Harpenden 6XI v St Albans Cricket Club 5XI on Sat 02 Sep 2023 at 12:30
St Albans Cricket Club Won By 15 Runs

Match report Player of the match: Jude Berry (43)

The final match of the St Albans CC 5XI saw our most well-liked team travel to Harpenden. Hopes of promotion were somewhat diminished, given the fact we required a dozen different results to go our way in order to be able to make a successful case to the league. However, we set this aside and focused only on what we could control: with this in mind, our skipper Tom Cocks opted to approach this fixture with the belief that everyone should have a chance to give things a go that they normally wouldn’t in terms of batting and bowling. Cocks gave something new a try for himself from the start: he won the toss, and so our motley crew were put in to bat first. Thus, our opening pair of Matthew Shadwick and Imran Ahmed strapped on their pads and sauntered out onto the pitch.

Shadwick started off conservatively, showing respect to the good deliveries and punishing the bad ones. In sharp contrast, Imran adopted a much more aggressive approach, bludgeoning the first delivery for 4 and the fifth delivery for 6, making it clear from the start: he ain’t messing about. After utilising the short leg side boundary to its fullest, Imran eventually fell to a catch trying to pump the ball into Poland, departing for a brutally-made 22. Shadwick followed soon after, ending on 9. Club veteran Hugo Thomas was our next form of attack, but was unfortunate to fall victim to another catch in an attempt to accelerate the run rate. He was duly replaced by the universally-agreed “Best Berry in the Club”, Jude Berry.

Jude played a truly masterful innings, blocking out for a sensible amount of time before getting a real feel for the bowlers. He then started to score more fluently, beginning to dispatch the good deliveries with the same amount of contempt as he did the bad ones, accelerating the previously too low run rate. Other batters of ours rotated around his innings, including Nasibullah ‘Maroof’ Maroofkhel and Captain Cocks himself. Maroof was unfortunate to get out for a duck, while Cocks remained at the crease for a while longer; he ably supported Jude’s run calls (doing well to keep up with the youngster, given our captain’s age), and hitting his own fair share of boundaries. He would eventually see himself bowled for a contextually crucial 20 runs.

This wicket then saw the 3rd best Irishman in the club, Sudhanshu ‘Sud’ Suryavanshi, take up the bat. Like his skipper, Sud sensibly saw himself in, before taking full advantage of the bafflingly unprotected short leg side boundary. Jude was soon bowled for a sensational 43, a fantastic score in a game where adult cricketers twice his age failed to score even half of that. Next up: Thomas ‘Muscles’ Bentley. Bentley continued the team’s tradition of safely seeing himself in, making sharp runs to fielders he had marked as ‘sub-par’. Sud later found himself caught, making way for the second best Tom in the team: Tom ‘Hadsy’ Hadden.

Hadsy had just spent the last 27 overs telling anyone who would listen that “I bloody hate batsmen, why aren’t they running that, that’s an easy 2, should’ve turned that one into a 3- oh it’s gone for 4.” With this sentiment in mind, he pushed his partner Bentley to the limits, calling for every run possible, allowing the scoreboard to tick along at a comfortable pace. He shortly after decided he’d seen enough of Bentley for one innings, and absolutely barbecued the poor lad by only calling for a single AFTER the fielder had picked up the ball (Hadsy having thought our square leg umpire was a fielder, given he was dressed all in white). Bentley was run out, and made way for the best restaurant owner in the club: Vikas Narula.

Vikas played very conservatively, with the number of remaining overs in mind, and blocked out the first few deliveries before having first-class seats to Hadsy’s departure thanks to a well-held catch. And so, our final batter waddled on to the pitch. Amidst many sighs of exasperation and teammates already starting their tea, Ciarán Walsh strode out there. Walsh’s first course of action was to ask the skipper what he wanted Walsh to do; the skipper’s answer was the utterly laughable request: “just try not to get out champ.” Walsh took this to heart, and blocked out the first two deliveries before thinking “Christ it’s been six years since I scored my last boundary, let’s give Harpo something to watch”. The next delivery was utterly creamed over the head of square leg, and very nearly went for 6, but fell just short and went for 4. Somewhere in the world, Joe Root woke up in a cold sweat, fearing for his spot in the England squad. Don’t worry though Rooty, Walsh got over-excited and got out for an LBW two balls later after turning down 2 runs that were 100% his partner’s call.

The target was set at 181, and it was a target we felt very comfortable defending. We finished our tea, and the ball was handed to our opening pair of Hadsy and Walsh.

Hadsy took the first over, keen to finally start taking some league wickets, and found immediate reward, seeing their opener caught for 2 runs. Walsh struggled more from the other end to begin with, his first two deliveries wides. He soon recovered with a quick draw on one of his multiple vapes in his pocket, and put a squeeze on the run rate but with no reward, going wicketless. Hadsy and Walsh then handed the reins over to Vikas and Bentley, hoping to find more wickets. Vikas, like Walsh, restricted the run rate beautifully but went wicketless, while Bentley’s wheels (don’t make a car joke, don’t make a car joke-) worked wonders, another solid catch securing his wicket.

Next up on the menu was the perfect mixture of pace and guile in the form of Sud and Imran. Imran earned his “Player of the Year” award, showcasing unplayable variation, claiming 2 wickets, one bowled and one a stunning catch from Walsh to make up for the sitter he dropped two overs prior. Sud also managed to claim a wicket from his end, but not before also claiming his first official league warning. Our local bad boy had accidentally allowed the ball to slip from his hands and sent it hurtling straight at the batter’s head twice in an over, necessitating a quiet word from the umpire. Sud was all apologies, and thankfully no harm was done and hands were shaken between all involved. Sadly, one or two of the waiting bats were shouting to have him taken off, but that’s totally fine; I remember when I was 10 years old too.

Maroof and Shadwick then took up the ball, with Maroof bowling his first over as a maiden and later claiming two brilliant wickets. Shadwick, despite starting loosely, bowled a lovely spell, conceding few runs and claiming a wicket of his own for once. The death spell saw a reintroduced Bentley and Hadsy, a deadly combination of pace which we hoped to prove the downfall of the final Harpenden batters. With no wickets in hand and a fast-scoring batter seeing the ball like a beach ball, tight bowling and sharp fielding was required. After several overs of tight bowling and loose fielding, the oppo number 11 managed to absolutely middle one into his own thigh pad and have it ricochet into keeper Cocks’ hands! A fine win for the 5XI - oh, hang on, the umpire’s not given it and the batter isn’t walking because he “doesn’t know if he hit it.” Personally, I can tell whether or not I’ve hit a ball (despite how rarely I do that), but apparently some thigh pads must sound very woody to some. Ah well, the game continues. Finally, the game did in fact draw to a close, with the opposition failing to reach the required total, and so the 5XI did indeed manage to secure a final win for the season.

And what a season it’s been! It would be remiss not to acknowledge just how far this team has come; having started out as a purely friendly side who MIGHT get a game on the occasional Saturday, the 5XI have been brought to a solid top of the table, competitive league side. Had the weather been kinder (and had the league average point system made an iota of sense) then we would currently be celebrating a well-fought promotion, but that will have to wait until next year. This has only been possible because of the efforts of the team: from the club veterans putting in hours of training before games, to our vast youth contingent showing a massive level of maturity and skill at a high standard of cricket, none of this would have been possible.

Fineable Moments:

Hadsy for running out Bentley after mistaking umpire Maroof for a fielder.

Maroof for choosing to umpire in full whites, knowing Hadsy is a very easily confused man.

Walsh for, as always, vaping in the field and asking the umpires to hold his capes while bowling and batting.

Cocks for giving Walsh out LBW by raising one of said vapes instead of his finger.

St Albans Cricket Club 5XI Batting
Player Name RunsMB4s6sSRCtStRo
2nb 9w 3b 1lb 
for 8 wickets
Matt Shadwick ct R Bailey b N Townend 9 1
Imran Ahmed ct R Bailey b N Townend 22 3 1
Hugo Thomas ct M Smith b N Townend 4
Jude Berry b J Nalluri 43 5 1
nasibullah Maroofkhel ct M Smith b J Nalluri 0
Tom Cocks b C Holland 20 1 2
Sudhanshu Suryavanshi ct A Elledge b R Chittimalla 36 7
Tom Bentley run out  (R Chittimalla) 15 1 1
Tom Hadden ct J Nalluri b R Bailey 9 1
Vikas Narula Not Out  4
Ciarán Walsh lbw R Bailey 4 1 1

Harpenden 6XI Bowling

Player nameOversMaidensRunsWicketsAverageEconomy
N. Townend8.012337.672.88
J. Nalluri8.0122211.002.75
C. Holland4.0034134.008.50
R. Bailey3.0020210.006.67

Harpenden 6XI Batting
Player name RMB4s6sSR
2nb 14w 1b 1lb 
for 8 wickets
166 (40.0 overs)
B. Bailey ct Cocks b Hadden 2
J. Nalluri ct Hadden b Ahmed 21 3
M.Smith ct Cocks b Bentley 23 2 1
C. Holland ct Bentley b Suryavanshi 2
P. Streeton Not Out  82 16
R. Chitmillia b Ahmed 10 2
B. Smith b Maroof 0
Tesco ct Walsh b Maroof 0
Elledge ct Berry b Shadwick 0
A. Holland Not Out  8 2
R. Bailey  

St Albans Cricket Club 5XI Bowling

Player NameOversMaidensRunsWicketsAverageEconomy
Tom Hadden7.0230130.004.29
Ciarán Walsh4.001400.003.50
Vikas Narula4.001200.003.00
Tom Bentley7.0035135.005.00
Sudhanshu Suryavanshi5.0125125.005.00
Imran Ahmed4.01321.500.75
nasibullah Maroofkhel5.0128214.005.60
Matt Shadwick5.0115115.003.00