St Albans Cricket Club 5XI v Little Berkhampstead Sahibs 2XI on Sat 29 Jul 2023 at 13:00
St Albans Cricket Club Won by 68 runs

Match report Notable performances: PD (91), Ahmed (3-19)

Saturday saw the ever-reliable 5XI continue their maiden league campaign at home of cricket: the Sandpit Lane Astro. The official start time was 1pm, but any notions of actually beginning at this time were dashed when only 1 member of the opposition turned up. The next half hour saw only another 6 of their team turn up, with their skipper still on his way back from Stansted airport, having flown back from Italy that very morning. Finally, the game began at 1:30, with skipper Tom Cocks being gracious enough to lend the opposition two fielders as we won the toss and batted first. Eventually, these two fielders were replaced by actual members of the opposition, bringing them to 9 players in total for the remainder of the match.

Our batting innings began with the formidable pair of club legend Andrew ‘AKJ’ Knill-Jones and Nasibullah ‘Maroof’ Maroofkhel. AKJ began cautiously, eventually falling to a cracking in-swinging delivery, with 7 runs to his name. Maroof remained more circumspect, scoring a number of quick singles and 2s, before several lusty shots to the boundary to see him end on 35, being caught behind. This then saw the arrival of Prathamesh ‘PD’ Deshpande and Jude Berry to the crease. The pair batted in perfect tandem, amassing an impressive 100 run partnership during their time with the bat. Jude eventually found himself run out for a beautifully-made 36 with PD trying to turn a 2 into a 3. Local heart-throb Jack ‘JB’ Benjamin then strode out onto the pitch, however his innings started off with a spot of controversy, as the bowler immediately attempted to mankad him. Thankfully, umpire Prath ‘PK’ Khatavkar kept his cool and reminded the offending bowler of the fact that he had already completed his action, rendering the mankad moot. The bowler did not take kindly to this, and continued jawing off as he had been doing the entire game. From a ridiculous amount of swearing at everybody (his own teammates included), to demanding the umpires call every attempted run a short run, to aggressively shouting at the umpire and scorers that the ball is allowed to bounce twice before reaching the batter (which it’s not), to having a verbal dust-up on the pitch with a teammate of his own and following on with another dust-up with another teammate in the changing rooms, being his very own father. The less we say about our opinions of players like this, the better, but it speaks deafening volumes that his own teammates, captain, and father all repeatedly told him to “wind it in” a dozen times during the match.

That nastiness aside, JB looked in fine form, scoring a skilful single, before finding himself bowled. This saw him replaced by Imran ‘Immy’ Ahmed, who had previously knocked a debut 50 against this very opposition in the previous fixture. Sadly, he didn’t seem in much of a mood to recreate this, scoring 2, being dropped once and finally caught after top-edging one a dozen metres straight up into the air. Amongst all of this, PD stood tall, keeping his wicket brilliantly and playing some sensational shots; he eventually found himself caught, ending on an outstanding 91. It’s worth noting that he would have reached a century had he not been the one to set the boundary markers in a colossal fashion; maybe we’ll leave that job to someone else next time? Our final pair of Captain Cocks and PK saw the innings to a close, with Cocks masterfully top-edging a couple to end on 21*, while PK played three consecutive dabs to end on a regal 6*. This left the Saints with a total of 215 to defend; with the bowling we had on the team sheet, this did not feel to be much of an ask.

After tea (and a nap for Walsh, still feeling the effects of Wetherspoons, the Horn, the White Swan and a 24 hour pool club), the Saints took to the field with the opening pair of minor celebrity PK and local big dog Tom ‘Hadsy’ Hadden. PK took the first end, bowling tight, unforgiving lines, being unfortunate to have some harsh wides given against him and going wicketless. Hadsy supported PK from the other end, matching PK’s wheels like his name was Henry Ford. Hadsy found more success, their opener being caught down leg side behind by an uncharacteristically good hold from keeper Cocks. The pair finished their spells with respectable figures, allowing for the new pair of Sud and Immy to take their places. Sud maintained his predecessors’ pace, swinging the ball from Sandpit Lane to Welwyn and back again, snagging the wicket of the other opener thanks to a great hold from Immy. From the other end, Immy backed up this stellar fielding by bowling - well, honestly, a bit of bloody everything with all that variation. From crafty, slow, loopy deliveries to absolute darts that would turn on glass, the bowling machine managed to steal the show with 3 wickets to his name, matching his prior bowling performance against this very team in the previous fixture.

With the required run rate on our side and creeping ever higher, Captain Cocks saw fit to unleash an absolute torrent of filth upon the opposition’s batters: a man who answers to no god, who pledges allegiance only to the finest kebab rolls, who recently decided to take a nap mid-game on the physio’s table at Clarence Park. Thus, the man, myth and legend, Ciarán Walsh, took up the ball, informing his skipper that he “still feels hungover, that roll did not agree with me in the slightest, chances are I’ll be dry-heaving mid-action but we’ll see how it goes chief.” No one does it quite like him. Thus, Walsh began his attack tentatively, shortening his run up considerably and being careful not to run in too fast, lest he tempt the roll back up. After a loose first two overs (during which he declared his own delivery as - let’s say “poor”, though that’s not what he said), he brought it back brilliantly to put the squeeze on the opposition. Their number 5 bat had been scoring slowly but surely, starting an acceleration that was putting us on edge. After a drop at gully (cheers JB), and the batter narrowly missing his own stumps with the ball, Walsh eventually managed to clean bowl him to sighs of relief from the Saints. Walsh completed his spell and duly handed the reins to JB and a reintroduced PK.

JB bowled with his usual class and elegance, snagging a clean bowled wicket in his second over and being unfortunate to not claim a couple of LBWs. PK kept things religiously tight as always, but did not manage to pick up any further wickets despite beating the bat on multiple occasions. The innings came to a close with the Sahibs short by 68 runs, maintaining a day of victories for every St Albans side! A very satisfying and comfortable win for Cocksball, and an encouraging continuation of our maiden league campaign!

Fineable moments:

The aforementioned opposition player for aforementioned reasons.

JB, PK, and Maroof for all dropping catches of varying difficulty.

Walsh for seeing fit to stay out until 4:30am the night before and having to take a nap on the boundary to (fail to) recover.

PK for dropping a (difficult!) catch and then deciding to hurl it directly at Hadsy’s knees.

St Albans Cricket Club 5XI Batting
Player Name RunsMB4s6sSRCtStRo
3nb 10w 2b 1lb 
for 6 wickets
Andrew Knill-Jones b J. Tancock 7
nasibullah Maroofkhel ct S. Chaudhry 35
Prathamesh Deshpande ct J. Tancock 91
Jude Berry run out J.Tancock 36
Jack Benjamin b A. Boyce 1
Imran Ahmed ct A. Boyce 2 1
Tom Cocks Not Out  21 1
Prath Khatavkar Not Out  6
Sudhanshu Suryavanshi  
Tom Hadden  
Ciarán Walsh  

Little Berkhampstead Sahibs 2XI Bowling

Player nameOversMaidensRunsWicketsAverageEconomy
M. Hammoudan8.013500.004.38
J. Tancock8.0131215.503.87
S. Chaudhry8.0037137.004.62
C. Cooper8.004000.005.00
J. Boyce1.001300.0013.00
T. Foxen1.001200.0012.00
A. Boyce7.0044222.006.29

Little Berkhampstead Sahibs 2XI Batting
Player name RMB4s6sSR
2nb 8w 2b 2lb 
for 7 wickets
147 (40.0 overs)
A. Boyce ct S. Suryavanshi 40
C. Hoggan ct T. Hadden 9
J. Tancock b I. Ahmed 14
S. Chaudhry b I. Ahmed 5
T. Foxen b C. Walsh 37
M. Barnard b I. Ahmed 7
C. Cooper Not Out  11
J. Boyce b J. Benjamin 8
M. Hammoudan Not Out  2

St Albans Cricket Club 5XI Bowling

Player NameOversMaidensRunsWicketsAverageEconomy
Prath Khatavkar8.003800.004.75
Tom Hadden8.0030130.003.75
Sudhanshu Suryavanshi6.0020120.003.33
Imran Ahmed8.031936.332.37
Ciarán Walsh7.0027127.003.86
Jack Benjamin3.00818.002.67