King Alfred Trophy, Sunday 2nd May
The Wooden Spoon!
The King Alfred Trophy Sunday 2 May 2021 (at River Park)
Hyde All Stars beat The Racqueteers by 8 wickets
Racqueteers: 103 for 5 off 20 overs
Hyde All Stars: 106 for 2 off 13 overs
St Giles beat RHC Hospital by 13 runs
RHC Hospital beat The Racqueteers by 4 wickets
Racqueteers: 121 for 4 off 20 overs
RHC Hospital: 122 for 6 off 18.1 overs
St Giles beat Hyde All Stars by 1 run
After last year’s Covid-related cancellation, what is fast becoming English crickets’ premier warm-up trophy made a welcome return to River Park last Sunday. The semi-final draw pitted The Racqueteers against Hyde All Stars, and we opened the batting with Harry and Jack. The first over was a maiden and although Jack hit successive fours from the next over, runs proved difficult to find against tight bowling and athletic fielding. The batsmen dug in and gradually pushed the score on until Harry was lbw for 10 in the eighth over, with the score at 27. Mike F came in and knocked out a score of 9, before falling to another lbw (to be noted: this is a warm-up event, even if a premier one!). The new bowlers were just as accurate as the openers and we gradually realised the Hyde All Stars had been on a winter training break in the West Indies (or the virtual equivalent). However, Jack retired for an excellent 25, with 4 fours, and Stuart came in for a brilliant cameo of 25 off 11 balls, including 1 six and 4 fours. Don scored a creditable 7 and Mike C and Gaurav saw out most of the last four overs against further quality bowling, Mike ending with 7 not out, and Gaurav 10. Gaurav was bowled in the last over going for an un-G like stroke and Jon came in to get a run and be run out to complete the innings at 103. Unfortunately that score was never going to be enough, especially considering Hyde’s winter training break. They scored at roughly seven an over for the first ten overs, with their no. 2 and 4 batsmen particularly strong, both retiring for 25. There were creditable bowling performances and efforts in the field. Despite injuring his shoulder in the first over, Chris bowled his four overs, taking two wickets, the first a neat catch by Gaurav and the second a stumping. Mike C also bowled a tight 3 overs for 13. Unfortunately the batting was too strong and the All Stars accelerated in the last 3 overs to achieve their target with 7 overs to go.
The Racqueteers were able to have a leisurely lunch waiting for the other match, which was finally won by St Giles, meaning we were against The Hospital for the third-place match. Once again we batted first with the same opening pair of Harry and Jack. We made a strong start, both openers hitting fours and looking comfortable until Jack was run out for 12, praising Harry for his optimism. Harry batted on to reach a good 20 before being bowled, leaving Mike F and Stuart to forge an excellent partnership. They both retired, Mike for 28 and Stuart for 25, although Stuart’s performance dropped, needing more than 11 balls this time. Edmund, Mike C and Gaurav pushed the scoreboard on for last few overs, scoring 7, 8 and 6 not out respectively, but the Hospital bowled and fielded well making it difficult to score runs. In the end, we ended with a respectable and defendable total of 121. Credit also to Julien for umpiring our whole innings. For the Hospital’s innings, Mike C and Angus opened the bowling and bowled very accurately. Mike achieved the best figures of 2 for 11 in his four overs, both wickets bowled. Angus’s figures were 2 for 22, and included a devastating spell of three successive balls to dismiss the Hospital’s opener and then their captain twice, all straight bowled. Unfortunately, the middle ball was the batsmen’s first hit, so didn’t count, but that still registers as a moral “hat-trick”. During this spell, Edmund, after missing the first match, made his presence felt with a diving stop we’re still talking about. Jack and Guy bowled the next four overs, Guy taking a wicket by bowling their number 5. At this point it was very even, but we couldn’t get any more wickets, with the Hospitals’ next three batsmen all hitting well and scoring at about 7 an over, just over their target. Two of them retired at 25 and the other scored 22 not out. Mike F did take a wicket in the penultimate over, but it was just too late and the Hospital reached their target in the 19th over, relegating the Racqueteers to fourth place in a tight match.
Despite the Racqueteers achieving the Wooden Spoon, this was an excellent tournament with a high standard of play and cricket very much the winner. Our president made the winning announcements, and our sponsor, Kevin Chinn of Yellow Tail, presented the King Alfred Trophy and bottles of fine wine to the winning team and second- and third-place captains. The Racqueteers now move onwards to the remaining 17 matches of the season and some fine cricket to come!