A tournament of two games – King Alfred Trophy 2022.
The sight of 44 grown, white-clad gentlemen running around in a Winchester field in the pouring rain on a cold, early May Sunday morning, means only one thing – spring has sprung and cricket has begun. For The Racqueteers the beginning of cricket is the King Alfred Trophy – a short form (20 overs an innings) knock-out cup between four of the very best Winchester teams – this year kindly sponsored by our very own Tall Tim.
For our first game, the semi-final, we drew St Cross Symondians – a representative 11 from one of the strongest CCs in the whole of the South of England. Emboldened by our memories of that special day last summer when we beat their Sunday eleven, we took to the field – alternately squelching in, and slipping and sliding between, the puddles. Rishi (2-27) opened his account from the Rugby Club end with Lawrence swimming upstream from the City end (1-27) – both giving commendable performances with a slippery ball. Angus (0-18) looked to have wintered well and caused the batsmen problems with his bounce, while Chris (2-28) took two very valuable wickets. Our two new members both made telling contributions. Guy S (1-12) moved seamlessly from indoor yellow tennis ball to outdoor red cricket ball, while James (1-8) took a wicket with his very first ever ball for the club. Despite having one of the strongest batting line ups in recent KATs, our opponents’ 125 for 8 was going to be a challenge. In fact, although we started cautiously and got a little bogged down (appropriately given the conditions) on occasions, we in fact passed that total with relative ease with an over to spare – brought home through composed innings management by Guy in the final overs (11 not out). Jack (elegant), Richard “Stoppers” (expectant) and Rishi (explosive) all carried their bats (26, 27, 27 not out respectively).
It was great to be in the KAT final for the first time for a few years. However, our opponents, St Giles CC, last year’s winners, were a very accomplished team and clearly were in no mood to give up their prized trophy without a battle. We batted first. Faced by penetrating opening spells from their seamers we never really got going – despite nice knocks from our Skipper (18), our President (22) and our Guy S (23 not out). We were always going to find it hard to defend 101 against the mighty St Giles and so it turned out. They passed our total in just 14 overs – Jules taking the only wicket to fall with a Warnesque ripper flighted into the rough which bowled their number 3 behind his legs.
Not a game of two halves but a tournament of two contrasting games – but overall good competitive cricket, great fun, wonderful hot dogs (thanks Gill and Mike C) and amazing cakes (thanks Claire T). Lots of promising signs for the season ahead.