go on, run!” or “Hit the POSTS!” when they meant “stumps”. The scorers (Jean and Michelle) were having fun too. “Which finger shall I give you?” said Jean, when a batsman was run out.

With only five runs to go in failing light, before the Players' win, the attention of every spectator and most of the cricketers was riveted ...upon the balloon coming in to land at Rockcliffe airport.


The Gentlemen
T Cooper 1
S Begg 5
L Davis 0
R Judkins 5
P Carscallen 5
M Carscallen 4
J Bond 4
M Casey 1
W Young (captain) 1

The Players
J Feagan 4
J Duclos (captain) 4
G Warnock (retired) 10
A Shamaie 7
B Reid 1
M Steingass 1
A Hobbs (not out) 0